While Academy of Handmade has six local chapters, we also work to develop a supportive and robust online community with the help of our "online chapter" leaders. They create programming and facilitate our weekly online chats. I am excited to introduce our first Canadian to be part of AHAS leadership! Please say hello and meet Adrienne. :)
Q: Introduce yourself. What do you make and how did you get started?
A: Hi I'm Adrienne and l live in Toronto Canada. I'm the owner and maker behind ReFluff and l make sustainable handmade products for the family. I started my business as a hobby and l soon found it was something that l could do full time. I suffered an accident at work which left me in a position where l couldn't return so it made choosing between my day job and my promising hobby a lot easier.
Q: Tell us about ways you've been working with makers already.
A: I'm a team captain of two Etsy teams which puts me right in the thick of things. I get to meet so many talented makers within my own teams as well as other teams across Canada. I'm also a maker who vends at local and regional shows, both big and small so l'm constantly engaged within the community. I'm an advocate of people chasing their creative dreams and offer advice and encouragement to those who ask. I strongly believe that we are all in this together and by helping other makers we are also helping the community to grow and succeed.
Q: Why do you think having online connections and programming is important?
A: Not all makers are fortunate to live close to other makers or markets and can feel closed off, even isolated from other creatives. Having online programming allows access to a global community of creatives that bring their diverse range of knowledge and skill to help and encourage each other.
What can take hours of online research to solve a problem or source a specific niche supplier can often be solved in minutes through the hive mind of the creative community. It's also a safe place to open up about the struggles and frustrations as well as a place to bounce ideas off of others who have an extensive knowledge in the subject matter.
Running a handmade business means you wear many hats. You either learn how to do something or you pay someone else to do it for you. If you have capital to invest in things such as a graphic designer, web designer, a book keeper then it's not a problem but for most, it's just not something they can't afford in the early days of their business.
Having online programming geared exclusively towards the hand maker allows people to educate and grow in a manner that both works with their schedule and allows them to target a specific aspect of their business.
Q: Share a little about what you love about the handmade community where you live?
A: I'm fortunate to live in an area that is pro arts and has a large creative handmade community. I love that on any given day l can walk out my front door and find handmade at local boutiques, markets, or shop directly from the maker in their studio or their own store.
It's not lost on me how fortunate l am to have access to handmade in its many forms and to the people behind the creations. I'm forever inspired by the makers l meet and the skill and care that they put into their work.
Q: What's your favorite thing about the maker community?
A: Besides meeting a vast amount of inspiring talented makers, my favourite thing is seeing how they hone their craft and make it uniquely their own. There is so much creativity within the maker community and it's exciting for me to see a maker's new and innovative interpretation of a medium.
Q: What's the most important thing makers should remember when running their businesses?
A: Making sure to set limits so you don't burn out and if l can give a second piece of advice it would be to stop comparing yourself and your business to others.
Q: When you have free time, what are you typically doing?
A: Truthfully l spend a lot of time on my business so spare time is limited. When l'm not working l'm making time to visit my friends and family, being creative with my hobbies, exploring new places, and checking out local craft shows.
Q: Where can people find you online?
www.instagram.com/refluffs @refluffs (yes, this is with an "s")