Back in October, we shared the news that we were part of a team building a co-op alternative to Etsy after being unhappy with changes at Etsy and participating in the #EtsyStrike. Since then, Artisans Cooperative has transitioned from an idea to a reality.
We're proud to announce that Walnut Studiolo is one of the Founding Members of the co-op and we're looking for more members to join to achieve an October 2023 launch: both Artisans and general Supporters. In this post, we'll tell you all about it!
Our community-owned marketplace will provide an easy and familiar shopping experience, an authentic selection of genuinely-handmade goods, and the positive feeling of knowing that more profits are going into the pockets of artisans.
Picking up the story where we left it in October, Artisans Cooperative began growing its community and getting out the word last fall. Valerie has been a key part of forming this new organization as part of a team of artisans located worldwide and meeting online via Discord and is currently Treasurer on the Interim Board of Directors.
In January 2023, the co-op announced its work plan to support an October launch, timed to take advantage of the holiday shopping imperative. In March, the co-op was accepted into the Start.coop cooperative business accelerator, with Valerie as the primary liaison. The Start.coop accelerator came with a $10,000 grant, which was used to pay for legal fees for incorporation.
On May Day, the co-op registered as an Oregon cooperative corporation, complete with our bylaws and foundational policies. The Handmade Policy, Points & Tiers Policy, and Ownership Model that work together as a "trinity" to solve the handmade marketplace problems that Big Tech couldn't: authentic handmade goods, inclusive of all artisans, that is accessible and inclusive to all who want to join.
Today, Artisans Cooperative is welcoming its first members! We have a goal of raising $25,000 before July 31 to pay for Phase I website development. (As of this writing, June 14, we are 64% of the way there!). We've made a funding plan with our advisors to leverage this initial $25k milestone into additional financing. If we reach our goals, we will stay on track for an October launch.
An online handmade marketplace co-op is an ambitious and exciting project that we're proud to be part of. It's going to be a busy summer as we develop the marketplace. But it will be nothing without people, so we're reaching out to everyone we know to talk about it.
To support artisans like Walnut Studiolo, take a moment to:
- Become a co-op member! We are a multi-stakeholder co-op of Artisans and Supporters, with multiple payment plans and non-cash options so everyone who wants to support can afford to join.
- Subscribe to the Artisans Cooperative email newsletter
- Follow on social media as @coopartisans (icon links in footer)
- Donate any amount to help us cover start-up costs (like domain hosting and task management software)
- Join our Discord for lively engagement and behind-the-scenes progress
- Tell your friendswho love to buy handmade and your friends who are artisans themselves
Stay tuned and watch this space for future updates and announcements as we grow this organization of creative independent crafters and makers.