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Artisans Cooperative Joins the US Federation of Worker Cooperatives, Allocated USDA Grant Funds

Black and white word graphic inside a badge that says Hire Ourselves! Worker-Owned Cooperatives and shows two hands in handshake from Shareable

(Joint Press Release: Momentum Builds for a Co-op Alternative to Etsy)

Artisans Cooperative has recruited the help of the U.S. Federation of Worker Cooperatives and, through it, grant funds from the USDA.

The U.S. Federation of Worker Cooperative (USFWC) will foster and support Artisans Cooperative in its early stages through their Co-op Clinic. As grant facilitators of the USDA Rural Cooperative Development Grant program, the USFWC will allocate grant funds toward the start-up technical assistance of the Artisans Cooperative.

Funds will be used for setting up democratic governance structures and business plan support. Crafters, makers, and artisans are disproportionately rural: an Etsy demographics report from 2015 found 39% of Etsy sellers in the US were rural, as compared to 21% of the national average. 

Artisans Cooperative Organizer Valerie Schafer Franklin said, “The USFWC is a critical resource for start-up cooperatives like us. We need their technical support to launch an artisan-owned alternative to Etsy in record speed. We are grateful to our early donors who made USFWC membership possible. A modest annual membership fee of $250 has turned into thousands of dollars of technical advice and assistance through the Co-op Clinic. We continue to raise donations for early start-up expenses on our website.”   

Matt Feinstein, Co-op Clinic Program Manager for USFWC, said, “The USFWC is happy to support the crafters and customers of Artisans Cooperative who are taking on Wall Street greed and returning power to the crafters. The cooperative model is the best way to ensure that a company’s mission remains focused on the needs of its workers and the communities they are a part of. USFWC’s Co-op Clinic and our team of expert staff and advisers are ready to help Artisans Cooperative use the cooperative model to create a better online handmade marketplace.”

The United States Federation of Worker Cooperatives (USFWC) is the national grassroots membership organization for worker cooperatives. Their mission is to build a thriving cooperative movement of stable, empowering jobs through worker-ownership. The Federation includes more than 350 business and organizational members. They represent the 1,000 estimated worker co-ops and their 10,000 workers across the country. 

Q&A image from USFWC slide deck: Why start a worker co-op? Good work, Fair pay, Job security, Community. A thriving worker co-op embodies all these values but may emphasize one over the others

About Artisans Cooperative

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