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Etsy and Rockford Team Up on Craft Entrepreneurship

Mar 14, 2013

by Dana Mauriello

Last August, Mayor Larry Morrissey of Rockford, Illinois tweeted at Etsy’s CEO, Chad Dickerson: “Since we need an ‘Etsy Economy’ has Etsy begun any partnerships with high schools or job training? We’d love to explore.” Kari McDonald, the captain of the Rockford Etsy Team, joined in on the dialogue: “I’d love to see where this leads! Rockford Etsy Team is willing to help.” With these two tweets, we got to work.

Rockford is a city of 150,000 people, located two hours west of Chicago. Formerly a manufacturing hub, its keystone employers have left the city, ushering in a wave of high unemployment. One of the benefits of having a strong manufacturing history, however, is that many residents already have skills in the arts (such as watchmaking and furniture making) that were once the backbone of the local economy. Mayor Morrissey is an enthusiastic advocate of giving Rockford residents the tools that they need to turn these skills into economic opportunity and we’re eager to support this vision.

A group of Etsy Admin went to Rockford in November to further explore the needs of the city and opportunities to work together. We were greeted by a diverse group of over 70 stakeholders who gathered to share their thoughts on how Etsy could affect local constituents.

Our visit led to a plan for Etsy and Rockford to co-create a Craft Entrepreneurship Curriculum, with Etsy’s platform and marketplace as the learning lab. The aim of the project is to teach people that if they have a craft skill, entrepreneurship and economic opportunity are within reach. Starting in September, the curriculum will be taught by local Rockford teachers to a diverse range of students.

We don’t expect every student to become an Etsy seller, but rather to apply the skills they learn to any entrepreneurial path they want to follow. We do believe, however, along with the city of Rockford, that this will lead to real economic impact.

This pilot program has the potential to be not just what Mayor Morrissey calls a “pathway to prosperity” for Rockford, but a blueprint for similar programs across the country and around the world. We look to the Etsy community as role models for others dreaming of an entrepreneurial path and demonstrating the desire to support independent, creative businesses, built on human interactions. Thank you for inspiring us, the city of Rockford, and a wave of future entrepreneurs that are following in your footsteps.

If you are interested in learning more about this project or talking to us about how Etsy can empower economic development in your area, please get in touch with us. We want to hear about initiatives that we can apply our learnings to after the Rockford pilot program concludes. 

1 Featured Comment

  • ThePaperButton

    Kari McDonald from ThePaperButton said 4 years ago Featured

    Very excited to be a part of this! The Rockford Etsy Team is eager to get involved with our community and help change people's lives by helping them realize they have valuable skills to support themselves. Thank you to everyone involved at Etsy! It has been an honor to work with you

165 comments

  • MegansMenagerie

    Megan from MegansMenagerie said 4 years ago

    This sounds amazing!!!

  • OnceUponAGem

    Madi from OnceUponAGem said 4 years ago

    Interesting...

  • ThePaperButton

    Kari McDonald from ThePaperButton said 4 years ago Featured

    Very excited to be a part of this! The Rockford Etsy Team is eager to get involved with our community and help change people's lives by helping them realize they have valuable skills to support themselves. Thank you to everyone involved at Etsy! It has been an honor to work with you

  • riskybeads

    Lori from riskybeads said 4 years ago

    I think this is an AMAZING idea and opportunity for young people. I couldn't be happier that Etsy is partnering with a school. Good work!!!!!!

  • FallenAngelBrass

    Karen and Tina from FallenAngelBrass said 4 years ago

    Sounds interesting. Is this a technical/artistic skills training program or will it include business education as well? Are the students mentored in building their own businesses along with developing their advanced craftsmanship skills?

  • newhopebeading

    newhopebeading from newhopebeading said 4 years ago

    What a neat idea!

  • mikelking Admin

    Mikel King from mikelking said 4 years ago

    This is an absolutely amazing idea and I hope that other communities implement similar.

  • BackyardBrand

    Jim McLean from BackyardBrand said 4 years ago

    I hope Etsy picks up on this as a fresh, new product area for themselves to vigorously learn from, explore and apply in other communities. You need new products that are big and vital, like your original idea. Like Wholesale has the potential to be. This could be a big one, too! Well done jumping on it, across the board!

  • xwktz

    Katie-Brandon M from departmentChicago said 4 years ago

    Wow, what a great story! Reminds me of why I love Etsy so much. I hope this succeeds and other communities can adopt something similar!

  • TheZeisStudio

    TheZeisStudio from TheZeisStudio said 4 years ago

    Very excited to see this come from my home town! I love the creativity and I'd love to get involved. Please let me know if there's a way I can help out. ~Melissa Schraiber

  • TheZeisStudio

    TheZeisStudio from TheZeisStudio said 4 years ago

    I'm excited to see this come from my home town! Very Creative! I would love to participate, please let me know if there's a way I can help out. Thanks! ~Melissa Schraiber

  • Seams2u

    Amy from Seams2u said 4 years ago

    Thank you, Etsy, for what you are doing for us here in Rockford! Selling here on Etsy has worked so well for our family and we are excited to help others do the same!

