Karen Thomas, Conscious Crafties Founder

Conscious Crafties Story

Conscious Crafties is a online marketplace and support community for
disabled entrepreneurs and their carers

How was the idea born?

Super Ted the Assistance Dog
Karen Thomas, Founder

Hi there, I’m Karen and after becoming Chronically Ill in 2011 almost overnight, I found my way to various support networks. I noticed we all shared the same sense of loss, we’d lost friends (because not many stick around when you have to let people down at the last minute), some of us had lost jobs and the biggest thing that hurt deep into my soul was the overwhelming loss of purpose, we all felt useless. I desperately wanted to make that better. So in 2011 the idea was born to create a community for everyone to showcase their talents in one place and give people a way of creating their own businesses. It was also a way for me to feel useful again, by using my skills to help others. Conscious Crafties is about empowering us all to be successful, tell our stories and meet new like minded friends who understand our struggles. I’m also hoping it plays a key part in changing the way Disabled and Sick people are viewed by the world. We can still contribute and are incredibly talented!!

Conscious Crafties has been built in honour of Sam, my beautiful friend I met through sickness and our love of crafts. Her strong fight with Gastroparesis and POTS sadly ended in Oct 14. Heartbroken, I knew then, after years of thinking about it, the idea for us all to sell our crafts and skills within a supportive community needed to be launched, so it could help people NOW and give them hope for the future.

Sam De La Querra, Gastroparesis and POTS warrior
My beautiful friend Sam

Where did the name come from?

‘Conscious’ means our customers are making a ‘conscious decision’ to buy from us knowing they get wonderful quality while supporting us, but also means we as Crafties are ‘waking up’ and regaining our purpose. It’s also related to the fact I have POTS and have trouble staying conscious! xxx

Stories are told

As most of us feel unheard, each ‘Craftie’ gets to tell their story on the site to help spread awareness of our (sometimes invisible) illnesses. Our stories appear on every product or service we list for sale on the site and also shared on Facebook and Twitter. We’ve gained a massive following on Facebook in such a short space of time (thank you everyone!) so our stories are seen by thousands. Our crafts and skills are regularly shared through social networks and many of our Crafties have appeared in various online newsletters and blogs, all helping to increase sales whilst raising awareness. Every new Craftie also gets invited to our ‘Crafties Community’, a fun place to share crafts, selling tips and form close bonds with friends who understand our struggles. 

Karen's Story

In 2011 I was perfectly healthy going about my workaholic lifestyle when BOOM! – I started fainting up to 10 times a day and my bed became my best friend. A year later I was diagnosed with POTS (Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome) a rare condition affecting the blood vessels and heart rate. There’s no cure, but reaching out to others with the same condition has been a huge help in learning to live with it. 3 years later I was told my POTS was caused by EDS (Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome) a connective tissue disorder affecting the skin, cartilage, ligaments and blood vessels – everything that holds us together! I also have some bonus conditions: Fibromyalgia, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome/ME, Raynaud’s Disease, Chronic Pain Syndrome, Migraines and Asthma. Life has been tough, but I’ve met some wonderfully strong friends who also live with chronic illnesses.