Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Createability Team

     I've been a seller on Etsy for more than a year now. I've found that is a wonderful place to do business. The interface is so easy to use, and the staff is fantastic at sharing information to help make a shop successful. It is a community, where you can be just as involved as you want to be. 
     After having my shop set up for several months, I ventured into the "Teams" section on Etsy. Teams are groups of people with similar interests who gather together and collaborate. Currently, there are over 4,000 teams within the Etsy community. There are teams of all kinds; if you have a specific interest, or live in a particular region, chances are you can find a team for it. I found a few teams where I thought I would fit in, asked to join, and was accepted. Not having much experience with online chatting, I found it hard to join in and feel comfortable on some teams. That is, until I jumped into the chat threads of the Createability Team.

     The Createability Team is a group of artists and sellers either with disabilities themselves, or caregivers of disabled people in their private lives, who use art and Etsy as "therapy" and as a link to network with others. It didn't take long for me to get to know these ladies (I can't think of any active men members). They deal with a wide variety of illnesses, including Fibromyalgia, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Mitochondrial disease, migraines, depression, Bipolar disorder, blindness, paralysis, and Multiple Sclerosis, among others. There are parents and grandparents taking care of their children with Cerebral Palsy and Autism. And there are adults taking care of their parents who are disabled. Our commom bonds help us understand the physical, mental, and social issues each faces, and equips us with empathy for each situation.
     We gather together in the many chat threads we have to discuss everything! We share our experiences with Etsy, sharing things we've learned for the benefit of all. We discuss social networking, create and share Etsy treasury collections, and show off our newest listings. But the most special part of being on this team is the support we get from, and give to, each other. If anyone's got a problem, or something on their mind, it is quite openly and easily shared with the team. There is no judging, just sweet, genuine support from people who understand.  We also share a lot of laughs, jokes, and funny stories too. You have to laugh, right?
     Anyway, I have come to know these ladies fairly well, and consider them as my friends. It's funny to me that you can be friends with people you've never even seen face-to-face. But you can- I have. Oh, did I mention? In spite of their difficulties, these ladies are fantastically talented! Take a look at the team's Promotions thread to see some of their latest listings. It always inspires me that such beauty and skill can be created under their difficult circumstances. I think we all concur that our art is a way to refresh our minds and souls. Perhaps these artists wouldn't mind me featuring their shops in future blog posts. It's well worth sharing.
     Are you disabled yourself, or a caretaker? Whether you're an artist/crafter or not, you might like to be inspired by the possibilities. You can follow the Createability Team on Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, and Pinterest. The team also has a blog with updated links to individual team members. And when you find something you can't live without in one of their shops, tell them I sent you!

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