  • metalicious

    Stephanie Maslow Blackman from metalicious said 4 years ago

    What a heartwarming story, I'm excited to see how this will grow so it can be expanded to communities all over. Go Etsy!

  • VillaCollezione

    Villa Collezione from VillaCollezione said 4 years ago

    brilliant idea!

  • BackyardBrand

    Jim McLean from BackyardBrand said 4 years ago

    @Amy Cool! That's you (and yours) in the video!

  • crochetgal

    crochetgal from crochetgal said 4 years ago

    Very interesting idea! Working with the grass roots of the community is a great opportunity for both Etsy and the local entrepreneurs!

  • adamsmetalworks

    jason adams from ADAMSandAUGUST said 4 years ago

    Thank you Etsy! so excited to see what this brings for us here in Rockford and other cities. We are making a comeback!

  • decembermoondesign

    Doreen from decembermoondesign said 4 years ago

    "......show him how to catch a fish, and you feed him for a lifetime" This is a wonderful idea!!

  • HabitNation

    Rebecca and Daniel from HabitNation said 4 years ago

    Amazing! Etsy, please consider Detroit for your next stop. Once the major manufacturing hub for automobiles, the area's economy could use a huge boost like this. I look forward to hearing about the positive role you play in the Rockford community. Go ETSY!

  • cvharquail

    cv harquail said 4 years ago

    This is such a terrific initiative! I'd love to use (elements of) the curriculum in the entrepreneurship/lean startup classes I teach at the college level!

  • minouette

    Ele from minouette said 4 years ago

    This is really interesting. I think it's great that their mayor saw individual hand-makers as a way to revitalize and that Etsy was open to help with something so novel. I happened to have been involved in a programme to teach entrepreneurship to high school students when I was in school, and I know it impacted me.

  • PrayerMonkey

    Laura Fisher from PrayerMonkey said 4 years ago

    The other day I walked someone through the basics of opening an Etsy shop and afterwards I thought,"hey, this would be a great class to teach" !

  • Aromatinbox

    Darina Koleva from ShopOfWood said 4 years ago

    Crafts are the base and begining of each economy. The most beautiful and true things are done by craftsmen, not machines. I think this program has a great future.

  • MaidenJane

    Jane from MaidenJane said 4 years ago

    I like this idea! Is this education taking place in the community or in the schools? I was so frustrated that our high school dropped their very popular fashion design/sewing class. Just as my daughter was about to take the classes! I think kids especially need to have time to explore the arts/crafts/trades.

  • chilisugar

    Aja from chilisugarcookie said 4 years ago

    Cool idea, they should try to work with inner city kids as well. It might help keep them off of the streets. I have worked with them before. Bravo Etsy ^_^

  • blainedesign

    Karen Brown from blainedesign said 4 years ago

    This is wonderful. Thanks to everyone for being so creative and seeing the possibilities for bringing people together. When the mayor says that Rockford has to do this for itself, I'm afraid he's right, but luckily there are enough people with vision and resources who see an alternative. This is one of the most hopeful stories I have seen in a long time. Go Chad, go Rockford!

  • heartbalancemind

    Catilin Feldner from CraftedSentiments said 4 years ago

    This is incredibly inspiring. Honestly hope it becomes a nationwide thing. For so long our entire country has been focusing on diluted and/or regressive ideas of what could bring us back to a prosperous place, when really what we should be doing is focusing on actions, and things that were done to help this country grow as a whole in the the first place, i.e, genuine crafting. Etsy as a website, even before this Rockford experiment has proven that it's not a fallacy that going back to the basics can be successful. And to be opening this thought of possibility for the youth is dead on and positive in so many ways. Now if only I could get the entrepreneurship part down for MY own artwork. Maybe they can expand from high schools students to young adults, or anyone for that matter. So awesome.

  • TalismanToo

    Terrie M from TalismanToo said 4 years ago

    If feel very strongly that entrepreneurship is key for many people to be happy in their work. Some of us just *aren't* cut out to be employees, especially as we see corporate America squeezing their human resources harder each quarter. This project is an excellent idea, and I hope it helps more than a few people .

  • jacklom3

    Sara from jacklom3 said 4 years ago

    This is amazing!! Go Rockford!!! :)!

  • beachseacrafts

    Marilyn from beachseacrafts said 4 years ago

    very good idea...Go Etsy

  • happyprintsshop

    happyprintsshop from happyprintsshop said 4 years ago

    I live near Rockford and am very happy to see this!

