Rockford Etsy Team Captain Kari McDonald, Etsy CEO Chad Dickerson, Mayor Larry Morrissey, and Rockford Housing Authority CEO Ron Clewer join forces – image via Etsy.com
Bill, 66, has been a woodworker in Rockford for most of his life. Click through to check out Bill’s creations. – image via Etsy.com
I’m super excited to share the news that Etsy’s Craft Entrepreneurship program has now gone global! Turning the tables to a focus on innovation through diversification, enabling new communities to unlock the potential of their craft and artisan manufacturing skills in a supportive environment.
I’ve long been a big fan of Etsy’s pioneering spirit in creating a marketplace for independent artists and designers to test the marketability of creative ideas. Unfortunately the flip side is that like many other creative industries, this consumer driven model creates a mass of swirling creativity, whereby the majority clusters in the centre, following a certain ‘fashion’ or trend, whilst the outliers spark brave new ideas on the edges of what is considered marketable or tasteful. In an effort to counteract this the Etsy blog has long taken a heartwarming, ‘behind the scenes’ approach to uncovering the processes of entrepreneurial minds, by asking each featured seller to write their own interviews. By the nature of a consumer market, those featured tend to be creatives whose brilliant idea often sets these trends for the time to come. This ‘chicken and egg’ cycle of trend maker / trend driver can lead to stagnation, if not for the odd outlier whose idea smashes through collective consciousness to reinvent the future of craft entrepreneurship.
The program is taught in six modules, by an experienced local Etsy seller over the course of two to six weeks, ensuring ensures information shared is both locally and globally relevant. Perhaps the program’s most brilliant aspect is the way the local and global elements work together to create a supportive environment for to break down of barriers to online success, such as hands on practice at running a .com shop and strategies for sucess over multiple platforms. As well as a local ‘teacher’/leader, each program is linked in with a local Etsy team, immediately creating a supportive network of familiar faces for feedback and advice after the program itself ends.
The Craft Entrepreneurship program is now running pilot programs in six cities in the US and UK, with inquiries open for educational programming and entrepreneurship training providers worldwide to join in the fun (get behind it Australia!).
The good news for all of us is that Etsy is staying true to it’s open source foundations, with all curriculum content and learnings from the pilot programs to be shared online with the world!