As many of you know, I list my jewelry for sale on Etsy. Last fall, I met a couple of really terrific sellers based in my home state and we decided to form a team, LouisianArtisans or LArtisans, for short (click on the link and check out some really amazing shops from the Bayou State.
The LArtisans Team established an executive committee for Membership, Treasury, Public Relations, Local Liaisons, etc. We were on fire, baby! We have our own online portal with message boards, chat, a blog (I was the blog committee chair). We had our own groups on Flickr, IndiePublic, MySpace, WeLoveEtsy...it was almost a little daunting. But there was a lot of interest.
Our membership comprised over 200 Etsy shops. Etsy chats twice a week. Local group meetings. And then, around Christmas, it all started to fall apart. Not pointing fingers at all. Life is so much more than our art and Etsy business; no one understands that more than I.
But still, I'm sad. I've met a lot of very cool, very inspiring people. We've shared coffee, conversation, marketing tips. We've cheered each others' successes, commiserated with each others' disappointments. I've actually done what I tell my kids NEVER to do: I made a friend online and *gasp* gave out my personal information. But she's a kindred spirit of mine: part friend, part enabler (bead shop sales? road trip?), part encourager. She's a keeper (her shop is here).
So I guess I can say that I received most of what I hoped with this team. I'm just sorry that others may not have the great experience that I did. Perhaps they joined later when the activity was waning. Perhaps we didn't reach out enough to get them - and keep them - actively involved. Who knows.
Perhaps we'll try again some day. I would like to think you haven't heard the last of the LouisianArtisans.