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2023: A Look at the Year Ahead for Artisans Cooperative

Man in a bright orange sweater standing on a large pile of big driftwood on a sand dune and peering out into the distance with his hand over his eyes to block the sun

UPDATED 5/20/23.

January is a powerful time of year for learning from the past and planning for the future. We artisans remember 2022 as the year Etsy crafters started to revolt

Now we’re planning the 2023 year ahead – it’s going to be an exciting, make-or-break year for artisans!

Let’s take a quick look back on how far we’ve come: 

  • In April 2022, 80,000 artisans and supporters united in the #EtsyStrike
  • In July 2022, a small group of those artisans and supporters started meeting on Discord, with the goal of building an artisan-owned online handmade marketplace
  • In August 2022, the Discord group ran a poll to decide on a name. After three rounds of voting, “Artisans Cooperative” was chosen, and the website was secured from a pool of initial donations. 
  • In October 2022, Artisans Cooperative announced their intention to the world with a fleshed-out website, blog content, social media accounts (@coopartisans) and a press release. We started an email newsletter and began fundraising
  • In November 2022, Artisans Cooperative joined the US Federation of Worker Cooperatives for technical guidance on starting a cooperative business
Brook the Artisans Cooperative chicken mascot is waving to a group of volunteer birds, including another chick, a goose, and a blue jay raising its wing

In 2023, we plan to build on that momentum, with an overall goal of launching our basic online marketplace by October. Here’s how we expect the year to go: 

Jan – MAY 2023: plan and build

✅ Spread the word and build on our ranks on social media, Discord, email 

✅ Engage our followers and conduct polls to design technology solutions and cooperative structures that meet artisans’ and supporters’ needs

✅ Formalize governance and legal incorporation with technical guidance from the Federation’s “Co-op Clinic” and the accelerator program

✅ Build up content that proves our value to artisans: skill share articles, free marketing promotion via gift guides, artisan profiles, directory, social media shares

✅ Write business plan, including sources for fundraising, with technical guidance from the cooperative community

✅ Research and decide on marketplace technology: use poll feedback to prioritize features, analyze options, and pick a direction, then start building out

MAY – Sep 2023: Build and test

➡️ Develop the marketplace website with our chosen technology

➡️ Sign up the first co-op members

➡️ Soft-launch test version of marketplace with Founders Circle and first members

Sep – Oct 2023: Test and Launch

▪️ Finalize and announce the basic marketplace that meets top 5-10 “priorities” from poll (artisans & shoppers)

▪️ Promote the new marketplace to take advantage of the holiday shopping season

Nov-Dec 2023: public campaign

▪️ “Buy Actually Handmade” campaign to both promote artisan sales and introduce ourselves to customers, with the benefit of the holiday gift-buying imperative

To make this plan happen, we need every set of hands (and wings!) to join our working group. Once we get the cooperative off the ground, funded, and earning income, we will be hiring staff, but until then this effort is volunteer-powered. Fill out our volunteer survey for more information! 

2023 is going to be an exhilarating year. The cooperative community has been supportive and welcoming like a knowledgeable older friend. The #EtsyStrike and initial interest show that artisans and shoppers want this solution to exist. 

Let’s build it together and make 2023 a year for the memory books! 

About Artisans Cooperative

We are growing an online handmade marketplace for an inclusive network of creatives: a co-op alternative to Etsy.
Shop the marketplace!

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