Etsy News Blog

Teams Empowering Communities: Rockford and Beyond

Alfonzi

Etsy Craft Party was a particularly special event this year with 550 teams from around the world coming together to craft for their communities. I spent Craft Party with the Rockford Etsy Team who made embroidered and hand-painted merit badges with residents of the Rockford Housing Authority to show how crafting together can bring a community together. This team has made an ongoing commitment to support their community, partnering with Etsy and the City of Rockford to launch a Craft Entrepreneurship Curriculum in the Housing Authority and Public School System. Together, we are inspiring participants to see how they can turn their making skills into real income opportunities and laying a clear path toward entrepreneurship and economic empowerment.

Amazing things are not just happening in Rockford — hopefully you also saw Julie’s post on what some of the other Etsy teams did to support their communities during Craft Party and Morgan’s post on the Little Rock Team’s work with Kiva to get more micro-loans in their community. Get involved! If you are feeling inspired, here are some ideas for what you and your team might do to make an impact in your community. If you’re not yet a member of a team — fear not, it’s easy to get involved! Teams are at the heart of the Etsy community — they are self-organized groups of members who come together around a common purpose. You can browse all of the teams on Etsy, join, or start a new team here.

Bring Your Community Together
Craft Party doesn’t need to be the only day for bringing the community together around craft! Think about hosting a craft event for your area — teaching an element of your art or a fun, simple DIY activity. Maybe the goal is to bring together different parts of your community who don’t usually interact and could benefit from tighter bonds. You can also focus on bringing joy, laughter, and positivity to a group who needs it. Craft Party has shown us examples of bringing people together ranging from public housing residents to at-risk youth to hospital patients — think about the unique needs of your neighborhood. Nothing bonds people like hot glue! (pun intended).

The Pink Ponies team of Los Angeles have led crafting events in their community for over a year. When they’re not helping out with the Meet & Make program at the Craft & Folk Art Museum, they’re setting up on college campuses and local shops to gather folks together to explore their creativity and learn something new.

Support a Local Non-Profit
Find a non-profit that you think is making a positive impact on your community and shower them with some love. You can support them in their fundraising efforts by donating a percentage of your sales, donating items for a charity auction, or hosting an event where item or ticket sales benefit the organization. For example, the RebuildRecover Team brings sellers together who contribute a percentage of their sales to disaster relief. Is your shop already donating to a non-profit? Consider joining the Etsy Giving Prototype Team!

Helping is not just about giving money — it can also mean giving your skills. For example, consider donating handmade items to a non-profit that needs them or offering your design skills to help the organization spruce up their space or create great new marketing materials. The NECTAR (New England Crafters Team All Regions) Team made scarves and hats that they donated to area shelters via the United Way of New England in Boston. Thirty members came together to donate 300 heartfelt, handmade items that kept local children warm during the holidays.

Encourage Entrepreneurship
Hopefully you’ve found a way to make money doing what you love on Etsy; consider supporting others to do the same. One option is to support organizations that facilitate small business loans. We recently partnered with Kiva, a non-profit organization that facilitates 0% interest loans to small businesses — your team can get involved by giving a loan to another creative entrepreneur on Kiva or by becoming a Trustee — vouching for an artisan and enabling them to receive a loan from another. Another option is to teach entrepreneurship in your community; think about identifying a community with existing craft skills and lack of business experience with whom you could share your story and advice about starting business. Soon we’ll release the curriculum that the Rockford Etsy Team is using so that you can replicate the program in your own neighborhood as well — stay tuned!

  • brandmojointeriors

    brandmojointeriors from brandMOJOinteriors says:

    Doing great work in my hometown.

    1 year ago

  • webdesign

    Sandy Rowley from BannerSetDesigns says:

    Great video. Thank you for the encouragment!

    1 year ago

  • pinkponiesshop

    pretty pinkponies from pinkponiesshop says:

    You rock, KIMM!

    1 year ago

  • BackyardBrand

    Jim McLean from BackyardBrand says:

    Keep up the good works. I love your healthy community attitude!

    1 year ago

  • rusticcraftdesign

    Sam Squailia from rusticcraftdesign says:

    This is a great article with a great message!! Thank you so much for mentioning our team work, from NECTAR (New England Crafters Team All Regions) Team!

    1 year ago

  • ArtbyRolana

    Rolana from ArtbyRolana says:

    Thanks, it's great to see other liked minded arts and crafts people out the helping each other.

