"...our focus is on compassion through creative collaboration. We are about changing the world through kindness...."
I was asked to feature an entire Etsy team, Etsy Helping Hands. I did a little bit of research and thought it was such a fabulous idea behind the team and I loved what the members are achieving together each month. So may I introduce to you...Etsy Helping Hands started by Elise from Black Ant Beads.
"For me personally this is a way to use my talents to help others. And as a group it shows the power of a few to make a huge difference." - Brenda from Dry Branch Ranch
Something New blog post by Black Ant Beads
*The following post is directly from Black Ant Beads blog*
"Three short weeks ago, I was a nobody, a nothing. I did not have anything really happening in my life that I was excited about. Sure, I have a great family and wonderful friends, yes, I have an Etsy shop and love beading, your right I am an MBA student…but life was a bit boring.
Then something happened. It seemed small and unimportant at first. You know, the kind of thing you think could be big, but normally nothing ever happens?
This time, something happened.
I was reading a textbook for a class and it said that in business today, we need to look at the competition as collaborators instead of as competition. “Huh,” I thought, “that’s interesting.” Etsy, and the world, for that matter, is full of jewelry makers and sellers. Competition right? Then again…an idea was beginning to form.
The next day I started working on another bit of homework. A little paper on some topics from the textbook. One of the questions I was supposed to address in the paper was what had I learned and how was I going to apply it tomorrow. At first, I did not know what to make of the question. I mean, come on. What do you usually do with new learning? File it away until you need it right? But the idea to look at others as collaborators and not competitors was a tad different than most new knowledge."
"I love being able to do something I love and help someone by doing it. It's a great feeling knowing that by donating my creations, I'm helping brighten someone's day!" - Auburn Artisan
More from Black Ant Beads blog post, "I posted my proposal on several different Etsy team forums on Friday night and waited. On Sunday, while I was at church, I could hardly stand it. I just felt so led by the Lord to do this thing. Like it was right. Like it was what I was supposed to be doing right now. I was so filled with excitement that I could barely stop myself from skipping around and shouting “Hurray!”
I got home and started looking at the threads to see if anyone had showed interest. Over 30 people in less than 48 hours had responded. I had Etsy convos (private messages) asking how shops could become involved. I was stunned! The next day, there were about 20 people in the conversation. We had ideas flying everywhere. A blanket, different charities, a scrapbook, a website, a virtual craft fair. All kinds of ideas and they were coming from several different teams. I realized that I had to get everyone together and on the same page.
I started a new team. We did not even have a name yet, but we had about 30 members. At this point, my idea had only been around for about a week.
The first week as a real team…I don’t even know what happened! I mean everyone was talking all at once. A group of 40 some Etsyians – from all over the world – were talking about how we could help others through our crafts. We picked a name – Etsy’s Helping Hands. One member volunteered to start and maintain a website. Another volunteered to do the same for a blog. Yet another started a virtual craft fair. We started a calendar, and three weeks after the idea took shape, we have the rest of the year planned out. We know who is planning the project for each month and we know what charity will gain the benefit."
Charity of the Month for April 2012, Genesis Shelter - they are booked out through November with charities...see the full list of monthly charities here.
April 2012 - Genesis Shelter
Black Ant Beads continued blog post - "Our first project is going to be sending our handmade items to a women’s shelter in Texas….and it was not even my idea! I did not come up with it at all. Trey did. And he volunteered to do everything for it. We just send him our items! I am so thrilled to be doing a group project with people who are passionate about the work of the team!
Now we have over 50 members! And we still grow daily. I am still in shock at how amazing this group of people is! I am thrilled with what the Lord is using me for and am so blessed by it all. I cannot wait to see how things go.
My dream for the team is that it will become self-sustaining. That each member can choose to or not to participate in each month’s project. That we become large enough that we can have local chapters. That we can make a real difference in the world. That we can practice compassion in a tangible way. And that we can use our gifts to give others hope."
DIFFERENT WAYS TO PARTICIPATE
1. For individual items going directly to the charity, the charity leader will provide an address and we all mail it to them by the 15th of the next month so they can gather it together and take to the charity.
- Clothes and pillowcases for the women's shelter will be handled this way.
2. Joint items, each person will mail it to the next person and the final person will mail it to the purchaser or charity if the item itself will be donated. If the assembly requires additional supplies that are costly like the backing for the quilt, the assembler needs to figure out that cost in advance and each person can send their share of that cost with their piece of the item or send it to that persons PayPal at the choice of the assembler.
- This is for things like the quilt and scrapbook projects.
3. Items sold through individual shops,the shop owner will send it to the purchaser and collect the money from the purchaser. The shop owner will tally it up and send the money via PayPal to the address provided by the charity leader by the 15th of the next month.
4. Auction items, Each person is responsible for sending their items to the purchaser. (I'm still trying to figure out whether to do this in a blog or use an auction site.) Money will depend on how we do it. If it goes to the individual, they will be responsible to send it via PayPal to the charity leader by the 15th of the next month. If it is on the blog, I'll collect the money and send it to the charity leader via PayPal by the 15th of the next month.
Here are a few places to find Etsy Helping Hands:
Virtual Craft Fair
Etsy Treasury *portion of sales from items in the treasury will go towards charities
Now please show Etsy Helping Hands some love! I would love to hear your thoughts on this fabulous group of individuals who are helping out together. If you would be interested in helping out...please contact team leader Elise here.