  • LayOffTheBooks

    Cathy from LayOffTheBooks said 4 years ago

    This sounds fabulous- hope this leads to lots of opportunities! Entrepreneurship is something that I wish had been taught more in high school- our classes, guidance counselors and advice focused on traditional jobs. Creativity, owning your own business etc never made it into the discussion. Glad to see that Etsy is supporting future entrepreneurs!

  • laantigua

    Angela Marcos from LaAntigua said 4 years ago

    I am always very happy to see openness and ideas arising. Mayor Morrisey seems to be looking for solutions, wherever they might be. Reaching out to Etsy is truly a novel approach. And Etsy's picking up the gauntlet shows that new ways and ideas are relevant at this time. This could be the beginning of a very important chain of collaborations to empower communities.

  • SouthernBelleOOAK

    Lynn from SouthernBelleOOAK said 4 years ago

    This is an absolutely amazing idea and I hope that North Carolina will be one of the states to consider implementing similar programs. NC was also hard hit by the declining manufacturing base. Many talented people that are unemployed here could certainly benefit from this. Bravo ETSY!!!

  • patspottery

    Pat Parker from PatsPottery said 4 years ago

    You (etsy), are getting better and better. What a wonderful business that I am a part and partner of ♥

  • CheekyVintageCloset

    cheeky vintage closet from CheekyVintageCloset said 4 years ago

    Awesome, what a great opportunity.

  • RollingHillsVintage

    Anita from RollingHillsVintage said 4 years ago

    This is amazing..go Rockford! Thank you Etsy for upporting this great cause!

  • angeldog

    Joanne Ricci from ChoicesDesignStudio said 4 years ago

    I am in near by Harvard, Illinois. Glad to see the mayor of Rockford interested! Thank you Etsy for also showing interest.

  • dahliasoleil

    Paulette from dahliasoleil said 4 years ago

    Such a great idea.Read about this last week on another site.Best of luck with this collaboration.

  • hannahmartinrobb

    Hannah Robb from HannahMadeJewelry said 4 years ago

    Gr8 Idea!!!

  • purpleandlime

    Rebecca from purpleandlime said 4 years ago

    What a wonderful idea! So glad I clicked on this post : )

  • purpleandlime

    Rebecca from purpleandlime said 4 years ago

    what a wonderful idea!

  • minners4

    Mindy from MinnersMind said 4 years ago

    Absolutely love this! :)

  • gloriafreshley

    Gloria Freshley from gloriafreshley said 4 years ago

    Very exciting! Hope you'll keep us updated on the progress of this initiative.

  • ElainaLouiseStudios

    Lisa Steiner from ElainaLouiseStudios said 4 years ago

    I'm excited to see how this works out. I drove over the river and through Rockford many times on the way to grandmothers house as a kid.

  • GoldhawkPotteryEtc

    Sara from GoldhawkPotteryEtc said 4 years ago

    This is a brilliant idea! I work a lot with schools and teachers and think this is a great possibility for all.

  • gilstrapdesigns

    Debra Gilstrap from gilstrapdesigns said 4 years ago

    I think that this is such a good idea.

  • SavantDesign

    Su Ferguson from SavantDesign said 4 years ago

    What an excellent concept, congrat's to Rockford and Etsy for coming together on this and making opportunities for the schools in Rockford. Wishing everyone much success in this endeavor.

  • MyMondaysChild

    MyMondaysChild from MyMondaysChild said 4 years ago

    I love this idea! Good luck to everyone involved! A+ Etsy and Rockford!

  • MeenaBN

    Meena Krishna from RadheHandmadeJewelry said 4 years ago

    sucha brilliant idea ..especially to work with youth and giving them a taste of entrepreneurship at sucha young age .. way to go ETSY !!!

  • ginasart8

    Gina Hammond from McGillhandmade said 4 years ago

    I love being a part of Etsy! I am so proud of my craft. Someone taught me to paint and now others are learning from someone else. What a great idea!!! Everyone should have a trade and an education. Thank you Etsy! gina

  • speckledfrogcrochet

    Cyprianne from speckledfrogcrochet said 4 years ago

    ETSY You never stop amazing me - Best of Luck Rockford what you are doing is WONDERFUL!!!!

  • thisthatotherthings

    Judy from NimblesNook said 4 years ago

    I would like to see this grow and grow. What a great opportunity for young people to learn about entrepreneurship and being able to use their creativity to earn money. I love being a part of Etsy and am a proud seller since 2009.

  • lindab142

    Linda B. from lindab142 said 4 years ago

    Great idea. I'm about 40 miles from Rockford. I hope we get project updates.

  • MyGardenofBeaden

    Karen Snyder from Mygardenofbeaden said 4 years ago

    This is exciting news - Thank you Etsy!

  • mimsytoo

    Barbara from Mimsytoo said 4 years ago

    Another great example of the positive influence of Etsy! Fantastic!

