Submitted by Danny Smith
Baa Baa Heirloom Sheep, have you any wool?
I was on the hunt for the most interesting Etsy kid stuff, in the spirit of mom entrepreneurship + DIY that I love to cheer. I was on that quest but found instead a brilliant example of Etsy savvy which couples passion with a sponsoring demographic. It just begs for a deeper analysis. Let me back up and get out the basics of what I found.
The business inspiration comes from a listing titled ‘ADOPT a navajo Churro Sheep mom and her baby. She gets the HAY you get the YARN.’ Here’s the premise: the shepherd has a passion for rare and endangered heirloom sheep, and she has a vision: being able to afford the best care for her sheep (a steward to the legacy of the breed). Now, she can process and sell yarn from the sheep–but not enough to earn the sufficient cost of the sheep-care (despite having an additional full-time job). So, the clever shepherd (Arlene Vasquez, Tacoma, WA) realizes, ‘hey, there are other people out there who would be interested in supporting my sheep mission, and what can I offer to satisfy both my needs, and to reach out with thanks to my supporters/demographic?’
What she came up with is to ask people to adopt (in the same sense that a class of schoolkids can adopt a whale) members of the flock on a month by month basis, which helps the cause, and in return they receive pictures of their sheep, and a certain amount of authentic wool yarn from the endangered flock. Those who sponsor for longer agreements, get a higher yarn return incentive.
Everybody wins in this arrangement.
The sheep prosper and multiply, the shepherd (a full-time working mom) gets her income supplemented while pursuing a passion. Finally, the supporter receives the good feeling of donating to a cause they want to help further (vicariously enjoying a shepherd’s way-of-life), in addition to the rare heirloom wool that is now imbued with a personal/unique significance. The yarns worth is not valued in dollars ratio to quantity and volume received, instead, the rest of the price was including something less tangible (emotions, values, and the ‘diamondizing effect’ of absolute rarity).
Just what exactly are you gettin’ at here?
It was just very unexpected and intriguing to see a search result thumbnail of a live animal on Etsy (quite a departure from the artsy taxidermy). You may be concerned now, wondering where I’m going with this: am I implying that you should get people to sponsor your child in return for toenail clippings? Not at all! Harrumph, and how dare you!? I was simply saying, there are lots of creative ways being forged out there, to legitimately combine the things you care about or enjoy, with an online/from-home business set-up. One immediately thinks of that phrase, “it’s not work if you’re having fun.” Talk about solving motivation problems! Your body can give birth to delicate new human beings, so having a little brainstorm to pump up your life is no-sweat in comparison. You just gotta match what you love with what you can offer, and know who wants to receive it and how. Not to minimize the struggles, because it might be taking you years longer than gestation, but you’ve had masterpieces land right from your womb, any dream…you’ve got it in you.