What I Learned at the Next Level Business Workshop

This past October we held our first Next Level Business Workshop, our signature, day-long business event. We're grateful to Jennifer Priest, member and crafty social media renaissance woman at Hydrangea Hippo and Rainmaker Media Works, for writing up her experience about attending the workshop. Our next Next Level Business Workshop takes place on June 21 and will focus on blogging. Make sure to get your tickets by May 1 for an early bird discount or become a member to enjoy $50 off!

We all dream of having a successful business – turning our passions into profits, but, it isn’t as easy as it looks. Sometimes, we just need some good business advice and to hear some success stories to help us stay motivated and get the tools necessary for reaching our next goals. This is where Next Level Business Workshop comes in.

If you’ve ever longed for a mentor, wanted to discuss business with other creative people in a non-stuffy environment, or wondered if there were others out there with a similar passion who have “made it work”, then Next Level Business Workshop is for you.

Academy of Handmade Artists and Supporters rounded up influential and successful indie business owners, event organizers, retail experts, and influencers to share their insights on the world of craft business. The variety of panelists was impressive and all-encompassing: from independent greeting card manufacturers to art directors, from craft fair organizers to writers and podcast hosts, from retail experts to product photographers, there was an expert with a unique perspective and set of opportunities to share and discuss with the attendees.

Attendees got to see real-world examples of the theories and strategies each presenter shared, such as an in-depth look at developing a wholesale catalog with Katie Hunt of Tradeshow Boot Camp. Zak Graff of EnsembleZKG. Dave Conrey of Fresh Rag, and Delilah Snell of Patchwork/Craftcation/A Road Less Traveled shared insights into the world of retail, coaching the group on the full spectrum of retail know- how, from how to approach retailers to carry your products to how to effectively work with retailers to how to identify which retailers are a good fit for your brand and product. Ann Loud shared her years of expertise in working with retailers like Anthropolgie, giving us access to the kind of insider information that’s essential to our success in pursuing relationships with these types of retailers.

Each session wrapped with a question and answer session and then casual networking with the presenters and other attendees over delicious organic drinks, cheese samplers, and snacks.

Between sessions, photographers were available to provide professional headshots and product photography sessions to attendees. Rainbeau Tharp shared lighting tips with artisans who were looking to improve their product photography. Jonathan Ventura used natural light and the beautiful location of The Hub LA to compose a series of professional head shots for each attendee to have on hand for use in their branding and company website.

For each business owner, the takeaways were varied as our businesses are in different places and have different goals. For me, my eyes were opened to opportunities outside of the industry in which I currently work, the Craft & Hobby Association sector of “craft”. Additionally, I was incredibly inspired, by both the presenters and the attendees. I found myself surrounded by passionate, creative, driven, yet caring people, a community filled with positivity. I couldn’t wait to get back home into my studio to create and to start connecting with these new colleagues and friends online.

The day was relaxing but informative, in an inspiring location. I’d definitely attend again! The networking was superb and the value of the sessions was the icing on top. The Academy of Handmade Artists and Supporters did an excellent job of finding panelists and presenters from across the broad spectrum of craft business opportunities, making this one day workshop an extremely great value both monetarily and in terms of time.