Immigrant women and women living with mental illness are among the most marginalized populations in Canada. Melanie Conn, Common Thread Marketing Coordinator, recognized that a co-op marketing and production structure would provide a way for these women to use their talents to earn income. Common Thread ( is a non-profit co-op and its members are community organizations that host sewing programs or support the co-op in other ways. For example, The Kettle’s Sewing Room provides sewing training to employ women with the co-op. Many of the producers have not worked in a structured way and the co-op provides various options for them to build on their strengths. The Co-operators Foundation provided financial assistance in 2010 through its Co-operative Development Program and again in 2011 through its Community Economic Development Fund. Common Thread addresses supply and demand by developing and marketing new items, training producers, and securing large contracts to make delegate bags for conferences and major events. In 2012, a special International Year of Co-operatives bag is being supplied to co-ops and credit unions across Canada.