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Dana Mauriello

For getting crafty about cultivating entrepreneurs.

Dana Mauriello
Crafting their Profits: The Etsy Craft Entrepreneurship program has helped people in underserved communities learn about marketing and other business basics. [Photo: Flickr user Richard Tongeman]

Handmade jewelry isn’t just nice to look at; it can also be a powerful teaching tool. Dana Mauriello is using online crafting to help residents of underserved neighborhoods learn business basics. Her five-week program, called Etsy Craft Entrepreneurship, helps students create their own online store while learning about marketing, pricing, accounting, and other subjects. “We’re teaching pride and empowerment,” says Mauriello. “One of the things I’m most proud of is when [participants] say, ‘I feel like I now have skills that people care about and that matter.’” After pilot programs in 10 cities–more than 450 people have participated since the first class launched in 2013 in Rockford, Illinois–Etsy Craft Entrepreneurship is now expanding nationwide.

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Bonus Round

Where or how do you seek out creative inspiration?

I am obsessive with finding, cataloging, and doing new activities. A dancefloor meditation? A talk on game design? A tattoo convention? Done, done, and done. I am on an endless quest to learn about and personally experience as many diverse subcultures as possible and never leave home without my adventure backpack and a notebook so that I can collect inspiration and log new ideas.

What’s the first thing you do when you wake up in the morning?

I think about what I’m most excited about in the day ahead. Since the first thing I see when I open my eyes, is my window, that answer is often: ‘Sunshine!’ 

What is one thing about your job that you think would surprise people?

Even with a community of over 1.3 million active sellers, we still refer to sellers by name, not as numbers.

What’s your favorite Twitter or Instagram account and why?

Advanced Style. Ari Seth Cohen is an incredibly talented photographer and blogger that chronicles the fashion, adventures, and wisdom of older women on Instagram. I am lucky enough to know some of these illustrious Advanced Style ladies personally and count them as among the most creative and inspirational individuals I’ve ever met. As a passionate devotee of vintage cruise wear and over-sized costume jewelry, this is my go-to source for fashion tips.

How do you keep track of everything you have to do.

I use Evernote + GTD to keep track of my tasks, ideas, and notes. I use Post-its on the inside of a vintage steamer trunk at home to keep track of my personal projects and dreams. The toughest thing for me to keep track of is all of the activities that I want to do, so I created Make Today Awesome for that (development credit and infinite gratitude for that goes to the amazing Adam Anderson who was an engineer at ProFounder, my last startup). 

What are some things you do to refresh your mind when you’re in a rut?

I’ve been a competitive powerlifter for the last 15 years and nothing makes me feel more refreshed, clear minded, and empowered than lifting very heavy things. In general, I love anything fitness related and am a regular at everything from underwater cycling to trampoline yoga, but the weight room is ultimate happy place.

Who outside of your field inspires you the most and why?

Don Giustino. Don Giustino is a Benedictine monk at the L’Abbazia di Praglia and develops cosmetics sold at the monastery. Stanford was gracious (crazy?) enough to let me pause my engineering work in college to study the development of skincare products by Italian Benedictine Monks and that’s how he and I met. He has achieved his own amazing version of ‘having it all’  by finding time to grow his cosmetic chemistry expertise within the constraints of his regimented prayer schedule and limited access to resources at the monastery. He also never stops reaching for greatness, and every time I visit him he has iterated on his formulas and made them better. Most importantly, he is deeply, authentically happy and has taught me to be the same.

About the author

Sarah Kessler is a senior writer at Fast Company, where she writes about the on-demand/gig/sharing "economies" and the future of work.

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