My head is spinning as I look over my growing to do list after attending my first Craftcation Conference last weekend in sunny Ventura, CA. I flew down to LA last Wednesday and then drove up to Ventura through nasty rush hour traffic to arrive in the cute little beachside southern Cali town spotted with lush trees. I stayed at a motel only a couple blocks from both the conference (and beach!) and the main drag of Ventura with lots of little restaurants and bars with a fellow SF Etsy jeweler, Camille Ouellette of Camillette. My conference schedule was jam-packed with business classes and a couple of craft workshops just for fun. I found this was a nice way to balance out the business classes without getting overwhelmed and provided a great opportunity to chat with other makers in the craft workshops.
I started the conference learning how to make this resin pendant with Lauren Rudeck of La Ru. The hardest part was picking the image, I ended up going with a carpet pattern I cut out from a magazine. The other tricky part was the drying time, it takes 24 hours to dry, and I sadly tilted mine on the way to lunch afterward, so it spilled a little, but ended up not too be too big of a deal.
After that I got to work with business classes learning how to grow my handmade enameling jewelry business. I took classes on marketing, blogging, selling to retailers, the nitty gritty details on teaching a diy class, something I hope to launch soon with enameling jewelry and so many more. This is where my to do list really expanded.
Some of my fav workshops included Meghan Auman’s presentation on getting your products into stores. Her talk was filled with practical info and it helped that she is also a jeweler so her advice is directly transferable to my business. The last presentation I went to was on SEO (search engine optimization) with Se Reed or Se Reed Media was fantastic. Not only was her presentation packed with useful info, she was filled with energy and weaved in all our questions as she went along.
I also took a cross-stitch laser cut jewelry workshop hosted by MAKE Ventura, a non-profit creative space where members have access to all their fun tools like their laser cutter. Sadly we didn’t get to use the laser cutter in this class, as the pendants had already been laser cut beforehand and we just added the the cross stitch onto them. I’d never cross stitched before, so I spent a bit of time planning out my design, but that wasn’t a problem, it just meant I got to finish my pendant out in the sun along the boardwalk after class.
Even more valuable than all the business info I learned at Craftcation was the wonderful sense of community the conference provides. It was wonderful to be surrounded by so many like-minded crafters and makers trying to turn their passion into a hand-crafted business. It definitely gave me the inspiration to keep growing my business.