January is a powerful time of year for learning from the past and planning for the future. We artisans remember 2022 as the year Etsy crafters started to revolt.
Now we’re planning the 2023 year ahead – it’s going to be an exciting, make-or-break year for artisans!
Let’s take a quick look back on how far we’ve come:
- In April 2022, 80,000 artisans and supporters united in the #EtsyStrike
- In July 2022, a small group of those artisans and supporters started meeting on Discord, with the goal of building an artisan-owned online handmade marketplace
- In August 2022, the Discord group ran a poll to decide on a name. After three rounds of voting, “Artisans Cooperative” was chosen, and the website https://artisans.coop was secured from a pool of initial donations.
- In October 2022, Artisans Cooperative announced their intention to the world with a fleshed-out website, blog content, social media accounts (@coopartisans) and a press release. We started an email newsletter and began fundraising
- In November 2022, Artisans Cooperative joined the US Federation of Worker Cooperatives for technical guidance on starting a cooperative business
In 2023, we plan to build on that momentum, with an overall goal of launching our basic online marketplace by October. Here’s how we expect the year to go:
- Jan-July 2023: plan and build
- Spread the word and build on our ranks on social media, Discord, email
- Engage our followers and conduct polls to design technology solutions and cooperative structures that meet artisans’ and supporters’ needs
- Formalize governance and legal incorporation with technical guidance from the Federation’s “Co-op Clinic”
- Build up content that proves our value to artisans: skill share articles, free marketing promotion via gift guides, artisan profiles, directory, social media shares
- Write business plan, including sources for fundraising, with technical guidance from the cooperative community
- Develop marketplace technology: use poll feedback to prioritize features, analyze options, and pick a direction, then start building out
- Aug-Sep 2023: test
- Sign up the first co-op members (early adopters)
- Soft-launch test version of marketplace with early adopters
- Oct 2023: soft-launch Minimum Viable Product
- Basic marketplace that meets top 5-10 “priorities” from poll (artisans & shoppers)
- Timed to take advantage of holiday shopping season
- Nov-Dec 2023: launch public campaign
- “Buy Actually Handmade” campaign to both promote artisan sales and introduce ourselves to customers, with the benefit of the holiday gift-buying imperative
To make this plan happen, we need every set of hands (and wings!) to join our working group. Once we get the cooperative off the ground, funded, and earning income, we will be hiring staff, but until then this effort is volunteer-powered. Fill out our volunteer survey for more information!
2023 is going to be an exhilarating year. The cooperative community has been supportive and welcoming like a knowledgeable older friend. The #EtsyStrike and initial interest show that artisans and shoppers want this solution to exist.
Let’s build it together and make 2023 a year for the memory books!
About Artisans Cooperative
We are crafting an online handmade marketplace for an inclusive network of creatives.
Join the movement!