Q. What is Seattle Handmade?
A. In a nutshell: Seattle Handmade allows us to expand what began as an Etsy team and create a more inclusive place for our creative community beyond Etsy…including those who don’t have / want an Etsy or other online shop, but do want to connect with more creative people in our area.

Official Seattle Handmade members will have many opportunities to be active and involved, with social events, community gatherings, arts business classes, craft technique workshops, craft shows, and networking activities. Our public Meetup group will continue be our free-to-join area where potential new members can find out what we are all about before joining us on the Seattle Handmade website.

Q. But, I really don’t understand – why the need for this change?
A. The truth of the matter is, when we started in 2007, etsyRAIN was setup as a volunteer-led organization. While we loved creating the active community for our members, the level of activity necessary to keep our 1500 members active was daunting.

After a long period of burnout, and a lot of soul-searching, we realized that what we really wanted was a community of artists and craft makers that were committed the idea of being connected and supporting each other in more ways than just shows and selling. We wanted a community that could welcome all creative people, no matter what their medium or experience, into a group that is supportive, encouraging, and engaging.

Seattle Handmade is that new community of inspiring artists and craft makers residing in and around the Puget Sound region of Western WA!

Q. I don’t live in “Seattle” — does this mean I can no longer be a member?
A.  We welcome artists, crafters, makers, creative entrepreneurs, and hobbyists of all levels from all around the Puget Sound Region of Western Washington State! The “Seattle” name is just easier to remember and find online. When thinking about the name change, we figured that when we tell people we live anywhere outside of Seattle and they respond with a confused look, the next thing we generally say is, “About X-miles (or minutes) away from Seattle” – and that’s when the lights of recognition go on. It’s just that. Nothing personal, honest and truly!

Q. But, I don’t identify with “Seattle” and I feel alienated from the group now.
A. The truth is, if everyone in the country knew what “Puget Sound” meant, we probably would have used that instead! However, from a branding standpoint, we just needed to make sure our name would be instantly memorable so we could more easily promote our group and members to the general public. But that doesn’t mean we love you any less! We *encourage* you to consider hosting a Seattle Handmade meetup in your area to get to know your local members too! Some of our members have even gone on to create their own “satellite” groups from the connections made within our group – and we LOVE and Wholeheartedly Support that idea! (Like, a lot! :D ) We’d LOVE it if you would contact us to learn more about how we can help  you connect with more people in your area!

Q. So, is etsyRAIN going away? Why can’t you keep etsyRAIN going or give it to someone else to run?
A. etsyRAIN as a brand has been a very personal project of our organizers since 2007. We have spent countless hours nurturing and developing our community and we ultimately feel responsible for those who have put their trust in us as leaders. In order to maintain that trust, we need to transition our entire community toward our new identity as cleanly as possible so there is no confusion around who is organizing the activities for our group.

Q. What happens to etsyRAIN Meetup group?
A. As we transition, we will eventually change the name of our Meetup group to Seattle Handmade. While membership on our Meetup group will always be free, being a member on Meetup alone will not give you access to our members-only content on the Seattle Handmade website. A paid membership is required for access.

Q. What happens to all the monthly craft nights and events that we host and/or participate in?
A. As long as we have our Meetup group running, we want our monthly meetups to continue for as long as our hosts are willing to host them! Our meetups are very important to us as a way to connect with our members and the community at large so we want to continue to support them and any new ones that come along as well!

Q. Why is Seattle Handmade a paid membership group?
A. Seattle Handmade is intended to be the next generation of our community- one that consists of members who want to actively participate and understand that quality events and activities can only happen if the group is fully supported by each member through paid memberships.

Q. How much is it to join Seattle Handmade?
A. Seattle Handmade memberships are $40 per year / per member.

If you believe in bringing our creative community closer by continuing the things we’ve done over the past 7 years with etsyRAIN plus much more, then now is the best time to join. Your membership support for Seattle Handmade will help us create this next stage for our creative community…and that would be greatly appreciated! Sign up here: http://seattlehandmade.com/member/

Q. What are the membership fees used for?
A. Seattle Handmade membership fees go toward the costs of managing and operating Seattle Handmade as a trade association for our members. This includes web hosting, Meetup group fees, deposits on event venues, licensing fees, event permits / insurance, event expenses not covered by registration fees, and other administrative expenses.

Q. What do I get for paying for a membership?
A. In addition to access to our members-only forums and information on our website, Seattle Handmade members will be the first to hear about our new events, calls for artists, activities, classes and new opportunities. Members will sometimes receive priority consideration above non-members for certain events and limited attendance activities as well.

There will be many events that will be free to both members and non-members while others will be free to members but non-members would have to pay a fee to participate. There will also be events where paid members receive significant discounts on regular event fees, admission fees, class tuition, booth fees, etc. All fees and special discounts will be clearly outlined when the events are announced. Overall value and savings offered throughout the year will exceed the value of an annual membership fee. Actual experience will vary depending on member participation. Please read our Terms of Service prior to joining.

Q. What about current etsyRAIN Premium Members? I just paid for a whole year – will I be refunded now that etsyRAIN is going away?
A. If you are a current Premium Member or have been a Premium Member for at least 2 years (through 2013), we will be contacting you directly about an extra special offer in appreciation of your support. If you missed that email contact us anytime!

Q. What happens now? How do I keep up with the changes?
A. We may still find the name etsyRAIN hanging around as we transition both our membership and customer base over to our new identity, with more and more information coming from Seattle Handmade over time. If you’d like to stay directly informed, you can join our mailing list (sign up form is on our home page sidebar) and then please add “info@seattlehandmade” to your email safe-senders list to avoid having important news going to spam. You’ll also want to begin following us on social media channels and on the Seattle Handmade Facebook Page.

Q. I have a question not answered here.
A. Awesome! Contact us anytime – we’re happy to help!