The State of Making 2016
Six sessions of everything you need to know about the state of the maker economy!
In partnership with our friends at Aftcra.
NOTE: This event has already taken place and we just converted it for purchase as a course. We will be updating this page shortly to reflect that the summit is over.
The days are long but the YEARs are short.
They say this about having children, but it also applies to having a business baby. *REALLY* understanding what happened in your business and the entire environment it was living in over a year can be kind of hard to do. Social media, craft shows, wholesale, Etsy... keeping track of all of the changes can make your head spin.
In order to chart the course for our businesses for the holidays and beyond, we are taking a look back with experts, insiders and makers to help us understand what's next. That's why we hosted the first-ever The State of Making online summit back in September.
During the summit we covered:
- Changes on Etsy
- Ecommerce (including Shopify and WooCommerce)
- Trends in wholesale
- The craft show landscape
- New social media and features
- How two makers have weathered the ups and downs of this last year
Want to go into the holidays prepared for whatever is coming your way? We assembled 13 panelists for a deep dive into the year before and thoughts on the one ahead.
All sessions have been recorded already and are available to watch as replays for a fee. As a bonus, you will also receive five bonus worksheets! #ahasmembers are able to watch the recordings for free. If you are a member please email us for details or check the forums for more information.
Session 1: The State of Etsy
We start the summit off with a whole day devoted to the platform that's practically synonymous with handmade: Etsy. By far the biggest "elephant" in the handmade selling sphere. It's where the vast majority of makers get their start. And it's made some pretty big changes since the 2015 holiday season (Pattern and new shop layouts to name two!).
This session will talk with Etsy expert Danielle Spurge and maker Michelle Baines about how they and other makers have weathered Etsy's changes, what trends they've noticed and what they see in the future for the holiday season. Both have run successful Etsy shops and Danielle has helped hundreds of makers do the same!
DANIELLE SPURGE, The Merriweather Council
Danielle is a crafter and craft business consultant to handmade shop owners who want to optimize and leverage their work, and build better brands and businesses. On her blog, The Merriweather Council Blog, Danielle writes to inspire and support makers in business and share insights from her five+ years of experience selling handmade work online. Danielle believes that a creative life is a happy life and works to empower creatives to share their work with confidence. She is also the winner of the 2016 AHAS Award for Best Supporting Business. More info can be found at merriweathercouncil.com
Michelle Baines, Four Letter Word Cards
Four Letter Word Cards was started November 1st, 2014 on Etsy. 6600 sales later, we're now in our second full year and business is continually growing. Etsy has allowed the dream of a full time business to come to fruition.
Session 2: The State of Ecommerce
Shopify, Woocommerce, Amazon Handmade, Aftcra and more. We look at the ways you can sell your product without being on Etsy and what the future of these outlets are as Etsy's platform changes. Arianne and Jeff will share their knowledge as designers who help indie businesses establish an online presence. They have great insight into what tools and resources are available to makers to make 2017 the best yet!
Arianne Foulks, Aeolidia
Arianne Foulks is captain and founder of Aeolidia, a web and graphic design studio that has been working with creative, design-oriented shops since 2004. Aeolidia serves those at early stages on their path with an informative blog and supportive community, and meets established businesses at that tipping point where strategic design can be transformative and cause exponential growth.
Jeff Daigle, Denver Business Design consulting (#AHASMEMBER)
I'm the founder of Denver Business Design Consulting, which helps Artists, Makers, and Small Businesses focus on growing their businesses by doing what they love. dbdc provides Branding, Marketing Strategy, and WordPress Website & Woocommerce Online Store design and development that make our clients' businesses more efficient and more effective, leaving our clients with more time to spend on what they started their business to do in the first place.
session 3: THE STATE OF WHOLESALE & TRADE SHOWS
Our wholesale powerhouse duo includes a retailer, two product line owners, an author on wholesale and a wholesale coach. Wait... that feels like more than two people. Yet that's all the experience and knowledge we are getting from Lela and Adrienne. They've got every inch of wholesale covered-- including trade shows. We'll pick their brains about changing retailer expectations, business trends and how to ready yourself for the changes ahead.
Lela Barker, Lucky Break Consulting (#AHASmember)
I've been a full-maker since 2003, bootstrapping my little apothecary brand to 1300 wholesale accounts and a robust international distribution network. In 2012, I launched a consulting company designed to share my hard-won lessons and support emerging creative brands. I've had the pleasure of helping hundreds of product-based entrepreneurs navigate pricing, wholesale strategy, and brand development. Though these are often the "less sexy" facets of running a business, they're foundation of every successful creative brand and a critical component of sustainable success!