  • Burromtnarts

    Kim Muller from Burromtnarts said 4 years ago

    This is a great idea! I wonder if this will spread to other cities and towns! I'd love to know how to get it going in my town.

  • maucreations

    maucreations from maucreations said 4 years ago

    Glad to be a part of the Rockford Etsy Team!

  • Glassbeacher

    Glass Beach from GlassBeachSeaGlass said 4 years ago

    Awesome. Art, skills, trade.....Love it!

  • marcgounard

    Marc Gounard from marcgounard said 4 years ago

    Exiting new direction for this new online market, hope more of the same ideas start in places that needs it ... in this funky economie that will probably take a lot longer to recover than we think... thanks Etsy, you rock!!

  • marcgounard

    Marc Gounard from marcgounard said 4 years ago

    Loving it, you rock Etsy!!!

  • PruAtelier

    Jeanne B from PruAtelier said 4 years ago

    Every town across America that needs a jump-start should have a mayor like this....it takes one person with vision to get the momentum going and before long you have a phoenix rising from the ashes!

  • etherealflowers

    Francesca Baldassarri from etherealflowers said 4 years ago

    amazing, that's one of the reasons i love Etsy and its community so much! good luck with it!!

  • atelierpompadour

    paola from atelierpompadour said 4 years ago

    what a great idea!! I like this way to support poeple!!

  • sammysgrammy

    Rita from sammysgrammy said 4 years ago

    Magical idea - "teaching people to fish" - not just handing out free fish. I'm hoping for great success for this project and for many, many spinoffs all over the nation where the "big boys" have shut down and left ghost towns in their wake.

  • bysol

    Sol Maldonado from bySol said 4 years ago

    This rocks!!!! Proud of beeing part of Etsy! Thankssssol

  • lovelylittleknits

    Maria Orticelli from LovelyLittleKnits said 4 years ago

    What an opportunity to do something that's sure to be a win-win for everyone involved. Go Etsy! Love being part of such a positive community!

  • exitera

    Hristo Hvoynev from ExiArtsConceptWorlds said 4 years ago

    Amazing story:)))

  • AnnAngelica

    AnnAngelica from AnnAngelica said 4 years ago

    What a wonderful pick me up story to read. A big thank you to all involved. This just made my day.

  • 21moons

    Theresa Kledzik from 21moons said 4 years ago

    Go Rockford! Creativity demonstrated in the mayor!

  • CynicalGirl

    Mary from CynicalGirl said 4 years ago

    This is what many High Schools used to offer...skills. What a great melding of minds. Hurray! And a special Hurray to the Rockford Team. Teams can move mountains. Great story.

  • ionesAttic

    Barbara from ionesAttic said 4 years ago

    Rockford and its art community have an opportunity to do great things! ...a shout out to betsyyoungquist and her amazing beaded sculpture

  • MonkeysOnTheRoof

    MonkeysOnTheRoof from MonkeysOnTheRoof said 4 years ago

    This just makes me smile!!! People coming together to help others and share their talents. That is what we need...lift people up, inspire them, and most importantly, believe in them!!! Hats off to Etsy.

  • CynicalGirl

    Mary from CynicalGirl said 4 years ago

    Way to go Rockford Team. Teams really can move mountains. High Schools used to teach skills. This is a marvelous meeting of minds. And it's sustainable. Awesome! Great story.

  • remusa65

    remusa65 from ReinasStudioBrides said 4 years ago

    Love it. I think this is a great idea.

  • ArtigianoJewelBox
  • WinkArtisans

    WinkArtisans from WinkArtisans said 4 years ago

    Wow, what a great story! In San Diego, I've started a group called SD Craft monsters where members work collectively to become successful entrepreneurs. We attend business workshops, we promote one another, we share lessons learned and most of all, we are accountable for the development and growth of our businesses. We are brand new, only four months old, and we are already making headways partnering with community leaders. Currently, there's 11 members goring through this peer to peer training. Our hope is to become successful entrepreneurs within a year and then become mentors to other artisans, crafters and artists. Wish us luck!

  • ZiBagz

    Lisa Z ♥ from ZiBagz said 4 years ago

    Bravo!!! So inspiring!!!! Go Rockford!!!!

  • tickingandtoile

    tickingandtoile from tickingandtoile said 4 years ago

    wonderful story! Love the idea of teaching young people how to find their passion & go out and make something of it!! Etsy is a fabulous platform for entrepreneurs....and getting kids excited about this while they are young really opens their eyes to possibilities they might never have known existed.

  • rescuedthreads

    Kira Boyd from rescuedthreads said 4 years ago

    This is AMAZING!! So inspiring. So empowering.

  • Martini0902

    Sarita Crafts from SaritaCrafts said 4 years ago

    This is amazing! Go Rockford!! Very inspiring. Maybe some day I can make my etsy store be my full time job :)

  • VintageJewelsAndMore

    VintageJewelsAndMore from VintageJewelsAndMore said 4 years ago

    This story shows what makes Etsy different from other online markets -- and why I sell here and not there!

