Humans of New Work

Lizzie Jones

Designer, Etsy

Purpose at Work

Monday May 1st, 2017

Armed with a background in fashion design, Lizzie Jones worked in the industry for a couple of years after graduating, but she knew that the industry wasn’t a good fit for her. Originally from England, Lizzie moved to Berlin after graduating from university and has lived on and off in the city ever since. She’s spent a lot of time moving from place to place. “I think subconsciously I was trying to keep myself busy and on the go while trying to work out what I wanted to do with my life.” She struggled for years trying to work out where she fit in professionally. Everything she was interested in required her to retrain, but she wanted to be 100% sure that she was passionate about a subject before committing to another study program.
“I found that I liked so many creative fields that I couldn’t pinpoint just one to focus on. I’d always been interested in graphic design, probably without really realizing it at the time.”
She did a couple of internships which both allowed her to dabble in graphic design. Then she got a job at a fashion university and after just a few months was asked to take on graphic design as half of her role. “This was probably the first real step that led me into the industry.” For two years now she has been working on the Global Brand Design team at Etsy and is now learning from some accomplished designers.
“I feel very fortunate to be in a role that allows me to use my creativity without many boundaries. We work with guidelines, but there is a lot of freedom to think outside the box and push the limits.”
“We’re a decent sized team, around 25 people, made up of creative, art directors, designers, copywriters, project and production managers. Having so many specialized people on the team allows us to concentrate on our specific roles, bringing our expertise to the table to create really solid overall work,” explains Lizzie.
“The offices alone offer a great work environment. They’re furnished and fitted out with items and artwork made by Etsy sellers as much as possible. The spaces allow for really creative thinking. I feel incredibly lucky to be able to work in such an inspiring and lively environment.”
As someone who values sustainability in her personal life, Lizzie is happy to work for a company that shares the same values. Great importance is put on recycling, composting and sourcing eco-friendly materials for everything and anything. Etsy is and has been since the beginning, a company that views its employees as human beings, not machines. Employees are often given opportunities to develop professionally and are actively encouraged to take them. There are many Etsy organized coaching schemes available to interested employees, and people are also able to participate in external courses and programs should they benefit their professions. These opportunities enabled the designer to take part in a weeklong stop motion animation course last year. Etsy also places great importance on employee wellness, including health, mental well-being, stress levels, etc. Employees are asked to fill out a yearly happiness survey for which an annual report is made showing where things could be improved. “In my experience, wellness survey results have been taken seriously, and as a result, we’ve introduced new wellness programs, coaching or other means of support.” Lizzie’s four pieces of advice for the next generation?
  1. If you want to get somewhere, don’t let anything stop you. Don’t settle.
  2. Don’t get complacent. Don’t ever fall into the trap of thinking you already know everything. There are always wiser and more experienced people out there who you can learn from.
  3. Don’t be arrogant, but have confidence in your abilities and take responsibility for your decisions.
  4. Learn to take all kinds of feedback in a positive way. If you get feedback that’s hard to stomach, try to learn and improve from it rather than get defensive.
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