Mixing Business with Pleasure: Our Craftcation Experience

The funny thing about organizing a creative conference is that you don’t get to experience it like your attendees do. For that reason, Megan and I decided to splurge on tickets to Craftcation in Ventura, Calif., this year.

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Believe it or not, I’m not always the most outgoing person. The idea of spending a weekend with 400 people I don’t know isn’t really my idea of a vacation. I’m more of a hide-in-a-big-city or get-a-cabin-in-the-woods kind of girl. That said, I was relieved to recognize the first person I saw at the conference! Working the registration table was Isaac Watson, who I had connected with electronically via Maker’s Nation a few years back, and he noticed my Midwest Craft Con T-shirt and gave us the warmest welcome and made us feel like instant insiders.

The business classes were amazing. I was so excited to learn from Kiffanie Stahle and Mei Pak, who I had missed at the last Midwest Craft Con because I was too busy running the conference. Unfortunately, I didn’t get to see Allison Rosen speak, but I did get to see her take Megan down during Iron Craft America!

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“And the secret ingredient is… PIPECLEANERS!”

As a craft show organizer, I learned some great tips about writing newsletters, best practices for adapting and using contracts, how to pitch to sponsors, automate processes and more. Since the conference was geared towards makers, I think the biggest takeaway for me was to understand all my vendors’ pain points. This is so important for my work at Crafty Mart and Midwest Craft Con, where it’s part of our mission to serve the greater maker community.

In addition to the entrepreneurial programming, Craftcation offers DIY craft classes, too. Some folks in attendance were hobbyists who don’t have any desire to run a handmade business and just came out to make things all day. I almost forgot how fun it is to just make things for the pleasure of it! I made tassels, hand-painted beaded necklaces, and a hand-stamped and -stitched leather business card holder that may or may not be able to hold a business card.

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“It’s a prototype,” said my new friend Liz of Assembly PDX.

I was so glad I made the extra effort and paid a little more to stay on site. Happy hour at the Marriott was full of Craftcationers excited about what they learned and made throughout the day, and I met a few new BFFs in the hot tub in the evenings despite the culture gap between here and Alberta. (#craftistheuniverallanguage!)

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Ventura Beach is just steps away from the Marriott.

Other epic takeaways: I walked on the beach each day, made it to multiple yoga classes and ate at In-N-Out Burger (across the street!) twice. This creative life is all about balance, right?

Megan wrote about her experience at Craftcation on the Craftin’ Outlaws blog, so make sure to check that out! (Notice the URL — the devil is in the details!) Apparently she loves to go on vacation with 400 strangers, as long as they’re crafty, of course, so her point of view is a little different than mine, which made her the perfect roommate. (Crafty friends FTW!)

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The Get Lucky Lounge was spot on with their design and decor, but everything is better with googly eyes — amiright?!

Meanwhile, Grace is busy getting settled in to her new life in Berlin. Look forward to her blogging about some of her creative adventures abroad soon!

We’re working on plans for Midwest Craft Con 2018, so make sure you’re on our newsletter list to be among the first to hear about next year’s lineup and get access to early bird tickets!

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