  • danamurphydesigns

    Dana Murphy from danamurphydesigns said 4 years ago

    This is a really interesting article and encourages me to think of all kinds of possibilities! Nice job!

  • susantyson

    Susan from HandmaidentheUSA said 4 years ago

    What an awesome idea!

  • memegalarce

    Mercedes Galarce from mitimota said 4 years ago

    This initiative sounds amazing. Many of us crafters need to strengthen and develop skills to grow as entrepreneurs. I understand that is a lab initiative but would be great to be able to access content to replicate or generate local experiences in different parts of the world. It will be fascinating to keep up ... Thanks for giving light on this issue.

  • betsyyoungquist

    Betsy Youngquist from betsyyoungquist said 4 years ago

    Love, love, love.

  • DesignRewindPatterns

    Ally from DesignRewindFashions said 4 years ago

    What an incredible idea to make the idea of marketing skills and craft skills into curriculum that can have life long benefits!

  • MalcolmForTots

    Marian Smith from MalcolmForTots said 4 years ago

    The main stream media should pick up this story and publicize it all over the country. When I was young I used to drive to Rockford to see my older sister who married and moved there. I hope Rockford rises like the Phoenix and that everyone involved will enjoy much success. The USA was built by individuals........the farmer, the rancher, the butcher, the baker, the candlestick maker, the blacksmith, the barber, the grocer, etc. Our country is in trouble, and what an inspirational way to give people hope that bad times do pass but not without everyone doing their part. Good for the Mayor and good for ETSY.

  • RameOttone

    Laura George from LauraCGeorge said 4 years ago

    Fabulous!! This is such a needed addition to the economy. As someone out of art school, I know I felt overwhelmed and unprepared to develop a business around my artistic skills even having studied with that as a supposed goal. The resources to build an artistic business need to be more readily available to creative types. And this is a fantastic first step for Etsy to be on the forefront of that movement.

  • MariaT1987

    Maria Trovas from StoryofStefania said 4 years ago

    This is an inspiring story! Etsy is a great avenue for bringing communities from all over the world together. Australia loves Etsy!

  • dottywalker

    Dotty Walker from SewThoughtfulBlanket said 4 years ago

    So inspiring!

  • WoodrockTurning

    Kerry and Rie from WoodrockTurning said 4 years ago

    Wow! So inspiring!! Etsy has so many opportunities that why we LOVE Etsy♥

  • KellyConnorDesigns

    Kelly Connor from KellyConnorDesigns said 4 years ago

    Such a great way to go and so enabling.

  • looploft

    lisa siebert from looploft said 4 years ago

    WOW! proud to be part of Etsy - you never cease to amaze me with the amazing things you will do :)

  • Hapagirls

    Elan from HapaGirls said 4 years ago

    This sounds awesome! I hope many other schools team up with Etsy!

  • PouchStyle

    Eleith from PouchStyle said 4 years ago

    What an amazing story! Very motivating and inspiring.

  • RibbonTapestry

    Julie Call Pike from RibbonTapestry said 4 years ago

    Thank you for sharing an amazing story of team work and how a city personalizes the Etsy values on an individual level to teach people to be self sufficient, increase their talents, pursue goals, educate themselves, step up and step out.

  • daffysdream

    Daffy from daffysdream said 4 years ago

    Brilliant idea! - Opportunity+ Inspiring+Successful entrepreneurs

  • ThePaperedCrown

    Carla from ThePaperedCrown said 4 years ago

    Give someone a fish and they eat for a day. Teach someone to fish, and they eat for a lifetime. Go Rockford!!!!

  • lauraslastditch

    Last Ditch Laura from LaurasLastDitch said 4 years ago

    I'd love to see this in Russian orphanages. The children age out at 16 with no social safety net. Many turn to prostitution or drug dealing. http://russianorphanlighthouseproject.blogspot.com/2011/05/funded.html

  • KSDluxe

    Karen Sims Deady from KSDluxe said 4 years ago

    What a wonderful story! Best of luck with your plans. Let me know when you're coming to Atlanta...I'd love to be a part of it!

  • KSDluxe

    Karen Sims Deady from KSDluxe said 4 years ago

    What a wonderful idea! Best of luck with your plans. Let me know when you're coming to Atlanta...I'd love to be a part of it!

  • mariaeb

    Maria Elena from MariaElenaBliss said 4 years ago

    Thank you, Etsy for this great story of Rockford and their Etsy initiative! The involvement is inspiring and their idea of starting entrepreneurship at the high school level genius! We have a local art based high school in our town which my son attended, but where the art education fell short was in marketing his talents. It would be amazing if the present art students could, through a similar, initiative not only expand their talents to free enterprise, but help the students realize there is a market for their special talents and a career in the arts ahead! But it also begs the question...is there an Etsy team in West Palm Beach. Florida???

