A new mom helps Etsy take on maternity leave and motherhood

How the site is creating a culture that celebrates motherhood.

A new mom helps Etsy take on maternity leave and motherhood

Maybrooks + Motherly caught up with Cheyne Little, a product education manager at Etsy about how the company supports its mothers as employees, sellers and customers. Here’s what Cheyne had to say about how her work and personal lives coexist at the makers marketplace.

A Pilot Program for New Moms at Etsy


Cheyne Little, Product Education Manager, Etsy


Brooklyn, NY


Monday – Friday, 10am – 6pm ET


Carys (daughter) 7 months


Cranberry + white chocolate oatmeal lactation cookies (made by my mother-in-law)


Managing Humans: Biting and Humorous Tales of a Software Engineering Manager, by Michael Lopp



Parks & Recreation or The Good Wife


I live by my iPhone and keep my team organized with Basecamp


Since I’m still nursing, I get ready in the morning and wear a robe until right before I’m walking out the door to head to work.


Carys is still young so we mainly like to walk in the park and meet our neighbors’ dogs.

Tell us about your working mom journey. What are you doing now and how did you get here?

Back in

2007 I started my own Etsy shop selling accessories and handbags I made

in my studio in Texas. I loved running my business but was looking for a

big change and an opportunity to work with a team. Four and a half

years ago, I landed a job working working on Etsy’s Community team. I

moved to Brooklyn and started my job the very next day. Since then, I’ve

had great opportunities for growth within the company. Now, I’m happy

to be managing a team of four, focused on helping our sellers use our

site tools to help run their businesses.

You’re part of a pilot program at

Etsy where as a new primary care giver you receive executive coaching to

help you transition back into work with a baby. How is this going and

what are you learning?


coaching sessions have been my lifeline after returning four months ago!

On the professional side, my coach helps me work through prioritizing

my team needs. Time has never been more valuable and I’ve needed to

adapt from my previous go-to methods.

What I

personally find most refreshing about the program is how real we can be

with each other. A few weeks after I returned to work, I realized this

was the first time in many years that I couldn’t give all of myself to

my work — my time, my energy, my heart (all of which I gave willingly

and passionately). It felt so confusing to realize I had something else I

wanted to pour myself into.

Having my

daughter has been a much more transformative experience than I ever

imagined. I often feel like I’m a different person and it’s great to

have someone help me organize my thoughts and to know that I’m not doing

it alone.

How has becoming a parent changed the way you manage your team?

Becoming a

parent has generally made me more patient and mindful of others, which

has certainly affected how I approach my relationships at work. I feel

much more empathetic and I want my team to succeed now more than ever.

You also co-wrote with other mothers at Etsy a guide to using the parent’s lounge (aka pump room). What does the guide cover?

New mothers

have enough on their plate. It’s so important that returning moms

aren’t stressed or embarrassed about how everything is going to work

with pumping at the office. Once we published the guide, we shared it

with the entire company with the hopes that it would increase awareness

and support for returning moms (and make everyone feel supported and

comfortable upon their return from maternity leave).

The guide covers:

  • How to book a room & what to expect in each
  • How to buy a breast pump using our health insurance
  • A step-by-step with reminders of things to bring and how to stay comfy if it’s your first time using the room
  • Extra

    resources for moms who are struggling with getting the results they want

    or run into other complications with nursing and pumping

It sounds like many of the

executives at Etsy are leading by example when it comes to work and

family. Can you give us some examples of what this looks like/means



significant number of people on our executive team have a family of

their own. The executives who started their families while working at

Etsy took full advantage of our parental leave policies, including our

CEO Chad Dickerson.

I’m lucky

to have my daughter pretty close to the office and our culture is super

family-friendly, so she’s come and visited for lunch a few times. The

last time my daughter visited the office, our CEO Chad stopped by to see

her and chatted with me about being a parent. It feels right that I’ve

never felt as though I should hide that part of my life from my colleagues and teammates.

At Etsy, I

feel I’m encouraged to be a whole, 3-dimensional person, not just an

employee. From our annual talent show to our Etsy School program (where

employees teach and learn new skills from each other, from jewelry

making to 3D printing) we share and celebrate the things we’re

passionate about that extend far beyond our day-to-day work.


basically loves babies. New members of the Etsy family are often

welcomed through an emphatic, company-wide email. We get Etsy baby

gifts. We have an annual Halloween party just for kids and dogs. Our

kitchens have high chairs to encourage lunch visits with family. These

are just a few, seemingly small choices that make me feel that my child

is just as celebrated at Etsy as I am.

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Mama bear image via Le Chic Monogram.

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