Talia Halliday on Finding Your Tribe

Talia Halliday is the owner of Conduit Press, an arts business specializing in hollow books and leather goods. Her hollow books can be found exclusively through Uncommon Goods and her leatherwork can be found at over 50 stores in nearly all 50 states. Halliday also organizes the Bloomington Handmade Market, an indie craft show in its seventh year in Bloomington, IN, with the help of a few very entitled and opinionated minions. Beyond that, most recently Talia decided she wasn’t being quite masochistic enough and opened up her own brick and mortar shop called Gather in downtown Bloomington in fall 2014. Gather is home to nearly 200 makers from across the Midwest and beyond and continues to grow by the day. In her spare time (oh, yes, there is spare time), Talia enjoys hanging out with her crafty cohorts, spending time with her loving and adorable family, and making plans to take over the world — or at least Bloomington.

At Midwest Craft Con, she’ll be teaching: Wholesale Like a Pro, and Packaging for Retail.

Why do you do what you do?

Ha! That’s a great question! Because I’m crazy and have to be my own boss. Because I’m a control-freak and have to be my own boss. Because I Love to make things and if I can make money doing that, then great. Because I need the freedom to stay home with my family when I want to, and the consistency of having a “day job” to remain sane (thus, a shop). I’m not very good at answering this question. Let’s try again. I do what I do because I want to. There.

What’s your earliest crafty memory?

Making “rule” books during my elementary school years with the various secret clubs the neighborhood kids and myself were involved in. These mostly involved stapled together pieces of paper with badly drawn Crayola marker illustrations paired with bullet lists of rules we made up on the fly. Because we were cool. I also made a lot of “things” with my gramma, who was known for her cement ducks wearing awesome outfits in her front yard each season.

What crafty personality would you most like to get a drink with?

I’m pretty down with getting a drink with any crafty personality.

What advice would you go back and give your younger self?

Don’t question yourself, just do it. When I first started my craft business, I worked (likely too) hard trying to make a cohesive line of work that made sense together — and I think that stifled my creativity rather than helped it to blossom. When I was trying to fill my Etsy shop, I waited until I had loads of things to list, instead of just listing them as I made them. Which was just silly. I also tend toward one-off items, and I think if I had it to do over again, I would have worked at creating items that could be (more easily) recreated, instead of creating one of a kind items each and every time.

What’s your favorite craft business book?

The Handmade Marketplace by Kari Chapin — it really pushed me toward cultivating our own creative tribe, so to speak. Reading about all these cool people who sort of knew each other made me envious and motivated to create our own. Which we did.

How did you get where you are today, in 10 words or less? 

Hard work. No fear. Jumping in. Not looking back.

What are your goals for 2016?

For Conduit Press, I’d like for my craft business to grow into at least 50 new stores and get an online presence more than just Etsy. For Gather, I’d like to see our sales increase by another 25 percent, our offerings for classes to become more diverse, and for us to be more involved in our community.

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