Creativity and entrepreneurship run thick in my blood. For as long as I can remember, there has always been handmade goodness surrounding me. My mother and grandmother both painted ceramics, made wedding cakes for couples and candy to sell for the holidays. My grandfather ran a successful greenhouse until he couldn't anymore. When I joined Etsy in 2006 I never looked back. I love everything about the handmade scene, the community, the quality of goods, all of it. Take that and mix it with my compassion for the human race and my love for making people smile and you get Kind Over Matter.
I started Kind Over Matter in February 2009 with my friend Jenn. The United States was in the midst of its most recent economical disaster. We wanted to provide a place for people to get a moment's respite from the day-to-day worries we all had. I made some printable cards for my Etsy shop and I sent them to Jenn. We began encourage others to 'card drop" — an act of kindness where you leave an inspirational card in a random location for a loved one or stranger to find. We also created a group on Flickr so we could show photos of our card drops, inspiring others to do the same.
That's when the idea for the blog happened. I remember how dizzy I was with ideas — all of it was really fast and organic. We found and shared inspirational photographs, art, handmade items, bloggers, websites, DIY Freebies and Etsy shops, all with the sole intention of bringing a little hope and light into your day. Since the beginning we've focused heavily on the handmade community, kind acts, inspirational art and projects, and feel-good nouns. We want to inspire people to live better lives, be kinder, connect, and gain perspective and peace of mind. We want them to realize that they can be who they want without fear, that they are not alone. We want to help people any way we can.
Most artists I know have a tough time making a living, myself included. We run into all sorts of obstacles: an idea that you can't execute for monetary reasons, a business you can't expand because the funds just aren't there, broken equipment, medical bills, and daycare expenses. But these hardships have never deterred any of us from trying, from creating, because making art, writing blogs and books. It's not a job, it's just what we do because we have to: it's a lifestyle.
We want to help independent artists in the handmade community achieve their dreams by awarding micro-grants to polish off their businesses. There are very few grants available for artists on a federal level and most of them are very competitive. We want to change that. Our goal is to turn Kind Over Matter into a non-profit and start selling merchandise that promotes kindness and positivity. We will be using donations and a percentage of the proceeds to fund our grants. These grants will not be awarded by professional curators, they will be appointed by YOU. After initiating website upgrades and design changes, we plan to use an interactive voting system so that members of the handmade community will be able to vote for their peers. Now called the Kind Over Matter Project, we are trying to take it to the next level.
We are pleased to announce that the Kind Over Matter Project is in the running for the Pepsi Refresh Project. Pepsi is giving away millions of dollars to fund great ideas, and we could be one of them! If you are inspired by this project and by the video we created, we encourage you to vote! From November 1, 2010 to December 1, 2010, you can vote for us. You can vote for us every day through the month of November! Also, sign up here if you'd like to receive a daily email reminder to vote for our project. You are giving us the chance to bring our dreams to light, as we try to help bring yours to light, too.
This is about spreading optimism, donating, and changing lives. It's about the community pulling together to nurture individual wealth to help our collective wealth grow. So let's do this! Help us help you!
Has your career as an artist ever taken a backseat due to financial reasons? What are some of your monetary struggles as a creative? If so, please leave a comment below!