Free Etsy course helps crafty New Yorkers make extra cash

etsy NYC Craft Entrepreneurship Program
Students at an NYC Craft Entrepreneurship Program class earlier this month in Brooklyn. The program helps New Yorkers build an Etsy business.
Credit: Miles Dixon/Metro

Ingrid Gonzalez, a 30-year-old employment counselor from the Bronx, knew she wanted to start a business — she just wasn’t sure how.

“I had the entrepreneurial urge but no really direction,” said Gonzalez, who lives in East Tremont. “It felt really overwhelming.”

That’s when Gonzalez came across a new city program that helps New Yorkers make extra cash by selling goods on Etsy. Launched earlier this month, the NYC Craft Entrepreneurship Program teaches low-income city artists and designers — those earning $52,793 or less a year — how to turn their work into a micro-business.

Since graduating from the program’s pilot class last fall, Gonzalez has spent long nights knitting scarves, hats and cowls for her newly-launched Etsy store, IngMade.

“The program gave me deadlines and made me accountable to myself — it gave me that energy and that fire,” she said.

Citi Community Development provided $155,000 for the free program and the city hopes to enroll roughly 500 New Yorkers a year. Students must have proven artistic and craft skills — as well as at least one item to sell — but no previous sales experience with Etsy.

Taught over five workshops within two weeks in each of the five boroughs, the course covers topics like branding, pricing, search engine optimization and photography. The curriculum was developed by the city and Etsy, which found experienced online sellers to teach classes.

Brandi Harper, 27, instructed a pilot class last year and will continue to teach courses. Also selling knitwear at her own Etsy store, purlBknit, Harper said the online marketplace is a great tool to start a local business.

Etsy
Brandi Harper instructs students during a pilot class last fall. She began her Etsy store in January 2012.
Credit: Etsy

Since launching the store in January 2012, Harper’s sold nearly 40 designs and has expanded offline, selling dozens more at Brooklyn markets and other venues.

Harper said the course — and Esty — lays the right groundwork for budding entrepreneurs.

“It’s teaching people how to teach themselves,” Harper said.

The city first approached Etsy about creating a startup class after hearing about a similar program in Rockford, Ill., which began when the town’s mayor tweeted at Etsy’s CEO for help on job training.

The success of the pilot led to a full rollout this year, according to Maria Torres-Springer, commissioner of the city’s Department of Small Business Services.

Since launching her store during the first class in September, Gonzalez has made at least 25 trasactions, taking in more than $850. She acknowledged she’s still far from replacing her “day job,” but said that isn’t the point of the program.

“It put me in touch with a network of like-minded crafty people,” Gonzalez said.

To apply to the program, visit nyc.gov/workforce1. Applications for the next quarterly session are due Tuesday, March 25.

Dates for second-quarter session, which begins April 15:

  • Bronx: April 15, 17, 19, 22, 24
  • Staten Island: April 29, May 1, 3, 6, 8
  • Upper Manhattan: May 13, 15, 17, 20, 22
  • Queens: June 3, 5, 7, 10, 12
  • Brooklyn: June 17, 19, 21, 24, 26

 

Follow Anna Sanders on Twitter @AnnaESanders



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
National

Sprint and T-Mobile offer further price discounts

Sprint unveiled a plan on Thursday that gives subscribers access to unlimited data for $60 a month, the industry's cheapest unlimited data offering.

National

Hundreds pay it forward at Florida Starbucks in…

The spontaneous chain of kindness continued for about 11 hours, totaling 457 transactions by the time it ended.

National

Weather system east of Caribbean could turn into…

An area of low pressure located east of the Caribbean Sea has a 50 percent chance of becoming a tropical depression or storm in the next 48 hours, U.S. forecasters…

National

U.S. hospital to discharge doctor treated with experimental…

An American doctor who contracted Ebola treating victims of the deadly virus in Liberia has recovered and will be discharged on Thursday by the Atlanta hospital that treated him with…

Movies

Review: 'When the Game Stands Tall' is both…

The high school football saga "When the Game Stands Tall" fumbles around for a focus while Jim Caviezel offers the most low-key coach in history.

Movies

Girlfriend in a coma: Chloe Grace Moretz

Chloe Grace Moretz is the best cheerleader "If I Stay" could ask for. As the star of the film adaptation of the successful YA novel…

The Word

The Word: Summer lovin' for Zac Efron and…

Ah, the summer romance. So intense, so fleeting. With Labor Day fast approaching, it should come as little surprise that the incredibly surprising romance between…

The Word

The Word: The Zac Efron-Michelle Rodriguez summer fling…

  Ah, the summer romance. So intense, so fleeting. With Labor Day fast approaching, it should come as little surprise that the incredibly surprising romance…

NFL

Fantasy football draft guide: How to draft your…

Many are wondering if we’re entering a new age in fantasy football drafting — one where running backs take a backseat.

NFL

Jets vs. Giants: 3 Giants storylines to watch

The Giants have plenty to work on as they reach the dress rehearsal preseason game Friday night against the rival Jets.

NFL

Jets vs. Giants: 3 Jets storylines to watch

Metro looks at three Jets storylines to watch as they play the Giants Friday.

NFL

Giants expected to work Corey Washington into first-team…

The day of reckoning for the Giants' fringe players will fall upon them Friday night against the Jets.

Sex

Big weddings may lead to long-term happiness

Dreaming of a big wedding? A new study indicates that the longer your guest list, the happier you’ll be in the long run. l A…

Sex

Online dating for every generation

Frank Jackson and his mother Maggie are like lots of modern families: They have dinner together regularly, keep each other updated on their lives —…

Wellbeing

Going green could be the key to getting…

If we could just pursue the things that would actually make us happy, we could help the environment too, according to a New York researcher.…

Tech

Siren: A new dating app that puts women…

Online dating can be brutal, especially for single women. Noting that many women hate wading through inappropriate messages and photos, two tech entrepreneurs decided to…