Founder/Director of Academy of Handmade, Sharon Fain

After years working in the handmade community, Sharon had gotten burned out a bit-- especially on what she saw as people hustling makers. She was looking for ways to hang out with the friends she had made apart from "work" times (like craft shows) and in more of community setting rather than just a straight workshop or business class.

Living in LA, Sharon has long been a fan of a good awards show. She wondered why so many industries have them, but makers really only had county fairs and the occasional online popularity contest where you had to rally your friends to vote. Why wasn’t there a “Oscars of Crafting”-- where peers voted for peers?

And that’s when it all started to come together. Sharon, along with her friend KC, gathered their maker friends together for a meetup to ask for their thoughts and opinions and the rest, as they say, is history.

WHAT WE’RE TRYING TO DO

Our vision is a thriving handmade economy, where makers are celebrated, respected and successful as not only artists, but as businesses. We aim to honor those who make with skill, artistry and love.    

Our primary goals are to:

  1. Celebrate and recognize those who are making significant contributions to the handmade economy.
  2. Support beginning and existing handmade businesses.
  3. Connect the handmade business community through meaningful relationships.

How do we accomplish all of this? There are three pillars to how we live out this vision:

  1. The AHAS Awards, which are for makers by makers
  2. Informative programming we provide online through our online forums and offline through our chapters.
  3. Space for connection through membership, online and in-person events, social media, our blog and just about any way we can think of.

We also want to provide a space where you are able to really focus on your own business.

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IF YOU’RE A MAKER

Makers are at the heart of what we do. All of our programming, content and community are designed to benefit the special needs of your business. This also means we recognize that there isn’t “one way” to do business or craft your product.

Our main goal is to provide an organization that helps you achieve your professional goals. This is essentially like what many trade organizations in other industries do. But we believe in more than just networking or programming. Celebrating is so vital to recognizing and validating not only maker businesses individually but also to shine a light collectively on the serious and beautiful nature of maker businesses.

IF YOUR BUSINESS SUPPORTS MAKERS

You are so vital to the existence of maker businesses! It really does take a village. That’s why we are Academy of Handmade Artists AND SUPPORTERS. Membership is also open to you. It’s a great way to understand the needs of your clients and better your own business.

CELEBRATING MAKERS: THE AHAS AWARDS & CEREMONY

The signature event of Academy of Handmade is the annual awards ceremony that honors those who are propelling handmade business forward. The awards recognize those who are making an awesome product, building a great business and creating community. This is a recognition by peers (not an internet popularity contest), which is why we limit voting to #ahasmembers and only those who are part of the handmade community can nominate.

Our awards ceremony happens every spring and nominations begin in the new year. Keep checking our awards page for more details on nominations, voting, ceremony date and venue.