  • lilianny

    Lilian from SewLilian said 4 years ago

    Wow! Wonderful video; very motivating! I'm so proud to be an etsy seller. Thanks for sharing!

  • sewcutebydesign

    Roseann Giannini from MiaBellaOriginal said 4 years ago

    Awesome opportunity, great idea! Very empowering and amazing, great for Etsy to be be involved!

  • bellakay16

    dawn k. said 4 years ago

    This is exciting! I majored in Entrepreneurship and small Business Development, and the first Business Plan I drafted, was for a crafting and artisanal endeavor. I'd like to follow this to see how it develops, and how it may bring stake-holders together in supporting and nurturing community in an Etsy Economy.. Exciting! Thank you.

  • jelliandink

    Jes Elliott from jelliandink said 4 years ago

    Love this....

  • 2ndHandMade

    Serena Lee from 2ndHandMade said 4 years ago

    Great to know that Etsy is helping with this cause and promoting the handmade movement. Here's to the program's success and outreach into other communities hit with economic hardship.

  • bellareeseboutique

    Jill Wilhelm from bellareeseboutique said 4 years ago

    What an awesome idea! I always say that there should be classes at the colleges on blogging. And as someone who refinishes furniture, designs jewelry and sells online, it would be amazing to have a program that teaches the ins and outs of an online shop! I've spent so long learning the process on my own. I could only wish, that for the future of my children, they knew that the could choose to live their passion...and be taught how to successfully do it!! Love Etsy and a program like this in St. Louis would be AH-MAZING!! the city is filled with great programs that teach kids at risk creative skills and Etsy can teach how to be successful with those talents. I'd love to be a part of that!!!! ~jill

  • iluminadacamacho

    Ludy from ludysan said 4 years ago

    This is a great idea.

  • adoreandtreasure

    Elizabeth D from AdoreAndTreasure said 4 years ago

    ♥¨¨*•.¸ Australia loves Etsy ¸.•*´¨♥ I'm excited to see how this will grow ¸.•*´¨♥

  • meandmike

    meandmike from meandmike said 4 years ago

    This is so inspiring! A great reminder that we are in control of our own destiny, sometimes we just need a push and some support...exactly what this will do for so many. The best quote was that we "too often focus on what we don't have instead on what we can do". Keep us informed, we want to know more!

  • kimdehaan

    Kim DeHaan from DeHaanDesigns said 4 years ago

    Thank you Etsy, for giving Artists a platform to shine. It is very important to all of our communities across the globe keep this alive and growing.

  • jacki883

    -jacki from Fleurdecorbyjacki said 4 years ago

    Will be very interested in following this enterprise.

  • LonesomeRoadStudio

    Lonesome Road Studio from LonesomeRoadStudio said 4 years ago

    I'm originally from Rockford; love this idea - and Mayor Morrissey! I voted for him the first time he ran for mayor, LOL. Great concept, so glad to hear that this program was implemented in Rockford, hope to see more communities involved.

  • WhiteCrossDesigns

    Jordan White from WhiteCrossDesigns said 4 years ago

    GO ETSY!! Too many skills/skilled crafts vanishing today, because of perceived lack of outlet for the product, or lack of teachers of the skill. What a great way to offer both! I don't teach a formal class, but my 9 year old has been able to thread a serger & a sewing machine since she was 4, and at shows she can describe in detail the construction process and materials used for every single clutch and bag that I have on sale! We all need to pass our skills on.

  • GardenDaisies

    Kate from GardenDaisies said 4 years ago

    Very awesome. Go Rockford and go Etsy! It's so hard sometimes to explain to those who have lost their jobs and their path in life that they could probably do something for themselves. Of course, being an Etsy shop owner, I wish I had some business background with my crafting skills, but I'm learning. Customer service is easy :-)

  • vintagemarmalade

    Miss Alice from vintagemarmalade said 4 years ago

    This is fantastic! I look forward to seeing more of these partnerships.

  • createwireacc

    Jennifer from RedesignandRepurpose said 4 years ago

    This is a fantastic idea! There are lots of manufacturing communities, hard hit by the last recession, where this program would be well recieved.

  • RedbirdCottageArt

    Dawn from dawndermanart said 4 years ago

    Love this idea! Can't wait to see it play out.

  • SpiritMama

    Waxéla (wa-shay-la) Sananda from SpiritMama said 4 years ago

    This story brought tears to my eyes! Seeing people being encouraged to do what they enjoy and love, and having the support to become an entrepreneur through Etsy's platform is such a gift!

  • earnestefforts

    Earnie and Ellie Efforts from earnestefforts said 4 years ago

    This is incredible and exciting!!! Keep us up to date!

