A New Marketplace for American Handcrafted Goods

I recently had the honor of interviewing Erica from aftcra & learning more about this marketplace for made in America handmade wares. I think this marketplace could be a great opportunity for seller's looking for a handmade, American made only marketplace. So join me in learning more about this site & the people behind it!

What is aftcra?
aftcra is a new handmade marketplace where you can buy and sell handmade goods made in America. Erica Riegelman is the President and Co-Founder of aftcra and the creator of the new handmade platform.

How did aftcra come to be?
When I was younger, my mom was an incredible artisan and would always be painting, or crafting or sculpting something fierce. She had a talent that I had wished I had. She also had something that most incredibly successful artists acquire … patience. Patience is not a strong suit of mine. Because of that, I never followed in her creative footsteps. But one characteristic I’ve always had is the mentality that I want to change the world. I’ve always wanted to make a difference; to make things a little better than they were yesterday.

The summer of 2011 I had a truly serendipitous collision of events in my life:

1. My mother was struggling to sell her wares with local boutiques wanting to take a 50% fee.
2. My corporate job (which I will still say to this day is a great place) had started to wear on me, control me and left me feeling discouraged and beat down.
3. I read an incredibly inspirational book about the importance of freedom in your life.
4. I found a minor weakness in an industry giant.

Within these completely unrelated experiences, I discovered an opportunity.

This was when I made the biggest decision in my life: do I do something to change my life or do I sit back and let others control my destiny. That serendipitous collision pushed me to create aftcra, an e-commerce marketplace just for American handmade artisans to sell their beautiful goods. We are focused on helping American artisans share their handmade products with the world. We aren’t some Silicon Valley giant. We are just us, a family in the Midwestern that loves the talent of makers and their handmade goods. And aftcra, she’s the new marketplace on the block, but she's growing. 

aftcra was finally released into beta at the end of 2012. In October of 2013 we exited beta with a more formal site. Once we exited beta we experienced a surge in artists and realized that we needed to make the site even better. Throughout the majority of 2014 we worked on developing a better site for a users. And in August of 2014 we launched the new aftcra - which has a sleeker design, better usability for shoppers and artists, and more features for all users.

Erica from aftcra
Who works at aftcra?
aftcra is a small family-owned business. We are headquartered in Milwaukee, WI with an office in Boston, MA. We have three family members that work on aftcra regularly, and a small tech team who is constantly working to improve the site. 

What does aftcra stand for?
When creating aftcra we wanted to select a name that had meaning behind it instead of something fun and completely unrelated. aftcra is an anagram for "a craft", meaning the skill it takes to create something out of nothing. We think it's a good representation of our talented artisans.

How many sellers currently sell with aftcra?
aftcra currently has over 800 aftcra artists and is growing quickly. We have artists in every kind of category and all different skills.

What is a piece of advice you'd give to someone who is considering starting a business?
Because of aftcra I feel a sense of freedom in my life. All that I can share with anyone who has ever thought about starting a company is the one line that I still say to myself when I am tired from a day’s work and dealing with the pressure of a brand new business: There are always a million reasons why you shouldn’t do something, and there is never a better time to start than right now.

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