Kollabora, a New York-based marketplace for craft supplies, has raised $2.3 million in new funds, according to an SEC filing. The round has room to go up to $2.6 million.
The idea – selling craft supplies– is simple enough, but more important is he wave the site is riding: It’s pretty cool to be a “maker” these days. The I-keep-shoes-in-my-kitchen-cupboards Carrie Bradshaw archetype has moved to Brooklyn and she’s making her own jam.
Etsy has flourished as a place for crafters to sell their wares, but it overlooks a whole population of crafters who do it for love, not commercial gain. Kollabora captures that, and it’s a pretty serious example of content meeting commerce.
The site offers cleanly laid-out content in the form of DIY project instructions, techniques, and how-tos. Read about an easy-to-make necklace, then click through to buy the supplies on the same site. This is the kind of thing craft magazines should have been doing years ago, and the kind of thing DIY message boards like Craftster.org aren’t capitalist enough to do.
Beyond content and commerce, though, Kollabora has one more important C-word: community. When I sign in, I see a “workspace,” which includes any project I’ve bookmarked, decided to try, and all the tips and ideas I’ve shared with the community myself. That area also includes a news feed listing the recent activities of any crafter I’ve chosen to follow. It’s the kind of thing Livejournal communities dream of.
Kollabora is founder Nora Abousteit’s second go-around with this crowd. Prior to this, she started an open-source sewing site inside of sleepy German publishing company Hubert Burda Media. The site, called BurdaStyle, grew to 700,000 members with its blend of content and commerce. Users could learn about sewing techniques, share their projects and tips, and download copyright-free print patterns. With her latest endeavor, she’s moving beyond sewing to jewelry and knitting. The site will soon also expand into home decor projects and product.
Kollabora soft-launched earlier this year, declaring, “We believe that we are what we make, and that people should have a creative alternative to just buying products.”