When we first started plotting and planning Midwest Craft Con, we three organizers had a unified vision to create an environment for makers that would provide an educational experience unique to our handmade world while building up our community.
To put it simply and to steal a phrase that was on a sticker and slid across a table to me on the last day, Midwest Craft Con was “DIY as F^@#.” (Uncensored sticker credit given to Betty Floored of Toledo.)
Midwest Craft Con was a labor of love. We hacked our way through contracts of the abbreviated variety: LLC’s, AV (audiovisual), F&B (food and beverage). Tweaking, editing, cutting and revising our budget spreadsheet was the mother of all chores. Navigating proposals and sponsorship agreements were responsibilities I have executed for years through craft show organization, but nothing could have prepared me for how engrossing this project became or how rewarding the results felt.
I consider Midwest Craft Con to be a highlight of my handmade career, and I am so grateful to everyone who played a part.
So now that I have had a moment to reflect, I wish to thank everyone who attended Midwest Craft Con. Everyone who bought a ticket, volunteered, won a scholarship or was a guest of ours for the weekend — all of you. Thank you for giving us the gift of community that we’ve been lacking here in the Midwest. Thank you for being creative and dedicated in your craft.
To our sponsors, I thank you for your support of Midwest Craft Con. Your patronage allowed us to create fun and engaging opportunities and experiences. Working together we helped build new partnerships and relationships. Thank you for letting us expose your world to other creatives who appreciate your work.
To our keynote speakers and presenters who took a weekend away from their own businesses to share their insight and personal stories with us: I can’t thank you enough. I spent many hours “doing my homework” by listening to your podcasts, scouring your websites and blogs for inspiration. Thank you for being an ongoing source of knowledge and for being so approachable.
To Brit and Grace, who taught me so very much. Working beside two highly motivated, extremely talented, driven, educated, gifted organizers whose passion is on the same level as mine was a luxury I have never experienced. You both continue to push me to be better and work harder. Thanks for all the laughs, drinks and text messages.
While I did not have a chance to sit in on all the panels and sessions I wanted, I can’t help but feel the ones I did sit in on were the ones I needed. Annal Vyas will help me keep myself accountable and keep my legal contracts on the up and up. Allison Chapman reignited the passion in my handmade business to keep me motivated when I’d like to call it quits. Handmade Arcade showed me how to work with vendors to create great booth displays. And if possible, I would like 5 minutes of Tara Swiger in my day every day.
I hope the sessions you experienced were what you needed and that you make the time to put those lessons into your handmade business. And if you are ever in doubt, remember you are DIY as F^@#.
We’ll be announcing dates for Midwest Craft Con 2017 soon! Be sure to sign up for our newsletter to be the first to know about it.