As the trends expert at Etsy, she's made a career of thinking outside the box.

By Caroline Biggs
January 04, 2021
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Credit: Courtesy of Etsy

Have you ever wondered how to turn your dreams of owning your own business into a reality? We can help. Each week, as part of our Self Made series, we showcase female entrepreneurs—as well as their quality, handmade goods—and share their best advice related to starting, maintaining, and growing your own business.

Ask any fan of Etsy and they'll say the same: It's their go-to shopping site for unique fashion, beauty, and home décor products. Brimming with handcrafted artisanal goods and one-of-a-kind vintage items, Etsy is your one-stop shop for interesting, on-trend pieces that you can wear, gift, or showcase in your home.

And with all the goods that Etsy has to offer, it's easy to wonder how the site manages to stay ahead and on top of all the industry trends. Enter Dayna Isom Johnson, resident trend expert at Etsy. The Brooklyn-based fashionista and star of NBC's Making It has made a career out of knowing what trends are going to be all the rage and which ones simply don't have staying power. "Professionally, I've been analyzing trends for the past four years, but personally, I've been tracking fashion trends since I was a little girl dreaming of becoming a fashion designer and buyer," she says. "I continue to be inspired by people who embrace their personal style and make statements outside of what is defined as the 'norm'."  

So, how does one go about becoming a leading trend expert? We asked Johnson about her job at Etsy, and what it took to get there, and she had lots to share.

First Inspirations

Originally from Louisa County, Virginia, Johnson says her parents heavily influenced her love for trends and fashion. "My dad always coined his fashion choices as 'sharp as a tack,' while my mom's trademark red lipstick and red nails always inspired me to incorporate a signature piece into my look," she recalls. "The backdrop of a small town, where you look different from the cookie-cutter image of everyone else, could be challenging at times, but I embraced my love for fashion and fed it with hours of watching The Style Network and reading fashion magazines."

How She Landed Her Dream Job

After studying fashion merchandising at the renowned Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT), Johnson worked at showrooms and in the marketing department at Chico's FAS before eventually landing a job at Etsy. "I had been working in the marketing department at Etsy for about five years when after a last-minute cancelation, I jumped in to appear on Good Morning America to discuss wedding gifts for couples on Etsy," she says. "I immediately had a conversation with the leadership team about how I could shape this into an impactful role, not just for myself but for the company and was lucky to have their support. This year marks nine years with Etsy and four years in this trend specific role."

What Being the Trend Expert at Etsy Entails

Johnson currently spends her days scouring the thousands of sellers and wares on Etsy to help identify interesting trends so she can share them with the world. "My job is made up of reviewing data of top searched items on Etsy, combing through the site myself for unique items, talking with the sellers of our community, and presenting these findings to our customers and the media," she explains.

What Inspires Her Work

While there's no shortage of eye-catching fashion and décor items on Etsy, Johnson says it's the sellers that inspire her the most. "I love spotlighting the stories of Etsy sellers, highlighting the incredible unique items they make, and sharing the shopping habits of our customers," she says. "What inspires me the most about my job is the explosion of creativity that our community continues to pour into their art every day."

Her Advice for Anyone Dreaming of a Similar Job

Above all else, Johnson says the best thing you can do for yourself and your career is to never let go of your dreams. "My biggest piece of advice for anyone who wants to pursue a similar career as mine or any job for that matter, is to speak up for what you're passionate about—even if that role doesn't exist," she explains. "If I hadn't spoken up, I never would have landed my dream job."

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