Get to know the makers, businesses and faces who are helping us create Midwest Craft Con! Today we meet Olivera Bratich of Wholly Craft, which you can visit on our bus tour and shop with at our trade show!
Megan: How long have you been in the creative scene? How did you get your start?
Olivera: We have been in business just over a decade. When we first opened our doors in 2005, we knew a lot of people who were making fabulous handcrafted goods and struggling to find viable retail outlets. So we stepped in to fill that niche and found a very welcoming audience of customers who were excited to find unique, well-crafted and light-hearted gifts.
Megan: What services do you provide to your community?
Olivera: In addition to the retail shop where we represent handmade goods from over 400 crafters and artists, we host workshops and events throughout the year to encourage folks to make time for creative play and skill building. On our typical event schedule you’ll find introductory level workshops in knitting and crochet, special crafty workshops hosted by favorite local vendors, free monthly skillshare, and Pinterest Parties where participants make fun themed projects.
Wholly Craft is also home to the Supply Closet, a pay-as-you-wish recycled craft supply resource. We accept donations of unused craft supplies throughout the year and offer them up on a pay-as-you-wish basis to the community. A portion of all Supply Closet sales is also donated to Women Crafting Change, a local program of Global Gallery helping women develop marketable craft and business skills.
And finally, we work hard to build meaningful relationships with our vendors and other members of the local craft community. We offer creative business workshops throughout the year to help improve the skill sets of our crafty comrades, and we try to offer valuable feedback to our vendors to help their businesses succeed. Plus we always jump at the chance to support and sponsor local and regional events that help crafters — that’s why we’re a part of the Midwest Craft Con!
Megan: What are you most proud of when it comes to your business?
Olivera: I think I’m most proud of our longevity and our reputation in the craft community. We’ve worked hard to build a sustainable business that offers excellent service to our customers, vendors and staff members. And I think we’re doing alright there. Making money is nice, of course, but I also feel the need to earn the respect of my community.
Megan: What is one big mistake you’d suggest others avoid when entering the handmade arena?
Olivera: Don’t wait until everything is perfect and all lined up correctly because that day will never come. Do the best you can and dive in. You’ll make mistakes along the way, as everyone does, but as long as you’re always willing to learn and grow from them, you’ll be just fine.
Megan: Any big goals for the new year?
Olivera: We’re always scheming and planning big things and this year our list includes building up our regular communication with vendors and finally adding our inventory to our website and launching online sales. We’ve spent a decade focused on the in-person customer experience at Wholly Craft, and I hope we can translate that to a wider audience online.
Megan: What are you most looking forward to at Midwest Craft Con?
Olivera: Meeting all the fantastic fellow handmade business owners and learning from each other. It’s such a great line up of keynotes, speakers, and participants. And I love how interactive it is, too!
Meet Olivera and the Wholly Craft crew at Midwest Craft Con in February!