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~ PHASE 2 BETA ~
~ PHASE 2 BETA ~

FAQ

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Frequently Asked Questions

Hi there! We’re the Artisans Cooperative. A new online marketplace, built to shine a light on all the wonderful artisans that keep handmade craft alive!

Who are you?

We are a rapidly growing group of artisans and their supporters. We are creating an authentic handmade online marketplace. Think “Etsy,” but more honest and inclusive, more supportive of artisans, and more selective as a “verified handmade” marketplace for shoppers! 

What makes your marketplace different?

Our ownership! Artisans Cooperative is a member-owned and member-run cooperative. This means we want artisans to be in control of their own livelihoods and to put more money back in artisans’ pockets. (Learn more about cooperatives in our blog post, What is a Cooperative?)

Unlike private- and investor-owned marketplaces, the people who use the marketplace own it and manage it to their own benefit. And unlike other co-op marketplaces, ours is inclusive to all kinds of craft, and accessible to all genuine artisans and their supporters.

In addition to being artisan-owned, inclusion / lowering barriers and authentically handmade are the values we use as a lens to build the co-op and the marketplace.

Who are your “members” and how can I join?

Our members are the people who own the cooperative:

  • Artisans who sell on our marketplace
  • Supporters, such as amazing customers and others who want to support handmade artisans
  • Employees of the co-op (when we have them someday!)

To learn more about membership, go to our Membership page.

What do members get? 

Besides being a part of an amazing community? Democratic control, financial rights, and for artisans: lower fees and marketing benefits.

Democratic control means we make decisions together as a company based on one-member-one-vote. Members also have a voice (and vote) to elect the board of directors and in future co-op decisions, such as whether to raise or lower fees. 

Financial rights means that surplus profits go back to our members in the form of dividends. 

In addition, we’ll also be rolling out a few member-only perks – with the input of our members. This includes such things as discounted sales commissions, earlier shop setup on the marketplace, and priority visibility in customer searches. 

Compared to the typical corporate model where a company’s profits go to outside stockholders, we believe the co-op model will ensure long-term, reliable, and stable success for artisans and a better shopping experience for supporters. 

Do I have to be a member to open a shop to sell in your marketplace?

No. If you are a handmade artisan, you can sell on our marketplace. But membership does come with significant benefits for sellers, including lower commissions on sales, more marketing support on the site, and dividends in years that the co-op makes a profit. 

However, at the date of this writing, we are only onboarding member artisans as a transition phase called Phase 2. In the meantime, join our waitlist, subscribe to our newsletter, and watch our blog for updates. 

What are the fees and commissions you take on an artisan’s sale?

To fund our operations, we have a simple, transparent sales commission. No listing fees, no renewal fees, no weird advertising fees. 

As of this writing, our sales commission is:

  • Members = 8% plus payment processing fees
  • Non-members = will be 9.5% plus payment processing fees for early birds, raising to 12% after the promotion window

Unlike other online marketplaces, we intend to LOWER the commission rate as the co-op stabilizes, grows, and thrives. 

Sales commission information >>>

I don’t live in the United States…can I still join?

Yes, we are international in scope. 

However, due to US laws, we cannot do business with certain countries, certain residents of certain countries, and certain exports to certain countries on the US sanctions and embargo lists. For a current and complete list of sanctions and embargoes, please see the US Trade Office website

  • Myanmar (Burma)
  • Cuba
  • Iran
  • North Korea
  • Russia
  • Sudan
  • Syria

Do you have a marketplace yet?

Yes! We launched our Phase 2 Beta marketplace on October 2, 2023. The marketplace is available for shopping to all, and member artisans during this phase.

As a brand-new start-up, we are adding member shops and functionality incrementally and working out the kinks, which is why it's called a Beta.

See our blog post on Marketplace Development to learn more.

How can I help?

There are at least 6 ways you can help! >>>

How can I be sure you’re selling authentic handmade products?

Our community has designed an in-depth Handmade Policy with definitions, an in-depth verification process, and enforcement system that relies on the power of our community, not contractors, employees, nor AI bots. 

Our Handmade Policy has a careful checks-and-balances system, including: 

  • An inclusive yet enforceable definition of “handmade”
  • Prohibitions on mass-manufactured items, reselling, vintage, and most print-on-demand products
  • Accessible onboarding
  • Labeling system for “verified” and “unverified” artisans
  • Search filters by production type for transparency
  • Peer verification process, incentivized by our Points & Tiers Policy 
  • Actionable reporting form, incentivized by our Points & Tiers Policy 
  • Swift action on community-reported “unverified” artisans to catch bad actors
  • Evaluation process for community-reported “verified” artisans, incentivized by our Points & Tiers Policy

Learn more about our Handmade Policy.

Are you affiliated with the Indie Sellers Guild?

We are not affiliated with the Indie Sellers Guild (ISG). The ISG is a nonprofit dedicated to collective bargaining against Etsy and other platforms on behalf of all indie sellers, including vintage resellers, while the Artisans Cooperative is building a self-owned cooperative alternative to Big Tech platforms for handmade artisans. 

Our founding members did meet through the #EtsyStrike and some were actively involved in the early leadership of the ISG. We are separate organizations but we have many members in common.

Are you affiliated with Etsy?

We are not affiliated with Etsy.

Are you a nonprofit organization? Will my donations be tax-deductible? 

No. The cooperative is a democratically-owned business, not a nonprofit organization. Donations are not tax-deductible. Learn more about what a cooperative business is in our blog post, What is a Cooperative?

How did you choose the name and logo? 

Our name was democratically chosen from a series of votes in our early Discord community. Learn more about branding in our blog post, The Story Behind Our Branding (and Chickens!).

Many of our decisions have been made similarly, using information gathered from polls and votes of the interested community, including priorities for the Handmade Policy, sales commission and buy-in amounts, and other things.

Where can I find all your policies? 

Go to our Policies & Plans page.