Heads up, this content is 10 years old. Please keep its age in mind while reading.

Hey Everyone,

Thank you so much for all your support for the Genderplayful Marketplace idea. We’ve launched the fundraiser, and already raised $2400 in the first week (plus $335 for the PayPal Haters Fund) from a combined total of 91 backers.

*pause* Did you get that? If you’re skimming, take a second to go read that last line again. None of those numbers are typos. This. Is. Real.

For those who are hearing about this for the first time, here’s the spiel:

What’s the Genderplayful Marketplace?

Genderplayful is a plan for an online clothing marketplace that celebrates diversity in gender presentation and body types. This is for anyone who can’t easily find what they’re looking for in a typical clothing store, with special support for androgynous, unisex, butch, dapper, femme, gender-bending, gender-transgressive, and gender-fanflippingtastic clothing solutions for all kinds of bodies.

Genderplayful cares about custom solutions, and the marketplace will host a lively community that finds and creates those solutions together. Vendors will include indie designers, crafters, clothing makers, tailors, and people selling things from their closets and local thrift stores. Community members will pool notes on what they’re excited about, and vendors will take cues from buyers on what to create more of. The goal is to create a culture-rich gorgeous Internet bazaar for the playful, the exquisite, and the just trying to get dressed in the morning.

About the Fundraiser

If Genderplayful can raise $5,000 in community funding by January 15, 2011, founder Sarah Dopp will commit to making the project a reality. Anything above that baseline number will go toward making the project happen faster and better. (Really, she needs more like $50,000, but she’d rather do it cheaply than wait to do it perfectly.) All financial backers will receive perks based on their contribution level.

Wanna donate?

You can do that right here:

And please spread the word! The more supporters we can rally early on, the stronger this community project will be. The main event is taking place over here: http://genderplayful.tumblr.com

Thank you so much for all your support everybody!

So much love,
Sarah Dopp
founder of Genderfork.com and the Genderplayful Marketplace
(cross-posted from genderfork)

Heads up, this content is 11 years old. Please keep its age in mind while reading.

The deeper I tumble down the rabbit hole of community development, the less I care about the social media marketing crowd, and the more interested I am in people who just do it without realizing how or why.

I’d like you to meet Whitney Moses, if you haven’t already.  (Chances are you have.)

Whitney Moses

Whitney is a massage therapist with a social life.

The social media numbers?  It’s unfair to talk about them since she could care less, but I’m going to anyway. She has over 1600 friends on Facebook, and is actually friends with every single one of them.  She keeps a close written account of her life for her inner circle of friends (400+ people) on Livejournal. And being still kinda new to Twitter, she’s rallied about 630 followers from her universe on there.  (It’s also worth adding that she and Amanda Palmer go way back.)

The only internet stats she does care about are her business reviews, since they’re critical to her livelihood.  Having changed office spaces several times in the last few years, she’s at the mercy of her clients to rebuild that pile from scratch every time.  The last move was a few months ago, and she’s up to 30 reviews on Yelp and a 5-star rating.

Whitney is active, both physically and socially.  She sings and dances regularly in the San Francisco club scene, and she monkeys around at the rock climbing gym whenever she has the chance.  She’s obsessed with the human body, and is usually enrolled in extra courses to expand her massage therapy offerings, even though she already has plenty of certifications.  Online, she reads as much as she can about what her friends are up to, comments on their stuff religiously, and sends them personal notes whenever she’s thinking of them.

People love her.  She’s smart, generous, compassionate, aware, engaged, fair, accessible, and joyful about life.   Whenever a friend needs something, she finds a way to make it happen for them.  Whenever she needs something, people run toward her in mobs, holding as much of it as they can carry.

When I started the Deviants Online series in the winter, Whitney was one of the first people I invited to speak at the workshop.  But when I asked her, she looked at me like I had three heads.  “Social Media Marketing” isn’t her subject.  She wouldn’t even consider herself a great example of how to “be awesome on the Internet.” That’s for other people to be experts on. She’s just being herself.

Exactly the point.

I’m still working on her, and will hopefully get her to start articulating her methods and philosophies soon.  But that’s not what’s going on right now.

Right now, she has a broken leg. Well… worse. A knee full of ripped ligaments. As of last Saturday, she’s injured and not allowed to walk, dance, or work for six months.  Our Whitney, the center of a massive community, is down. And without insurance.

