Etsy is Awesome! See Their Living Building in Brooklyn

I’m a fan of Etsy ( for so many reasons. Here’s the latest one, and a review of all the others, too!

Reason #1: Etsy has built a Living Building in Brooklyn!

I had the pleasure of touring the Bullitt Center in Seattle a couple of years ago with a group of Japanese students. It claims to be the greenest office building in the world, and I believe it after trying out their composting toilets, walking down their “irresistible” staircase (seen jutting out on the left of the pic below – we drilled the pronunciation of that word quite a bit afterwards!) and watching the window shades automatically adjust to make optimal use of the sun’s rays. One interesting feature was the complete absence of that “office smell.” They’ve avoided all toxic chemicals in their building materials, paints, and furniture, and you can actually tell! Freaky.

photo credit: Nic Lehoux for the Bullitt Center

It was there that I learned about the Living Building Challenge, which is what Etsy’s new headquarters has just met. LBC is to LEED certification as PCC is to QFC or Trader Joe’s, for those of you familiar with the grocery store scene in Seattle. LEED certified buildings often seem green-in-name-only, but LBC is hardcore. A living building provides all its own water through rainwater recapture and efficiency (the toilets use 2 tablespoons of liquid per “flush”). It also produces more energy than it consumes.

Reason #2: Because Hands-On Skills

Back in 2004, when my roommate told me that her friend from college was starting an online marketplace for handmade goods, I thought it was a brilliant idea. And it turned out I was not alone in thinking that! The little project he and a few friends were coding up turned into Etsy, and the rest is history.

We need to do everything we can to encourage people to keep up and develop hands-on “maker” skills. I’m disappointed that companies keep replacing workers with computers and robots without really thinking about the net effects on society. Part of the problem is that corporations don’t think about their effect on society anymore. Well, most corporations don’t. They just think about that bottom line. But then there are B-corporations…like Etsy!

Reason #3: It’s a Publicly Traded B-Corporation!

I’ve written before about Benefit Corporations. Wait, have I? Or did I just start doing some research for an eventual post? Shoot. Well, B-corporations are cool. They’re companies that consider a triple bottom line of people, profits and planet. Most are pretty small companies or at least private ones. Etsy was one of the first B-Corporations to go public, so you can actually buy some of their stock if you like! It’s down right now, and they say to buy low, sell high, right? (PS: This does *not* constitute investment advice).

So there you have it – three reasons I love Etsy. And I didn’t even mention any of the cool stuff I’ve ordered on there over the years. How about you – are you a fan?

1 comment

  1. D

    Bravo to Etsy on their building!

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