Artisans Cooperative is crafting an online handmade marketplace for an inclusive network of creatives. We are a member-owned, member-run and member-benefiting co-op. We promote creativity, support artist livelihoods, create opportunities for social impact art collectives, and connect people through an equitable artistic community.
1. Member-owned co-op: We are a member-owned, member-run, and member-benefiting co-op. Members are all of the people who make us what we are: artisans, supporters, and eventually employees. Membership is open and voluntary, and we adhere to the 7 international principles of cooperativism. Co-ops may be harder to start than other corporate structures, but once running they are statistically more likely to succeed.
2. Free and fair marketplace. Once it’s launched, our marketplace will be free to join and open to non-members. It will allow artisans to gain control of their own livelihoods through simple, fair, and transparent fees and enabling community connection. Our democratically-run co-op means that artisans have a say in business decisions, including fee changes. (We actually intend to lower fees once we are up and running.)
3. Inclusion: We welcome all authentic artisans and their supporters who want to see this marketplace happen. Craft has always been the refuge of the disadvantaged: a way to earn income outside of a system that makes participation difficult for so many. We lower up-front barriers to entry for members of all kinds, including unincorporated collectives and mutual-aid societies, level the financial playing field with our innovative Points & Tiers Policy, and actively engage communities that are historically not well-served by the typical corporate structure.
4. Authentically handmade: Our community-written Handmade Policy ensures that every product on the marketplace is actually handmade by putting our members in control. Using the power of our community, it provides an original-yet-enforceable definition of ‘handmade’, a verification system, and an enforcement process. This reduces artisans’ competition from drop-shipped resellers and mass-produced products, and benefits customers, too, by providing a selective marketplace they can trust to be entirely handmade.
7 Cooperative Principles
In addition to our own values, we uphold the seven principles upheld by cooperatives everywhere:
- Voluntary and Open Membership: Cooperatives are voluntary organizations open to all persons able to use their services and willing to accept the responsibilities of membership.
- Democratic Member Control: Members actively participate in setting policies and making decisions.
- Members’ Economic Participation: Members contribute equitably to, and democratically control, the finances of their cooperative.
- Autonomy and Independence: Cooperatives are self-directed, self-help organizations controlled by their members.
- Education, Training, and Information: Cooperatives provide education and training internally and externally. Internal education is so all can contribute effectively to the development of their cooperatives. Externally cooperatives educate the general public about the nature and benefits of cooperation.
- Cooperation Among Cooperatives: Cooperatives strengthen the cooperative movement by working together.
- Concern for Community: Cooperatives care about the local communities outside of the organization.
Learn more about the international principles of cooperatives.