I saw her last night.  She was laughing about it, but also clearly frustrated, and worried about how this is all going to play out.

I managed to wait until I left before I burst into tears.  I crumbled into an incoherent, snot-dripping wreck, mumbling onto the shoulder of another friend, “No.  We NEED her OUT there!”

It’s just six months. She’ll get through it. But the shock still has me dizzy: Whitney’s been a lighthouse of passion, activity, health, and engagement in my life for years.  I don’t think about it — I just stand up stronger because I know she’s there, and living with the grace and force and connection that I pretend I’ll someday attain. Seeing that threatened hit me like a fist to the gut.

No. We need her out there.

Fortunately, the whole “without insurance” thing is only a half-truth.  It’s true she’s probably facing $30,000 in medical bills and 6 months worth of lost wages, but there are also hundreds (maybe thousands) of people who are committed to helping her out.  The crowds are already organizing a central calendar to plan visits, transportation, and meals for her, and schemes for several fundraisers are already in the works.

She doesn’t have that kind of safety net because she’s a nice person.

She has that safety net because she has spent her entire life listening to and supporting the people around her, pursuing her dreams as honestly as possible, and including as many people as she can in them.

UPDATE!  Stuff You Can Do…

Heads up, this content is 11 years old. Please keep its age in mind while reading.

Last week I asked some of my recent and current clients to offer up a short paragraph that describes what it’s like to work with me, in an effort to update my website’s sidebars.

What I got back was overwhelming.  If you need me, I’ll be over in the corner being bright red and hiding under a jacket.

“I just love Sarah Dopp!” is a pretty common phrase uttered around our office.  Sarah is amazing at what she does—she’s fast, efficient, and detailed oriented—yet she remains humble. No question is ever too stupid to ask Sarah, no task too small.  But the most important thing about Sarah is that she gets our organization, through and through.  Unlike others we’ve worked with in the past, we’ve never had to question Sarah’s advice or intentions, because we know she inherently shares the same set of beliefs as our organization.  And there’s nothing quite as refreshing as working with a consultant like that—a consultant like Sarah Dopp.

— Amy Lafayette
Community Engagement Coordinator/Web Specialist
Planned Parenthood of Northern New England

The first person I hired to set up my website made all sorts of promises and delivered on very few of them. The site languished. As soon as Sarah took over, she sent me lists of everything we should try to do to improve traffic, and immediately set me up to track visits and to easily send her updated tasks. Whenever I have an idea, it goes into our planning grid. We prioritized the tasks and are gradually implementing them as the budget allows.

She has made numerous changes to QlownTown, improving keywords, membership setup, access to the daily cartoon, text and more. She gives me helpful feedback on my ideas and provides great ideas of her own. She always works in my best interest and—very important—can be trusted with confidential information.

I finally have someone I can partner with to take my website to the next level–and beyond!

— Don Smith-Weiss
Cartoonist
Qlowntown.com

Working with Sarah has been a real pleasure, she is fast, direct, communicative, funny and kind to those of us who know very little about the particulars. She brought her skills to our design and concept seamlessly, and made some serious magic.

— Nancy Schwartzman
Filmmaker and Activist
WhereIsYourLine.org

Rarely are people this gifted in technical troubleshooting, editing, and understanding the nuances of communicating with target audiences. Sarah Dopp, it turns out, is a one-stop-shop. Our team loves her! Of all consultants I have hired and collaborated with in my career, she is by far the most thorough, efficient and pleasant to work with. Always focused, prepared and completely tuned in to the project.

My organization can either pay me for 10 hours of frustrating work to troubleshoot something, or I can call Sarah, who will solve my technical problems within minutes with humor and incredible expertise. She is pleasant, accessible, thorough, and knowledgeable. All her suggestions are well considered and appropriate for the scope of whatever project is at hand. I have yet to get any advice less than brilliant.

— Valerie Vass
Director of Community Engagement
Planned Parenthood of Northern New England

Sarah has the remarkable ability to distill a project down to its essence, even as that project changes, which they always do. Building and developing on that essence is where Sarah truly thrives, and I’d have been lost so many times without her magic moonshine.

— Hugh Howie
Producer
hughhowie.com

And on that note, I’m currently available for new clients. :)