"Just a spoonful of medicine helps the sugar go down" is the tagline for The SugarCube Society, a group of crafters on Esty run by Melody Claussen-Furry. Her son was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes in 2005, and she and her family decided to start a JDRF walk team to raise money for research. With all proceeds (minus shop fees) going to the JDRF, it's no wonder that The SugarCube Society is making a difference. I had the chance to connect with SugarCube Society Coordinator Melody and ask her about the reasons, and mission, for her site.
Kerri: What inspired you to start the Sugarcube Society?
Melody: In 2005, our son Christian was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. It was a complete shock. He asked me if he had eaten too much sugar. I explained that it didn't work like that. I played the blame game with myself (didn't I have a diabetic relative somewhere in my lineage? Or maybe it was because I had undiagnosed gestational while I was pregnant with him? Or maybe it was giving him whole milk at 11 1/2 months old?) After spending three days in the PICU with him, the reality set in and in turn, so did acceptance. We immediately focused on learning how to help him manage his disease. We were totally overwhelmed by all the information, but even more so, by watching our son administer his first dose of insulin via a syringe. He was so tough about it. I think he cried more about wearing the hospital gown than he did from the pain of the shot.
He's had a lot of growing pains caused by managing his diabetes. The fear of short-term and long-term complications was the catalyst for us to fundraise for the cure. We do the JDRF Walk to Cure Diabetes every year and will continue to until there's a cure, but it didn't seem like enough. So, I decided to draw on something I do to raise money. I make and sell crafts and jewelry online on Etsy (an independent crafters' marketplace). I decided to open a shop specifically with the intentions of donating all the proceeds to JDRF. I first listed some items I created, but then I called on my crafting sisters from the Sacramento Craft Mafia, who quickly gave from their own shops for the cause. We even had a Sacramento Craft Mafia team for the Walk. It was awesome - we brought in $1200!
I then called on the greater independent crafting community, which is HUGE. I posted the call for donations on forums and soon enough, people were blogging about the shop and sending in donations and even buying the goods! We've had donors from as far away as Australia. I'm very lucky to belong to a part of a creative and generous collective of crafters!
Kerri: What kind of items do you sell? Are there any special stories behind any specific items?
Melody: We sell anything that is handmade. Currently in the shop we have paper goods, jewelry, buttons, accessories and what we like to call Sugarbabies, which are dolls (some are pincushion dolls) that started as plain white dolls donated by sewing geniuses Loreen Devlin and Lhay Browning Thriffiley. I then sent out an email to all my crafty girls asking if they'd like to adopt a Sugarbaby (which meant, take a doll home and embellish it at their leisure with the ultimate goal of selling them in the Sugarcube Society shop). Within an hour, I had all but two out of 14 babies adopted! Two of the babies have already sold! More are on their way to the shop. I'm still working on mine, which is a little daunting. The girls in my group make it look so easy. They're craft studs!
I also had to opportunity to collaborate with graphic designer/illustrator Kate Dana Detwiler of Kukaru.com to create buttons that take a poke at diabetes. She did a great job with the design. They look fabulous! She calls them Sugarbuttons, but on the site they're called the Pins and Needles button pack. We also offer them in magnet form for those who are tired of pin pricks ;)
Kerri: Who are the people behind the Sugarcube Society?
Melody: The crafters who donate their items. The shop wouldn't exist without the generous crafters, most of whom have been touched by diabetes in some way. I'm merely the promotional and shipping and receiving departments.
Kerri: Thanks, Melody!!