There are MANY things I love about teaching, but sitting through meetings is not one of them. So, after my first "teacher day" of the new school year, I was extra excited to attend the Etsy Craft Party at Stitch Cleveland last Friday. I was hoping to meet some fellow crafters and learn more about how to launch a successful craft business. I was not disappointed.
Prior to the gathering, Heidi and Megan went through their stash and offered everything they didn't need to good homes. For free. Since I made the decision to teach part time this year I've had to really cut back on buying pretty much everything (more on that later) but I can afford free. Beautiful fabric remnants, sample projects, buttons, trims and even craft kits were up for grabs for all of the party guests.
Guests ranged from people like me, someone who is interested in launching a craft business but hasn't made her move, to established entrepreneurs. Megan and Heidi were very candid and helpful in sharing strategies they've used to develop their business. Megan warned us against the dangers of accepting too much noncreative work and stressed the importance of scheduling time to explore our own creativity, which really resonated with me. Here is a picture of Megan sharing her wisdom with us:
I was excited to meet Jenny of Craft Test Dummies and hear her speak about how she has developed her blog over the past four years. Craft Test Dummies is a site that reviews craft books and products. Jenny is able to tactfully and articulately review all sorts of craft items in a way that makes her accessible to both the craft product manufacturers and at-home crafters. She is a crafter through and through. Seriously, she has business cards with rounded edges so she can store them in her card cases made from repurposed Altoids tins--this girl walks the walk! In addition to giving us practical strategies, Jenny shared some of the "defining moments" in her crafting life, like the one project that caused her readership to skyrocket and how it happened. Here she is talking to the group about her experiences.
I came away from this event with a lot to think about. I'm inspired, but I also know that before I get too carried away I need a business plan, both short and long term goals and a mission statement.
If you're local and you've never been to Stitch Cleveland on Detroit Road in Lakewood, you really should check it out. The mother-daughter team of Heidi and Megan have worked hard to cultivate a small business that is welcoming, inspiring and educational. Their creativity is evident the moment you walk in and look at their displays.
I have dozens of old, empty wooden spools in my craft room. The necklace on this mannequin made me want to go home and start making jewelry with them.
If you've always wanted to learn to sew, call Stitch Cleveland and make an appointment for a private lesson with Megan or Heidi. They can teach you to use your own machine or give you a lesson on one of the machines in the shop. If you are an expert sewist, you can sign up for a class to learn a new technique, or simply stop buy Stitch to pick up some of their amazing fabric and browse their selection of craft books. Feast your eyes on this deliciousness by Amy Butler:
...and this is just one of several shelves. We're on the edge of a dreary, gray winter here in the CLE. Shouldn't we all stock up on yards of beautiful, saturated color?