  • luckyporcupine

    Kate from luckyporcupine said 4 years ago

    this is simply amazing! what an awesome way to not only bring up the economy in this area but to also create new bonds in the community. This literally gave me goosebumps when I read. Great stuff!

  • sarahtrinca

    Sarah Trinca from TheSewingMenagerie said 4 years ago

    Good job! The young people of today really need to push these skills along to the next generation.

  • Jusadreamin

    Jusadreamin from Jusadreamin said 4 years ago

    I loved watching this and hearing about the postive effects Etsy is having on peoples well as children lives, THANKS Etsy.

  • softGOLD

    Dianna Gendron from SOFTGOLDSTUDIO said 4 years ago

    Goosebumps! How very extraordinary indeed. Kudos in such a big, big way to Etsy and everyone involved!

  • Squintphotography

    Sonja Quintero from Squintphotography said 4 years ago

    great story!! very inspiring.

  • Squintphotography

    Sonja Quintero from Squintphotography said 4 years ago

    wow, great story. very inspirational!!

  • ifanhour

    Michele Woodford from ifanhour said 4 years ago

    So inspiring!

  • TheBondIsREAL

    Courtney Bond said 4 years ago

    This is truly inspirational! The online marketplace is a powerful source the will build the lives of so many Entrepreneurs and Entrepreneurs-to-be.

  • IndigoTurtleArt

    James Johnson Carole Isenhart from IndigoTurtleArt said 4 years ago

    Job well done to the Rockford mayor for being proactive in improving the city's economy! Thank you Etsy for partnering can't wait to see how this all unfolds.

  • FretKnotJewelry

    Bethany from FretKnotJewelry said 4 years ago

    This is so cool! I hope more cities catch the bug and start things like this too. Look at the awesome things those kids were making! Without these kinds of classes they may have never discovered what they are capable of. I think a little push from another person can go a long way in helping with this. Without a little push myself I would have never discovered the art of making recycled guitar string jewelry!

  • traceygarciadesigns

    Tracey Garcia from traceygarciadesigns said 4 years ago

    What a great story! I love seeing partnerships like this happen, and I am sure it will only get bigger and move to other cities. Keep up the great work, everyone!

  • dianebabin1

    Diane from CruisinCreations said 4 years ago

    Excellent idea! We need more programs like this!

  • empapers

    Eleanor Mayrhofer from empapers said 4 years ago

    AMAZING! So wonderful to see this in action...

  • MixeDesigns

    Lorena Medina from MixeDesigns said 4 years ago

    This is wonderful news!! Happy to be here!!

  • guidouxvintage

    Guidoux Vintage from GuidouxVintage said 4 years ago

    This is a great way to teach young people new skills they can turn into their job one day which probably will become a passion too! It is great to teach/learn something new in any time in our lives I believe. Well done to everyone!

  • selkielassie

    Jennie from SelkieMum said 4 years ago

    Really cool! We have loved ones in Rockford. :)

  • WallArt3DStudio

    Miryana D from DesignStudio1331 said 4 years ago

    Very Inspirational story....

  • halliefranco

    Hallie Franco from HallieJohanna said 4 years ago

    I'm so happy to see Etsy more involved in my own town! Etsy in action is exciting! I went to one of the more artsy high schools, and there were so many creatively inclined people that would benefit from learning about such a wonderful venue. I wish I would've had someone to help me along in my more formative years! I would have loved using etsy then as much as I do now! So happy to start becoming more involved.

  • cocolitaboutique

    Marie-Claude from CocolitaBoutique said 4 years ago

    This is so inspiring! I would ♥ to be part of a similar initiative in my area. I will be traveling the Quebec province this year to find a new home. I will keep this in mind and find a small town that could benefit from this kind of initiative and start an Etsy community projet! I also love the idea of teaching teenagers or adults how to start their own small businesses. I know how selling your own creations to the world can be thrilling. Please keep us posted on those beautiful community projects!

  • michellesfelt

    Michelle Osborn from FeltBetter said 4 years ago

    Love the idea...I've always been a self employed manicurist, but loved crafts too. I think I will be able to do crafts full time soon and it's been about 18 months! Even if we move it won't effect things...yay.. But I'm shocked how many haven't heard of Etsy...I've been educating though!

  • michellesfelt

    Michelle Osborn from FeltBetter said 4 years ago

    I've even shown my daughter in law and granddaughter how to felt and told them about etsy

  • macherecouture

    Cherileen from MachereCouture said 4 years ago

    I love this story, its so inspiring and so positive. To me its a don't give up story! It gives me so much hope. And I love how anyone and everyone can be apart of this, its inclusive and not exclusive. Go Etsy! We need some of this in Australia! xxx

  • ShowOffDesigns

    Linda Gail from ShowOffDesigns said 4 years ago

    This is inspiring! It sounds like a common sense approach to solving problems of a suffering economy. Helping people help themselves is the ultimate gift. I applaud the mayor, Etsy Ceo, Etsy Rockford Team Leader, teachers, and everyone involved for working together for the good of all - all for one and one for all.

