Earlier this week, we posted an insightful article on the importance of joining a small business craft community by Andrea Porter of School House Craft. Following that article, we wanted to learn more about School House Craft so we asked Andrea a few questions and wanted to share her response with you today:
Meylah: Please tell us all about School House Craft!
Andrea: School House Craft is a dynamic new three day conference for people wanting to gain the skills to run a successful creative small business. This event will be for artists and crafters of all kinds...those who sell online with Meylah, Etsy, Artfire or elsewhere, those who sell at craft fairs or even those just starting to think of launching a new crafting business.
School House Craft is a place to learn from those that are successful in this industry and to meet others looking for a supportive community! It is going to be held September 23–25 in the Phineey Neighborhood of Seattle. Attendees can purchase one, two or three day tickets and early bird tickets are on sale on our the School House Craft Website.
Meylah: What can attendees expect from the event?
Andrea: We are super excited to combine different learning styles at this event. We really want attendees to walk away from the conference having a list of concrete things they can begin to implement in their business. We will be holding three days of classes lead by some of the most successful small business crafters on the West Coast. Within in each class session there will be interactive session time.
For example, we will be holding a class about how to photograph artwork. The first half of the class will be just that...a class on the best methods for taking good shots. The second half of the class will be a practice session where students will be able to take photos of their own products and the instructor will assist and review the shots with them. In addition to class time we will have social time as we know some of the best ideas come from conversations with other crafters! Oh, and there will be ice cream one night too!
Meylah: Who’s on deck to teach and speak at the event?
Andrea: We cover topics that are always hot like social media, photography, productivity, selling online, but we also have a few stand out classes for example:
Book Publishing your Craft Idea: There are lots and lots of craft books out there these days and many of us are thinking I could do that too! Gary Luke of Sasquatch books will be joining us to talk about how to get a craft book published. The big bonus is that at the end of the class editors from Sasquatch will hear pitches from artists!
Generating Creative Energy: We often hear that gaining business skills is great but how do artist’s keep up with the creative aspect of their line while immersed in the business portion of their venture. We are having Noah Scalin come speak to us about his 365 project in which he created and documented a project every day for one year. He will also us tell stories of others who have followed his lead!
Etsy Shop Review: We are also super excited to have Etsy staff joining us and setting up a booth to review artist’s Etsy shops! Who better to learn from how to improve your sales than the folks at Etsy themselves! We will have a sign up for reviews at the start of each day.
Meylah: Tell us about your team...who are the folks organizing School House Craft?
Andrea: Sure, I'll start with myself. My name is Andrea Porter and along with my husband we owned and operated Bluebottle Art Gallery and Store in Seattle from 2002-2010. Bluebottle built a reputation for being at the forefront of the DIY indie art, craft and design movement. In 2010 with the birth of our son we sold Bluebottle and moved full time to focusing on building the Matthew Porter Art line. The line features my husband's children's books, art prints and gift goodies! I am also on the organizing committee for Grassroots Business Association, which is very similar to this event but held once a month on a specific business topic.
Kristen Rask opened Schmancy Toys in downtown Seattle in 2004. She has written three books, Plush You!:Loveable Misfits to sew and stuff; which is based on an annual show she has at her store which features over a hundred plush artists from around the globe, Creature Crochet and Button and Stitch. Kristen is also the President for Urban Craft Uprising, the largest indie craft show in Seattle. She has curated shows at various galleries in Seattle, NYC and San Francisco.
Danae Horst co-owns and operates Dear Darling Vintage, a shop that specializes in quality vintage goods at affordable prices. Her love of all things vintage also led her to start a jewelry line, Prairie & Pearl, which incorporates vintage trinkets and baubles into classically styled jewelry designs. She also maintains a blog, Everyday Vintage, where she writes about all things vintage. By day, Danae is a bookkeeper, avid cook, and amateur photographer. She lives in a Seattle apartment full of vintage goodness with her husband Bill.
Meylah: What do you all do when you’re not organizing events?
Andrea: I like to say I am my husband's agent as I get to do all the business stuff that he hates to do, but I love. I spend most of my days with our almost one year old son. Having a child forces you, in a good way, to do all the fun things in life that you feel like you never have time for like going to the zoo, the park, buying ice cream cones on a sunny day or just dancing to music in your living room!
Thank you Andrea for the wonderful introduction to School House Craft and good luck with the event this year!