Etsy classes for startup sellers to begin in August [Santa Cruz Sentinel, Calif. :: ]
(Santa Cruz Sentinel (CA) Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) June 23--Editor's Note: All 30 spaces in the Etsy craft entrepreneur program in Santa Cruz County were taken as of June 24, according to the Teresa Thomae, who heads the Central Coast Small Business Development Center.
SANTA CRUZ -- About 400 people in Santa Cruz County sell handmade crafts on Etsy, the online marketplace for art, jewelry, clothing and products for the home.
Web designer James Karch at One Up Designs, specializes in pencils embossed with surprising slogans such as lines from "The Big Lebowski" or "Goonies." Leyna Allred turned the herbal salve she made for Christmas gifts into a business, Urb Apothecary, selling lip gloss, cheek blush and hair pomade she formulates herself without using harsh chemicals.
If a county initiative is successful, there will be many more local Etsy sellers, generating income to support themselves and stimulate the local economy. A report on the initiative going to the county Board of Supervisors on Tuesday, notes 8,000 residents in unincorporated areas work at home, with a significant number running home-based businesses.
Etsy chose Santa Cruz County to be in the next round of its Craft Entrepreneurship Program, which will bring free classes on how to start and operate a business online to Watsonville, where unemployment is 19 percent, the highest in the county, as well as regional training such as meet-ups for existing and prospective Etsy sellers.
Atlantic magazine's report that Santa Cruz County ranked fifth in the nation for artists per capita impressed Etsy chief Chad Dickerson. His company started the craft entrepreneurship program in Rockford, Illinois, and then expanded to New York City.
Newark, Dallas and Oldham in the United Kingdom are in this round with Santa Cruz.
The Central Coast Small Business Development Center, at Cabrillo College in Aptos, is a key partner in the initiative, with micro-enterprise classes starting in mid-August at the Cabrillo Extension computer lab in Watsonville.
Enrollment will be limited to 30 with the first series taught in English with Spanish translation. The second set of classes, to be taught in Spanish, will start in February.
The series will consist of six classes covering pricing to make a profit, marketing, accounting, sales tax requirements, and product photography, which is essential because buyers make a purchase decision based on a photo.
Etsy's popular art category contains 2 million items so sellers must know how to use keywords to be found on Etsy, which allows 140 characters, and on Google, which shows the first 70 characters.
SCORE, retired executives who advise startups, and advisers from the Small Business Development Center will provide counseling.
Financing will be available from El Pajaro Community Development Corp., California Association of Micro-Enterprise Organizations and the Opportunity Fund.
Support also is coming from Digital Nest, Second Harvest Food Bank, Santa Cruz County Workforce Investment Board, Regional Arts Association and Santa Cruz Arts Council.
Etsy is piloting training in photography in other communities. In Santa Cruz County, such a class potentially could be part of Cabrillo's adult education offering or the county parks and recreation classes or through the library.
Karch of Santa Cruz has tallied 7,500 sales, selling on Etsy since 2007.
Allred, 29, also of Santa Cruz, works at a local grocery while building her business in her free time, garnering 300 sales via Etsy in her first year. Her products are available locally at Stripe downtown, but Etsy offers a window to a worldwide market.
The top seller in her category, Dennis Anderson of Anderson Soap Co. in Portland, Oregon, has in seven years made 53,000 sales.
Comments are due July 7 on Santa Cruz County's economic vitality strategy released May 20 and posted at scco.planning.com. Highights from the two-year work plan:
Adopt the strategy in August
Analyze eligibility for federal grants by April
Explore 'modest' business license tax to recover public service costs
Create over-the-counter home occupation business permit
Work with Sutter/PAMF to support future campus development
Work with Dominican/Dignity/Sutter/PAMF to improve transportation access
Work with medical corridor property owners to attract hotel
Implement development impact fee study to support infrastructure
(c)2014 the Santa Cruz Sentinel (Scotts Valley, Calif.)
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