Monday, April 5, 2010 and Trade School

What's happening with A wide range of people are excited about, an alternative system for valuing creative work. It's a barter economy where social, environmental, and ethical rationales drive exchange behavior. In the next two months, we're presenting at MoMA, The Renegade Craft Fair, and The Walker Art Center. Many people found out about OurGoods through Trade School, a barter experiment that three of the five OurGoods co-founders (Rich Watts, Louise Ma, and Caroline Woolard) ran from February 25th to March 1st.

Should Trade School re-open? We're using Kickstarter to find out. We will open Trade School in September if 5,000 people donate any amount OR if we raise at least $9,000 by June 27. We've raised over $1,500 from 64 people so far...

What is Trade School?

At Trade School, students barter for instruction. We turn storefront space into a platform for learning, a place where enthusiasts and specialists teach in exchange for basic items from students. Anyone can offer to teach a class. Students sign up for classes by agreeing to meet the teacher's barter needs. We ran Trade School for 35 days and we want to open again!

What happened at Trade School?

From February 25th to March 1st, we ran Trade School at GrandOpening in the Lower East Side. Over the course of 35 days, more than 800 people participated in 76 single session classes. Classes ran for 1, 2, or 3 hours and ranged from scrabble strategy to composting, from grant writing to ghost hunting. In exchange for instruction, teachers received everything from running shoes to mixed CDs, from letters to a stranger to cheddar cheese. We ran out of time slots for teachers to teach and classes filled up so quickly that we had to turn people away. This made us think: we should keep doing this...

How did we do it the first time?

Everyone contributed time and materials to support a community that values cooperation over competition. Rich Watts bartered design work for GrandOpening's storefront space and help conceptualizing Trade School. Louise Ma and Rich Watts designed the website and Caroline Woolard coordinated with teachers to make the class schedule. We made a weatherproof flag, bucket furniture, hook-filled shelving, and a huge chalkboard. Incredibly rigorous, creative thinkers gave time to Trade School from day one. See more at:

What do we need to do it again?

Starting in September, 2010, we want to open Trade School again. Many people asked us to continue Trade School, but we need help! If we raise $9,000 or more, we can pay for the materials that cannot be salvaged. We can also give some money to a Trade School coordinator who fields class proposals, schedules classes with teachers, and is responsible opening and closing the space.

What is Trade School about?

Trade School re-thinks value. When I give my teacher something specific (apples, fabric, design help, etc.) in order to participate in on his or her class, we are no longer strangers. Trade School rejects cold cash transactions because barter fosters relationships. Teachers and students alike learn and connect in a space where everyone has something valuable to exchange.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

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