    1 year ago

  • ThePaperButtonPress

    Kari McDonald from ThePaperButtonPress says:

    Thank you very much for sharing our team's story! I am very excited to see what happens next with the partnership that has developed here in Rockford. Thanks!

    1 year ago

  • Dharlee

    Dharlee from JewelryCustomDesigns says:

    GREAT! Our local team is getting pretty active as well. This is so inspiring!!

    1 year ago

  • HeapeEnterprises

    Emily from BannerExpress says:

    Great video! Thanks for sharing :)

    1 year ago

  • 4EnvisioningVintage

    Tracy from 4EnvisioningVintage says:

    Love this!! Community is key. Thank you for sharing :)

    1 year ago

  • changeofart

    Mary Ann Einarson from easymat says:

    Wonderful! Can you tell me how I can find Bill Benson's wood shop? It looks like he makes frames using repurposed wood. I'd love to add that to my product line (eco-friendly frames made in Chicago).

    1 year ago

  • MsFoodie

    MsFoodie from MsFoodie says:

    That is AWESOME! We in Bend Oregon our 5 New Leaders meeting tomorrow on how to lead and we are planing our June 2014 Etsy Party!!!!!! GO ETSY

    1 year ago

  • nightcloud

    Catharina from nightcloud says:

    wonderful initiative - the perspective of so many people can change for the better when they discover the community spirit! may Etsy inspire more and more of those... :)

    1 year ago

  • MegansMenagerie

    Megan from MegansMenagerie says:

    This is just great!!! Thanks for sharing!

    1 year ago

  • CountYourStitches

    Pam Hewitt from CountYourStitches says:

    Wonderful and inspiring... Thank you Etsy

    1 year ago

  • TheCuriousKitchen

    Lisa Zador from TheCuriousKitchen says:

    Very inspiring post, thanks for giving food for thought!

    1 year ago

  • tzifani

    Rachel Tzifani from beachandpooltowel says:

    Great video! thank you KIMM for sharing!

    1 year ago

  • saskiadezee

    Saskia de Zee from LUREaLURE says:

    This is really what it is all about, sharing with the people that are around you, around me. I am so happy to be receiving these mails.

    1 year ago

  • lisdunndesigns

    Lis Dunn from lisdunndesigns says:

    Such a beautiful day and time with all involved!! Thank you SO much Etsy and especially Kim and Kimm for loving on us and leading us to do greater things in the Rockford community!

    1 year ago

  • Moondogjewelry

    Tony from RocknBracelets says:

    Keep up the good work! You will succeed just believe in yourself! Everything else will fall into place. Most millionaires in America never finished college. I know very successful business owners that barely passed high school, that i went to high school with. No amount of college can teach you to get out there and actually do it, and live the life of your dreams, instead of just thinking about it. When you make money remember to share it with others, it always comes back to you twice the amount!

    1 year ago

  • mfrawley

    Mary Frawley (Calligraphette Ltd) from Calligraphette says:

    I'm loving the ethos of linking back and giving back to the local community - good karma Etsy! xx

    1 year ago

  • jchenqingguo

    Jade Country Chen Qingguo from yushizhiguo says:

    I was a novice, I hope you take care, thank you!

    1 year ago

  • anapaulapintadocorti

    Ana Paula Pintado Cortina from Mukui says:

    I really loved it, it is really inspiring, Thank you!

    1 year ago

  • metrocottage

    Laurie from metrocottage says:

    I love this video! It's great to see a community pulling together and offering their skills to help others, and to possibly help other start their own business!

    1 year ago

  • opendoorstudio

    Martha Layton Smith from opendoorstudio says:

    a wonderful partnership for entrepeneurship ! well done

    1 year ago

  • Glenberg

    Linda Soderberg from CinderellaButtons says:

    This is an inspiring video, which gives hope and promise to people, to put into action their creativity. Would be good to do this on a smaller stage to encourage a community.

    1 year ago

  • PascalesStudio

    Pascale Toussaint from PascalesStudio says:

    So inspiring! Thank you!

    1 year ago

  • msmith559

    Mini S. from GGnPops says:

    So much awesome information. We should all Thank you for sharing.

    1 year ago

  • LibiHung

    Libi from LibiClozet says:

    That's so nice and inspiring...thank you for sharing! Hope there will be one craft party like this in my hometown.

    1 year ago

  • pinkponiesshop

    pretty pinkponies from pinkponiesshop says:

    Congratulations to all who were featured in this great post about community and connectedness!