Adrienne Wiley, Adventures in Wholesale (#AHASMEMBER)
As the owner of Frolick Jewelry, wholesale and tradeshows generate the majority of my businesses revenue. There's a lot to learn as you launch into wholesale, and I share all of the tips and best practices I've learned along the way in my book, Adventures in Wholesale".
session 4: The State of Craft Shows
The landscape of shows has changed quite a bit in the last year with Renegade become a national powerhouse. Has their ubiquity changed who is shopping at them? Lessened their uniqueness? Or opened up new markets for more and more sellers? We talk with TWO regional craft show producers-- Indie Craft Parade in the South and Jackalope Art Fair in the West-- to see what is happening on the ground with shows. What changes are they making to their shows? You'll find out!
Lib Ramos, Indie Craft Parade
The Makers Collective is a non-profit arts organization with the mission of empowering creative entrepreneurs while cultivating a supportive community around them. Makers Collective hosts annual events in Greenville, SC, including Indie Craft Parade and The Makers Summit.
Laura Fischer, Jackalope Art Fair
Laura is Co-Founder of Jackalope Arts, hosting the Jackalope Art & Craft Fair in Pasadena, CA, Denver, CO & Phoenix, AZ. The fairs include over 150 artisans with strictly handmade goods and provides a platform for the community to meet the maker behind these one of a kind goods. Jackalope Arts is helping to boost the handmade, shop local economy and mentality with every event.
Session 5: State of Social Media & Email
Oh man, we could just spend the whole session on Instagram... right? But in other social media news, Facebook Groups seemed to blossom this year, Twitter continued to struggle, Periscope came then went, and Pinterest "strategies" were really a big deal. This session will examine how makers can continue to adapt to and anticipate changes on social media and email in the next few months.
You won't want to miss hearing from Tara who has a lot of perspective as someone who owned her own yarn business and has also helped hundreds of artists with their social media presence and marketing. And maker Robin has really grown her business and honed her social media game this year. Two great perspectives!
Tara swiger, Tara swiger
Tara Swiger helps makers and artists build sustainable, love-able businesses and become their own best business expert. Tara has taught around the world at conferences, trade shows, and fiber festivals. Her book, Market Yourself, was published by Cooperative Press in 2012. on the weekly podcast, Explore Your Enthusiasm, she explores non-gross marketing, personable social media, profitable pricing, and workdays that work for you.
Robin Soltis, Scotch & Cream (#AHASMEMBER)
Scotch & Cream is a Los Angeles based paper and design brand inspired by the nostalgic and timeless style of the elegant past from art-deco to mid-century. Through social media, we have had customers find and buy from us. We use it to communicate our story to our followers through unique mediums, and we've met great contacts, built relationships, and receive feedback from our audience.
SeSSION 6: The Maker Perspective
Two makers-- one creating a new business in 2015 and one who is a veteran Etsy seller-- share the journey they have been on over the last year.
Forgotten Cotton began on Etsy and has thrived there-- allowing the husband-and-wife team to do the business full time. They also took the leap into Handmade at Amazon and found a following there.
After closing the doors of a challenging business, Annika opened a new shop, selling completely different items with purpose and intention. And she is flipping nailing it. Her website is now her money maker, but all of the time and effort she spent building her Etsy presence is still reaping lots of benefits. You'll want to hear her approach and how her business and Forgotten Cotton's are both able to thrive even with different business models.
Elizabeth Rappa, Forgotten Cotton
Elizabeth runs ForgottenCotton full time with the love of her life John in scenic North Western Wyoming. Together they make irresistible women's fashion accessories. Over the past year they have continued to grow their business by focusing on diversifying their revenue with the addition of Amazon Handmade and expanding their customization options for customers.
Annika Benitz Chaloff, Married & Bright
Married and Bright is a line of handmade lingerie designed to make women feel wonderful about their bodies and themselves. This business was borne out of the ashes of a previous failed one -- I repurposed my materials, experience, and doubled down on my education when I decided to open a new handmade business. I wanted to start a business that had a greater purpose than to just make money, so I decided to produce a product that evokes a sense of fun, playfulness, and confidence. The last 18 months have sent me on a huge learning curve, and one of my most recent conclusions is that my first business' closing had nothing to do with the business itself, but rather my approach to it.