Craftivism: the act of combining activism with craft. In this episode I bring back previous guest Cath Young to talk about this topic, which she embodies in her business My Bearded Pigeon.

I first spoke to Cath on the show way back in Episode 47.

I loved chatting with her so much, I’ve been looking for a topic to talk about with her on the show ever since – and thanks to a social media post by Mostly Miniature, I realised the perfect topic – how craft business and activism can combine.

Cath has always had an activist element to her business, but it became a big focus for her during the same-sex marriage plebiscite here in Australia in 2017. Cath sold pins that raised over $15,000 for charity, and her activism has continued ever since.

In this episode, we discuss her personal journey, as well as the pros and cons of making your religious, political, or ideological stance known as part of your business identity, and how that could possibly affect your business (positively or negatively).

Should you do it? Do you do it? Or is it something you keep well separate from your business?

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Quotes and highlights from this episode:

 

  • Cath started on Etsy in 2008 creating home furnishings and her range has shifted and expanded over time.
  • Several years ago, Cath began to design and sell items in her shop that provided commentary on political events.
  • She approached the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre about turning one of her designs into a tote bag as a fundraiser. This proved to be very successful and Cath made a significant donation to the charity.
  • Cath has been involved in fundraising with her Etsy store since she started beginning with a donation from each sale to Kiva.
  • “There are so many causes to donate to which is why I always swapped around so I could cover a few different causes ” {Cath}
  • Cath chooses not to separate her ideological leanings from her business as her creativity and social/political principles are inexorably linked.
  • “I am the business – it’s not separate to me and very representative of me and my beliefs ” {Cath}
  • In response to the Australian marriage equality postal vote in 2017, Cath designed a lapel pin to support the Yes vote which went viral. She was able to donate $15,000 to the charity Twenty10.
  • As a result of this design, she received a handful of negative comments but a significantly larger collection of comments from purchasers telling her who they were buying the pin in support of.
  • Cath is retiring one of her long-term products as the direction she is taking her business has evolved.
  • “We all want to know what we are buying is good but at the same time there are people who exploit the rating/review system.” {Cath}
  • Jess discusses how she engaged with the same sex marriage postal survey for Epheriell.
  • “I’m not going to neglect this massive thing that is going on in my country about marriage as it is related to my business – I’m going to show my cards.” {Jess}
  • If you are considering supporting an organisation do some research. How will they be using the money you donate? 
  • “If you can’t support a charity with your business you can promote it in other ways.” {Cath}
  • Visit Cath’s business My Bearded Pigeon.

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