Articles

Chicago Craft Racket Meeting

In Local Events on January 22, 2010 by Deb Kosiba

Long Winded Prologue

I hadn’t planned on starting this blog until sometime in March, but I went to a really cool meeting last night and I wanted to blog about it.  But where to put it?  My main personal online journal is on LiveJournal, but I knew it would be a long post filled with contacts and details that probably wouldn’t interest that group of friends very much.  Facebook is right out.  While it’s great for general keeping in touch with people, it’s pointless to put “real” posts there.  And of course, no way could I sum it up in 140 characters.

I do have another blog,  HxWxD, but that one is very specifically for 3-D Science Fiction and Fantasy Art and Artists.  Last night’s event was for a more general crafter, and local to the Chicago area.  It was time to launch a blog for Seward Street Studios.

The Event

It was called the Chicago Craft Racket and it was organised by a group called the Chicago Craft Mafia.

One of the things the speaker said was that she had found it very frustrating that when she would ask crafters about their process, they would become defensive and protective.  They were afraid that you would steal their ideas and their knowledge and ultimately, their sales.  The CCM’s philosophy is the complete opposite, if we all share, we all grow.  And I believe I got a lot out of last night’s meeting.

Crafty Business

It started at 6p with about an hour of general conversation.  There were introductions and business card trading as people arrived.  Once it looked like we were all there, and had settled in with our coffee and cookies (grilled oatmeal chocolate chip! yum!) Leah Bohannon, the evening’s speaker, got up to talk about the evening’s topic, Starting a Crafty Business.

Several of the bullet points covered the questions of what do you do, who do you sell to, and how are you different.  What Naomi Dunford calls your Unique Selling Proposition (I totally gushed to several people about IttyBiz).  Another bunch of bullet points covered how the internet has made finding supplies, trade groups, and marketing opportunities so much easier than it was 10 years ago.  And finally, there was a lot of discussion on how important it is to brush up on your record keeping and tax knowledge.

After that there was a short Q&A with the attendees providing as many answers as the organizers.  The plot to get crafters to share their knowledge was working!  We then went around the table talking about who we were, what we did, and anything else that sprang to mind.  I’m usually very good at public speaking but everyone else was so fascinating I completely  failed to prepare what I wanted to say when it came to be my turn.  I babbled.  Ah, well.  Everyone was really friendly so it didn’t matter much.

The rest of the time was spent standing around and chatting, exchanging cards with anyone we missed in the first round.  As the evening wound down the really nice, and very hard working, guy behind the counter asked us if we’d like the leftover croissants, since he would just have to throw them out anyhow.  I had a yummy ham & cheese croissant for breakfast as I typed this.

And in the End

It was a good meeting and I was glad I went.  I made a lot of good connections and hopefully the beginnings of some friendships.  If you are a crafter in the Chicago area I would recommend signing up for their email list and coming to the next meeting.

Roll Call

I know I didn’t get business cards from everyone.  I counted 18 people, including the organizers and myself, and I only have info on 13.  If you were there and I missed you, let me know and I’ll add you to the list.

Lindsay
lbostudio.com

Lucy
stores.ebay.com/LuDesigns30

Marsha
spinalfusion.etsy.com

Lyn
replicachicago.com

Rebecca
purpleandlime.etsy.com

Richelle
girlmetro.com

Cinnamon
poise.cc

Rebeca
bluebuddhaboutique.com

Corinne
luckypennyhandmade.com

Tammy
smashingcarscreations.com

Leah
redglow1500.com

Michelle
cheldomesticgoodies.com

Deb (myself)
sewardstreetstudios.etsy.com

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5 Responses to “Chicago Craft Racket Meeting”

  1. Thank you for coming and for writing this! You’ve expressed exactly what our hopes are for this event and I can’t express how happy I am to hear that you got that. Our next Craft Racket is on April 21st. Thanks and good luck with the new blog.

  2. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Chicago Craft Mafia, bigblued. bigblued said: Blog post about last night. Went to #craftracket, a chicago crafters networking event, hosted by @chicraftmafia http://bit.ly/6XRDJq […]

  3. Thank you Cinnamon, I really enjoyed it. When I get the notice for the next meeting, can I post it here?

  4. Absolutely! Thanks, Deb.

  5. […] I’m really new to the Chicago crafting scene.  I started in December and I’ve been to one meeting of the Chicago Craft Mafia, and that’s about it.  I’ve also heard about The Chicago […]

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