  • petitemignonette

    Lisa from TheCreativeHearth said 4 years ago

    Fantastic! ~ To empower people to make their own opportunities; to make the most of their strengths and passions; Brilliant!

  • tartella

    Andrea Daugherty from tartella said 4 years ago

    It's been a long, long time since I've heard anyone say 'Go Rockford,' my hometown. I'm well aware of Rockford's 'maker' roots, and am saddened every time I drive through the (mostly) shuttered manufacturing area. But, it also means that Rockford has the space and infrastructure for a rebirth. With this emphasis on learning (or retaining) these maker skills, I'm excited to see what happens- an inspiring project from both the city of Rockford and Etsy. Go, Rockford!

  • wishflowervintage

    Erin Conley from CurioVNTG said 4 years ago

    This makes me want to (happy) cry, such an awesome project!!! Etsy: seriously keep this idea going, it's such a beautiful one. I second the call for Detroit to be next on the list, I don't even live in Michigan but I'm close enough to know that Detroit has need. Think what this could do, oh my! -^_^-

  • MiriamsKiln

    Miriam Loory Krombach from MiriamsKiln said 4 years ago

    I love selling on Etsy...and we should ALL remember to BUY on Etsy! It's so easy! Go Rockford!

  • upup98

    Michelle said 4 years ago

    I've taken the challenge to buy handmade! Whether it's soap, lotion, invitations, a birthday gift - I can find it on Etsy. I want to support this fantastic community!

  • missantique

    Rita from MissAntique said 4 years ago

    Amazing!!!! This video should be on the news worldwide, so inspiring. When did most of the politics became so boring? Isn't it all about serving the community, create new ways and ideas that solve the problems? This was wonderful to see.

  • scrapbookcompleted

    Janelle Dauenhauer from scrapbookcompleted said 4 years ago

    Fantastic video and very inspiring! I hope more and more communities implement this type of a program.

  • FreshFromtheFlame

    FreshFromtheFlame from FreshFromtheFlame said 4 years ago

    I am proud to be part of Etsy.

  • loispessoa

    Lois Pessoa from patspillowparadise said 4 years ago

    This is great. It reminds me of back home (Jamaica) where Home Economics is part of our curriculum. I certainly hope this will be a growing trend.

  • aressa

    aressa from OriginalBridalHanger said 4 years ago

    This is a wonderful idea....I am going to share with my Etsy team and see if there would be any interest in getting more information....

  • latacreations77

    P.lata singh from latacreations77 said 4 years ago

    ♥¨¨*•.¸ INDIA loves Etsy , CONGRATS ETSY ! for starting such awesome Project. ¸.•*´¨♥

  • opendoorstudio

    Martha Layton Smith from opendoorstudio said 4 years ago

    kismet! well done. so great how this worked out. I am a firm believer that etsy fulfulls a need for so many. I met a woman in the west suburban chicago area yesterday who had just begun her own etsy shop. She suffers with MS and was delightful to talk to... she is so happy to have a platform like Etsy in which to show off her creative side. A place where phisycal limitations don't matter, race doesn't matter, gender doesn't matter, income status does not matter...Here on etsy, the community is built of so many diverse personalities and each a beautiful life story... wonderful of you to bring this together for us all. well done!

  • Satine

    Billie from joliepetiteboutique said 4 years ago

    This is such a good idea!!!Brilliant! I wish this in France ;))

  • hartleystudio

    Ann Hartley from hartleystudio said 4 years ago

    WOW! Hats off to you all! I wish I lived just a few hours north so I could have such an awesome Mayor. Congrats Rockford, make Illinois proud!!

  • nazy1105

    Nazy said 4 years ago

    Sounds like a great program and I hope that you will expand it into other states...CT needs some help :) Let me know what I can do to help push it.

  • pinkparchmentsoaps
  • jennifredjones

    Jennifred Jones from jennifredjones said 4 years ago

    What a wonderful step forward! This is what I think of when I think of leadership...believing in and looking for ways to give hope and encouraging others to find ways to use their skills, talents and abilities to make something good for other people while benefiting themselves and their own families. I have many relatives in Rockford and surrounds and am sharing this post with them. Thank you to all!

  • SueAllemandArt

    Sue Allemand from SueAllemandArt said 4 years ago

    This is so great! Good luck to you Rockford! I hope this becomes a model for other programs around the country...especially in schools!

  • PrayerNotes

    Prayer Notes by Cynthia from PrayerNotes said 4 years ago

    This makes me proud to be a part of Etsy! This is amazing, challenging and purposeful!

  • RhondasTreasures

    RhondasTreasures from RhondasTreasures said 4 years ago

    This is fantastic, what a great video, this is great.

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