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Linked In, But Make It FIBRE!

There are few things I love more than talking about yarn and crafting with fellow yarn obsessed people. If you've been following this blog for more than a day then that's not news to you. Because you all know me so well sometimes I get lucky and one of you will send me a story you know will be perfect for the blog. That's how I first found out about The Fibre Coalition and the inspiring woman behind it, Carla Julius.

Carla saw a gap in the fiber industry. As a woman of color she found that the spaces that were supposed to encourage connection between makers were really only reaching out to a specific section of the community. BIPOC were being left out. A woman after my own heart, she decided that if it wasn't out there she had to build it herself. A year ago, she decided to charge ahead and dive into the world of app development. What she lacked in experience, in the field of app development, she made up for with a deep passion for what she wanted her community to look like.

However, sometimes that's not enough. She quickly realized that having an idea and getting that idea over the finish line are two very different things. The first version of the app wasn't successful. She was trying to build her vision from scratch. Apps are more expensive and confusing then most of us know. Because of that many voices get left out and great ideas are stifled. But Carla isn't like most people. You can tell that just from talking with her for five minutes. She took a year to reevaluate and a few months ago she relaunched the Fibre Coalition using the app platform Mighty Network. Taking the lessons she learned the first time around she has built a supportive community of makers all around the world and it's only going to grow over time. My original plan was to join The FC for a few days and post a review. Cut to one month later and I'm still a part of it. I'm going to break down my favorite aspects of this app and explain why it was just too good to quit.

Cheering You On!

This platform doesn't just talk about building people up it actually does the work. Like most social media platforms people have to have a way of letting the posters know that they enjoyed what you have to say. What makes The FC different is that there are no "likes"on the platform. Instead the members of The FC are encouraged to literally cheer each other on. I'm not crying you're crying! It's a small change that makes a major difference. Especially when you are working on a new project and need a little encouragement.

Building Local Connections

This is actually a feature that I wish that Linked In would adapt. When you open the app you can go through and choose to follow the topics that apply to you. You can adjust what you follow at any time. One of the topics that you can follow is the location that you are closest to. For me that's New York. Since I follow the New York topic I can see and connect with all of the other makers who follow it which makes collaborating the easiest thing in the world! Or even just finding new fiber friends in your area. Other than New York there are currently location topics for Virginia, Connecticut, Washington, Nebraska, Georgia, Texas, and Birmingham (UK). If you are not in one of those regions send Carla a message and see if she can start a new topic for your area. The platform has already grown since I first signed up. So I'm sure that you aren't the only BIPOC maker in your area. This also means that if you move to a new city you can log in and view all of the makers in your area and jump right into a supportive social circle.

Shameless Self Promotion

Does anyone else feel awkward when they have to promote themselves? I know that's just something you have to do when owning your own business. But that doesn't mean it's an easy thing to do. The FC takes a little of the pressure off by creating a section of the app specifically for self promotion and letting the community know what you're working on. It's a great way to get feedback and maybe even find someone who can help you take your idea to the next level. This is another section of the app that has potential to grow once more people join and add their projects to the platform.

Morning Motivation

The last few months haven't been the easiest for me. Building the blog has been filled with a lot of ups and downs that I will eventually start opening up about. I want to be as transparent with you as possible. But I can honestly say that a bright spot has been receiving these messages from Carla every once in a while. Somehow she always knows exactly when to send out these notes. Usually they are only a quick paragraph here and there. The last one I read ended with the words "Be productive and fruitful this beautiful Friday". There’s something really special about getting a note like that first thing in the morning. It really did give me a boost to dive into my to do list for the day.

I guess that’s what makes being in The FC so special. It's just a really positive experience. I look forward to these notes and as a small business owner I love feeling as though I'm not alone. Building something can be overwhelming and getting that boost of encouragement from someone else who is building something has meant so much.

By the way this post isn't sponsored. I could honestly go on and on about the impact this app has had on me.  It has reminded me that we need to support one another and not only be our own cheerleaders, but also lift each other up. It's hard enough to try and build something new on your own. Every once in a while it's nice to know that someone is cheering you on.

You can join The Fibre Coalition through this link and you can follow Carla's Instagram account @melanin_makes for updates on her crafting process and the app news. If you're working on a new and exciting project let us know in the comments!


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