    1 year ago

  • PrayerNotes

    Prayer Notes by Cynthia from PrayerNotes says:

    Love this idea! Inspirational!

    1 year ago

  • passionatobooks

    Laurel Rogers from PassionatoBooks says:

    Great to see how Etsy can affect social change in the community.

    1 year ago

  • SugarPopCrochet

    Rachelle Castiglione from SugarPopCrochet says:

    Brilliant! How wonderful to instill the importance of art in our young people!

    1 year ago

  • Shellz88

    Shellz Wilkins from ShellzTreasures says:

    This is really empowering

    1 year ago

  • krassimirvalchev

    Krassim V. from Krassim says:

    I really loved it.So inspiring! Thank you!

    1 year ago

  • yoyozhou

    YOYO Zhou from DIYfittings says:

    amazing, i like it

    1 year ago

  • catherinemaria

    Catherine Maria Charalambous from BouncyTree says:

    Such true pearls of wisdom

    1 year ago

  • ljsales1

    yoo li from Beautifuljewelrys says:

    Done very well, I believe there must be able to find their own love

    1 year ago

  • TheDorothyDays

    TheDorothyDays from TheDorothyDays says:

    What a wonderful project and so inspiring :)

    1 year ago

  • mgeverywhere

    Latchmi Guiney from crownandswords says:

    i JUST STARTED A NEW GROUP CALLED: BAD LEMON ITS PURPOSE IS TO SHARE BAD EXPERIANCE WITH CUSTOMERS SO WE COULD ALL LEARN HOW TO DEAL WITH A BAD LEMON ALSO TO HELP, AND UNDERSTAND WHAT ARE THE SHOP OWNER RIGHTS. HOW TO END A DISPUTE

    1 year ago

  • InspiredDesigns4YOU

    Vanessa Rottner from JewelleryInspired4U says:

    Pay It Forward! It's always nice to do good works and help local Communities and humanitarianism :) The expression actually came from the book Lily Hammond in the 1900's Garden of Delights. reprinted @ Indigo books.

    1 year ago

  • MsJJM

    JJ and Bill from JJandBAntiques says:

    This is GREAT! Thank you for sharing!

    1 year ago

  • anotherwaydesigns

    anotherwaydesigns from anotherwaydesigns says:

    aw sheesh, that got me all choked up! very inspirational, thank you for sharing. such wonderful work..

    1 year ago

  • MsJJM

    JJ and Bill from JJandBAntiques says:

    Great post! Love this!

    1 year ago

  • kaigreen
  • hermanabauer

    Juliette Bauer from SkullBlankies says:

    Shout out to my hometown; I was raised on the west side. Wishing the very best to the Rockford Team. Rockford, IL is a great place to really help these people take off. My own Etsy shop started when I was a nurse who bought homemade scrub caps from someone at Swedish American Hospital and decided to try my own hand at scrub caps.There is so much potential in a soul when given the opportunity.

    1 year ago

  • cathEM

    Catherine from CreativeMindfulness says:

    What an inspiring blog! Thanks for the tips and ideas. As a social worker in my day job I often see the power of people getting together to share and to help, and this story sums it up beautifully. Thanks

    1 year ago

  • phoebec

    Phoebe K from BoxSet says:

    This is Awesome!

    1 year ago

  • EstateAurora

    AuroraHorton from EstateofAuroraHorton says:

    I actually grew up in Rockford, it's wonderful to see them on here and doing so well!

    1 year ago

  • HandmadeThaiFabric13

    PANTIVA Sharpe from EthnicFabric says:

    Great work!

    1 year ago

  • onihaspiritualtemple

    onihaspiritualtemple says:

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    1 year ago

  • mariasanchez4000

    maria sanchez from MariasMoccs says:

    Really good stuff!

    336 days ago

  • LillyanLou

    Karmen Bryer from LillyanLou says:

    Thanks for all the support for the Rockford Etsy Team!

    278 days ago

  • LillyanLou

    Karmen Bryer from LillyanLou says:

    Thanks for all your support for the Rockford Etsy Team!

    278 days ago

  • vineetajewels
  • WoodsyWools

    ACR from WoodsyWools says:

    Very nice !

    235 days ago

  • oguduguspellcaster

    OGUDUGU SPELL CASTER says:

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    73 days ago

  • oguduguspellcaster

    OGUDUGU SPELL CASTER says:

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    73 days ago