I got home late Sunday night from the first annual Midwest Craft Con. It was REALLY fun. It'll be good for me to write up a little recap to help me digest and remember everything. Here we go!
It began Friday and it seemed easy enough to fly to Columbus, Ohio but I was wrong. It was very windy in Chicago that day (who knew?!) and my flight was delayed and then cancelled. First I was rebooked to fly through Dallas and then re-rebooked (is that the term?) to go through Charlotte. Long story short, I didn't arrive in time to see the festivities kick off.
I surprised myself and stayed pretty calm through that whole ordeal and of course everything turned out fine. I arrived just in time to see the last few minutes of the opening keynote given by Abby Glassenberg. It sounded like I missed a really great talk.
I should say this first. I'm an introvert. I don't like small talk. I have a hard time introducing myself to new people, etc. But when I go to these events, I try to put on my girl pants and do it anyway. So that's why when the talk was over and people were mingling, I walked right up and sat down next to Abby and introduced myself. We had a great talk and good conversation with the others sitting around the table. My friend Andrea even took this photo of us.
"Make new friends, but keep the old. One is silver and the other's gold." The first day at @midwestcraftcon had some familiar faces and many fresh new ones. It was wonderful to meet so many people I have followed and admired from afar on the Internet. These ladies are all you would hope for and more!
Little did I know at the time but all the people I was chatting with were speakers at the event. I'm glad I didn't know that then. :)
The next day the panels and sessions began. I think I enjoyed the panels the most. They were just question/answer sessions with a few of the main speakers. It was a chance to hear bits of everyone's stories, lessons they've learned, their thoughts about the future of handmade. I just really enjoyed everyone's different but similar perspectives.
I went to sessions about packaging (Talia Halliday), marketing (Tara Swiger), craft book publishing (Kate McKean), and time management (Stephanie Dyke). I met CheyOnna Sewell who started the Yarn Mission which uses yarn to promote action and change to eradicate racism, sexism, and other systems of oppression. I was so impressed with her and the incredible work she is doing in many communities.
Saturday's kenote was given by Lisa Congdon. She had a great talk about sailing your own ship, not worrying about the competition or the critics or anyone else. Work hard, be nice, and do your thing. I love that message.
I had a wonderful lunch with new friends at the North Market and then dinner and drinks with more new friends at the FlatIron. I loved the evening events especially watching the karoke. Here's a look at my new friends Michelle and Elizabeth rocking out.
Goodbye Columbus and @midwestcraftcon! I had an awesome weekend and feel super invigorated to get back to work. Crafty ladies are my favorite people and I met so many good ones. 💖 @justliv1 was a total karaoke champ last night! #blessed that I haven't seen photographic proof of my drunk performance 👀😂 #midwestcraftcon
The next day breakfast was provided and then more sessions and a panel. I attended sessions on finding your tribe (Nikki Jenkins), social media (Mei Pak), and staying in love with your business (Allison Chapman).
It'll take some time for me to pull together all my notes, try out some ideas, and figure out exactly what I learned but here's a few thoughts that stick out to me right now:
- More people are making than ever before and the quality of their work is better than ever.
- Stop undervaluing. Be confident. You are skilled and your work is important.
- We need to be connected to our communities and relevant to our time.
- "Marketing is no longer about the stuff you make. But about the stories you tell." -Seth Godin
Today is the last day of @midwestcraftcon, and thanks to all the amazing speakers and fellow crafters, especially @lisacongdon, I'll be going home happy & hopeful! P.S. the shop is open normal hours today, 12-6!! #midwestcraftcon #indiebiz #indielife #columbus #ohio #lisacongdon #illustration #cats #makersgonnamake
Like Lisa and Elizabeth, I left feeling happy and hopeful. I can't wait to do it all again next year.