Meet the Organizer: Brit Charek

The organizers of Midwest Craft Con have been involved in the indie craft scene for years, and chances are you’ve seen them around Ohio! Last week we met Megan Green, and this week we meet organizer Brit Charek.

So who are you? 

I’m a person who wears many hats. I’m the Executive Director of Crafty Mart and I also serve as the Board President (#startuplife). I also teach High School English full time, and am mommy to a first grader. Before settling down, I checked a lot off my bucket list: I’ve lived on the West Coast and the Gold Coast, piloted single engine aircrafts, been that girl at every single punk rock show, traveled to Europe and South America, and had just about any job you can think of– from serving beers at 7am at a Chicago pub during the World Cup to teaching the deaf how to ride a snowboard.

How’d you get involved in the craft world?

Like Megan, I’m a mompreneur. I opened my Etsy shop in 2009, not too long after the birth of my son. I started out by selling vintage, which eventually led to craftier endeavors. I took over Crafty Mart, an Akron, Ohio bi-annual handmade market, in 2012, which makes me the newbie in the CraftCon organizer posse, but I’m always encouraged by the positive response I get from my partners as well as from veterans in the field when I reach out for advice.
FullSizeRender(My 6yo with his favorite Crafty Mart find from The Nerd Stitch Shop)

What’s the first crafty thing you ever remember selling?

I totally made hemp necklaces to trade and sell in junior high. Haha!

Who in the craft business world would you love to get a drink with? 

I’d love to kick it with those sisters from A Beautiful Mess. My punk rock teenage self would be disappointed that I’m a fan of something so cutesy, but what can I say? I adore them.

What book(s) would you recommend most to creative businesspeople?

For those in the business of writing and content creation, I’d highly recommend Bird by Bird by Ann Lamott. It made me laugh out loud meanwhile teaching me everything I didn’t know that I needed to know about the writing process.
I just started Duct Tape Marketing by John Jantsch. If the rest of the book is as realistic about the needs and limitations of small businesses as the first chapter is, it’s a must-read for all creative entrepreneurs.
When I think about books that actually inspired me to be creative, the first thing that comes to mind is Kim Cooper’s recounting of the creation of Neutral Milk Hotel’s In The Aeroplane Over The Sea for the 33 1/3 series originally published by Continuum and now by Blumsbury. The takeaway: all you really need to make great art is to make time to be with other creatives. If you’re at all a music nerd, I highly recommend browsing through this series of books inspired by some of the most influential albums of all time.

What are you looking forward to most about Midwest Craft Con?

I have a lot of crafty friends in other cities that I might have met once or twice when I was in town for a show, and now I feel pretty close to them from following them on social media. I’m looking forward to real life conversations with all of them!
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