I am ecstatic to announce two new leaders in the AHAS community, as well as new positions they are filling. Because Los Angeles is so large geographically, we are now creating "subchapters" where we will focus on making sure we have about six events a year for areas that have a high concentration of members. The first subchapter we are introducing is for the South Bay/Long Beach. Two stellar members that are highly invested in this region are helming the subchapter and I am so excited for you all to meet them!
Q: Introduce yourself. What do you make and how did you get started?
Jenét: My name is Jenét (sounds like Je-nay) Morrow. My biz is FMD Jewelry and I make, take a wild guess, jewelry. I started making jewelry as a way to put some of my excess creative energy to good use.
Christina: Hi! I'm Christina Wennstrom, Maker & Founder of Soap Seas. I make soap & bath products inspired by the Sea. I have a pure joy for the sea living here in Redondo Beach. I had to share my enthusiasm! My brand is built on the happiness I have for where I live, and I want people to connect with that. I started my business in 2015 when I got such an encouraging response after I made over 150 soaps for my sister's wedding. Everyone gave me big positive feedback and the support was huge! I felt so driven to bring my brand and biz to fruition.
Q: Tell us about ways you've been working with makers already?
Jenét: I mostly support makers buy supporting their shops: i.e. I buy stuff. I also love to share my indie favorites via social media. Looking forward to doing more for local makers as co-lead of the AHAS South Bay/Long Beach Chapter.
Christina: I am constantly engaging with my community here in South Bay. I always want to stay connected on the growth that is the maker tribe here! I joined local farmers markets in Palos Verdes and Artist's Market at the Village Garden where I've met other makers that now have become my friends. We have done shows together ( Jackalope! YAY!) and we touch base with one another on ideas, leads on new shows, quick tips, and more. Through meeting makers in the community, I now have filled my days with more creative outlets. I meet fellow artists at local art shows, gallery openings, and workshops. Not only does having a maker community help with business, it allows us to feel free in social settings yet we share a common thread that only makers can relate to. I love my maker squad!
Q: Why are you excited to start the Academy of Handmade chapter in LA/South Bay?
Jenét: I know there are a lot of makers in Long Beach and I'm so looking to getting to know them. I want to help them find the resources they need to be successful.
Christina: I'm such a cheerleader for the South Bay here! I love meeting new people,seeing what they are about, and learning from them. It is the vibe living here that is so friendly, I just thrive in it.
Q: Share a little about what you love about the handmade community in LA/South Bay.
Jenét: I love the artistic and creative vibe in Long Beach. It's urban yet beachy which I find very unique.
Christina: We love to connect here. Everyone is always warm and friendly and the relationships I've built here have grown so much in such a short time. Walking down the block you will always have someone give you a pleasant greeting, or say hello, or good morning! You never run out of support or friends here, and I absolutely adore South Bay.
Q: What's your favorite thing about LA/South Bay?
Jenét: My favorite thing about Long Beach is the diversity. Another thing that is unique to Long Beach.
Christina: The vibe. Feel good attitude all the way! You can't help but be positive here, and that is key when you are creating!
Q: What's the most important thing makers should remember when running their businesses?
Jenét: Take care of yourself. Running a business is stressful. Get your "me" time in.
Christina: Have fun in all that you do. The process and journey build the story, and jumping to the end of the story is no fun! I look back at all the friendships, connections, contacts, support, and energy I've made just by being open to letting people in and having fun with it.
Q: Where can people find you online?
AHAS has chapters in Los Angeles, Orange County, San Diego, San Francisco, Seattle and Austin. If you are interested in getting connected with other makers in your area and/or bringing a chapter to your local community, sign up for our chapters mailing list here.