A New Beginning

WHEW! 2016 was quite the year, ammiright? I hope that you’ve had time to rest after the holidays-- or are making time for it right now.

We’ve been making a lot of changes over here and I am excited to share them with you! So, make a hot beverage and get comfortable, this is going to be a long one!

New Partnership

 Meet new Academy of Handmade director Isaac Watson!

Meet new Academy of Handmade director Isaac Watson!

Many of you know that Isaac Watson of Maker’s Nation has been working with Academy of Handmade as a strategic programming partner this year. We mentioned this during The State of Making and he’s been an incredible asset.

I am pleased to announce that Isaac is pivoting his efforts from Maker’s Nation to become a partner with me at Academy of Handmade! Running a community like this is pretty complex-- working with chapter leaders, creating programming, doing marketing, managing memberships, creating content and more! Having an equal partner like Isaac allows for me to focus strategically on the areas I excel in.

Isaac will be helping in many, many ways, but the two most notable will be through a new podcast (more on that below!) and being in charge of chapters (from leaders, to programming to chapter expansions). I CAN NOT WAIT!

New Way to Create Community Conversations

You heard that right-- we are launching a podcast. I know it feels like everyone and their mom has launched one lately and believe me it took careful consideration before we decided this was the right move for us. I should explain a bit more how the podcast fits into our new content strategy.

As Academy of Handmade has come into more of its own, and as the online business landscape itself has shifted, Isaac and I realized that there is a need for going deeper, for creating conversations in the maker community beyond tips and tricks. We want every interaction we have with you to help you love your business more and work ON it (not in it) with confidence.

Which has led us to revamping our newsletter, blog and adding in the podcast. Each month we will focus our communication (and some of our programming and resources) around a theme. Every other week we will explore that theme on either the newsletter or the podcast, with me sending out thoughts in the newsletter and Isaac doing so on the podcast with members and others in our community.

If you’re a member, we’ll also be exploring these topics in a deeper way in our forums, weekly chats, and online and offline programming. It’s a way for us all to be on the same page and focus on a useful idea for our businesses.

This last year has felt an even greater demand on our attention. There are lots of reasons for this, but the bottom line is that we want to make sure we aren’t just trying to force only certain kinds of communication on you (be it newsletter or podcast). We realize people are sometimes too busy for one or prefer one over the other.

We’ve released a podcast episode we’re calling Episode 0 that explains a bit more about it and also let’s you start subscribing to the podcast now so you don’t miss our first official episode (they will drop every other Tuesday).


New and Changing Programming

Bringing Isaac on board and the new focus on monthly themes are probably our two biggest changes. But we have a few more happening that you’ll want to be aware of!

  1. Tweaking Awards Show: The changes this year will have us re-evaluating and tweaking. Usually we have nominations happening in February, but we wanted to roll out our new content approach first. So, look for details on our altered show for this year in the coming months.

  2. Aligning Online Member Programming: Our member forums will explore the month’s theme with weekly discussion prompts, monthly worksheets, online coffee talk chats and our two monthly events will complement the theme.

  3. Aligning Local Chapter Programming: Our local chapters will also have theme-related programming twice a quarter, including worksheets!

  4. Looking for more in-person connections: As you can tell, we are going deeper with our connections and looking for ways to do that in-person is important to do that. One way is our programming partnership with Craftcation this year. Isaac and I are so thrilled to help makers at a conference many of you already know and love! Our focus will be more of the same-- working ON your business (not just in it!).

Join Us on the Journey!

If this sounds like a community you’d like to commit to, you can pre-apply for membership now. Membership opens up on January 31, but there’s not reason to wait to apply (you’ll get connected faster!).

Meet Isaac and the rest of the Academy of Handmade team here.