We are always interested in hearing about workshops and conference geared toward makers. When we heard about the inaugural Nearly Impossible Conference last year, we were intrigued! This year they expanded to hold the conference on both coasts: one in NYC and one in San Francisco. We were incredibly bummed to not be able to make it to the conference. Lucky for us, Yvonne of Cardtorial agreed to fill is in on all the details from the SF conference.
Q: Introduce yourself!
A: My name is Yvonne, founder of Cardtorial. Almost three years ago, I began making wooden greeting cards. I've since quit my day job to work on Cardtorial full-time, designing and crafting our line of fun wooden goods with my team.
Q: How did you hear about Nearly Impossible Conference?
A: I first heard about Nearly Impossible after seeing one of the talks from last year's conference in New York. I also follow a number of this year's speakers via social media and the name sunk in that way too.
Q: Why did you decide to apply?
A: As many makers know, the life of a small business owner can sometimes be quite isolating. I work in a small studio with sometimes minimal real life interaction. I wanted the opportunity to connect with others / get out of my studio and feel inspired. I find that I shy away from these opportunities because they're outside of my comfort zone yet I'm usually pumped after going.
Q: Who is it good for (and who is it not)?
A: This particular conference was geared toward creative businesses creating products and the workshops reflected that. More practical talks included using Instagram for a product-based business and managing inventory and forecasting. The broader, and for me, most meaningful talks touched upon the difficulties of building this kind of business -- those talks, I'm sure would be relevant for any creative professional. Whether or not you're contemplating launching a business venture or are a seasoned vet (and there were a number of well-established businesses there), I think it's a great place to meet with like-minded people and get the perspective of businesses at various points in their development.
Q: What surprising information did you learn?
A: It's always interesting meeting the people behind the brand. I was completely impressed by how down-to-earth and open people in the creative community are with both their triumphs and struggles.
Q: What was the conference like?
A: A mix of panels & speakers. We had an "expert lab" which consisted of a 15 minute one-on-one with an industry expert and one semi-interactive session on naming a business / product which, for me, was less instructive than the speakers. Oh, and a mixer at the end. The day went by pretty quickly.
Q: What was the most valuable piece of information?
A: Jen Gotch had a great talk about building her brand, Ban.do. She had a slide that said, "focus on top level shit." Often times, it's easiest to do the tasks you can easily tick off your to do list. I find myself doing this all the time -- it makes me feel productive. Really, I should probably be focusing on doing the things that nobody else can or will do for Cardtorial (aka -- high level stuff). Of course, these are the tasks that require me to be the most proactive, thoughtful, and persistent.
A few weeks ago I read The 4-Hour Work Week by Tim Ferriss. As a small business owner, there seems to be a never ending to-do list and I wanted to learn how to manage that / the feeling of overwhelm better. This book is all about efficiency and outsourcing and I think goes well with the message of focusing on what's important.
Q: Did you think it was worth the price?
Q: Where can people find your stuff?
A: Online at cardtorial.com. At a number of boutiques and stores across the nation (and globe!).