2023 Speakers

The fifth edition of Midwest Craft Con, happening March 31 to April 2, 2023, in Columbus, Ohio, is going to be chock-full of craft business experts, and tickets are on sale now!

Keynote Speaker

Our keynote speaker for 2023 is Tonl Lipsey of TL Yarn Crafts. 

Toni LipseyTLYarn-52

Toni Lipsey, the designer and instructor behind TL Yarn Crafts, strives to inspire others’ creativity through online tutorials and modern, approachable crochet patterns. Toni learned to crochet from her mother as a teenager and has been exploring the possibilities of yarn ever since. Her current design obsessions are oversized shawls and modern home decor. When she’s not crocheting, you can find Toni cuddled with her 2 kittens and husband in her Michigan home, binge-watching the latest true-crime thriller on Netflix. Follow her daily crochet journey on Instagram and pick up her book, The Tunisian Crochet Handbook, and patterns on tlyarncrafts.com. @Instagram 


Speakers

Breakout sessions will include expert advice on everything you need to know about running your small business, from marketing and social media to ideas for stoking your creativity

Workshops

Workshops are designed to allow for a creative release from class room style instructions. Attendees can sprinkle it in over the course of the weekend.  


Carriece Jefferson

Chicago, IL | @craftyhandsclubmag

Sessions: Four P’s To Help Crafters Tell Better Stories AND What Crafters Should Do When Pitching Stories to A Podcast or Publication

https://craftyhandsclub.com

Carriece Jefferson is a small business owner, jewelry artist, and instructor. As the founder of Crafty Hands Club, an e-commerce store, Carriece is known for creating simple and cute DIY jewelry kits that can be made in five simple steps. She has taught jewelry making at various organizations, including Mercy Boys & Girls Club and Loom Chicago. She has been featured in Chicago’s Southside Makers Faire. She’s married and enjoys traveling, culture, reading, and writing!


Jessica Schaefer

Pittsburgh, PA | @thebirdandthebeard

Workshop: Yoga for Crafters Workshop

thebirdandthebeard.com

Jessica is a Pittsburgh native and graduate of Edinboro University’s Graphic Design program.

In 2013, she launched, The Bird and the Beard, a line of chemistry-themed greeting cards based on the Periodic Table of the Elements, with husband Karl, and have since expanded their academic themes to include BASIC computer programming, binary code, and math equations.

Her cards have been featured on several international blogs including Huffington Post and can be found in independent stationery shops across the United States and Canada. Her wedding products have been featured on BuzzFeed, various wedding blogs, and in trade magazines such as Stationery Trends. 


Kathleen Dignan

Denver, CO

Session: Continuous (Handmade) Product Discovery

https://katedignan.com/

Whether instructing children crafts in a Denver Public Library class, working in a hospital to improve onboarding and information flow, or helping online businesses improve their customer’s user experience, I enjoy creating things or thinking about how to improve what exists. My background in education informs how I help businesses understand the best way to make information consumable to their audience. My experience in UX design allows me to synthesize the user’s perspective, as well as how to respond effectively through design, development and effective problem-solving. My years in niche roles that required me to wear many hats prepared me for the product management lifecycle and Agile methodology. My background in front end development and WordPress creates the final piece of the process – making design suggestions into actionables, thus allowing me to be a value-add to a team at every step of the design process. Learn more about my work!


La’Asia Johnson

Flint, MI | @ellejaeessentials

Session: How to Scale your production

https://ellejaeessentials.com/

Diagnosed with Crohn’s Disease In 2008, I suffered from several infections and skin conditions. Medications, Creams and ointments prescribed were not effective in treating my skin and/or made my reactions worse.

Finding products that were safe and trustworthy to use became quite difficult & made me increasingly frustrated. So I decided to change my narrative and create things for myself! Elle Jae Essentials was founded in 2017 and has continued to grow and blossom.

Since 2017, I have gone on to win multiple pitch competitions, hire a team of staff, and open the only Skincare Boutique in Flint, MI.  My purpose is to create skincare products women don’t have to second guess when using.

As a company, We are dedicated to providing all-natural skincare products for those with sensitive skin who want a healthy, natural alternative to toxic mainstream products! Our products are cruelty-free, vegan friendly, and use clean ingredients that are safe for women.

As the #1 skincare brand on the internet, we guarantee continuous changes in our product assortment, ever-improving product quality, and transparency with our process.


Lauren Venell

Chicago, IL | @maydelcraft

Session: Ethical & Sustainable Sourcing

https://maydel.com

Maydel was founded by Lauren Venell, a 20-year veteran crafter, teacher, and designer. After recovering from a too-long stint in Silicon Valley she is thrilled to be back within her chosen community and to be building something meaningful within the great city of Chicago.


Lucy Kelly

Pittsburgh, PA | @bloombybelmonili

Sessions: Content pillars for Makers AND Time Management for Makers

www.bloombybelmonili.com

A lifelong crafty gal: lover of all things colorful, vintage, funky, and fun. I believe in whimsy, wonder and that the journey should be just as fun – if not more! – than the destination. 

Oh, and I’m not even sorry about loving pumpkin spice coffee ALL YEAR LONG.

11 years ago, I took a few crafting classes with the hopes that I’d keep my hands busy and snackless (oh, the wistful, rational thinking of a 20-something). 
 
It didn’t work. I still snack (I never met a block of cheddar cheese and a pack of crackers I didn’t like!)… 
 
… But now I do it as the owner of a 6-figure handmade jewelry business — bel monili — that travels around the country (in non-pandemic times) and has been featured in national publications such as Country Living Magazine.


Mallory Whitfield

New Orleans, LA | @BadassCreatives

Sessions: 5 Ways to Market Your Business WITHOUT Social Media AND 5 Things I Wish I’d Known When I Started My Crafty Biz

https://www.badasscreatives.com/

Based in New Orleans, Mallory is an artist, speaker, and author of How to Make Money at Craft Shows and We Are The Weird Ones: Embrace Your Weird for a Kinder, More Inclusive World.

By day, she works in digital marketing, specializing in SEO, email marketing, and content marketing. As an Adjunct Professor for Tulane University’s School of Professional Advancement, she has taught and developed classes on digital marketing.

Her favorite costume moments include dressing as Cher, David Bowie, and a cassowary, the world’s deadliest bird.


Natalie Keller Pariano

Columbus, OH • Instagram 

Workshop: Hand Lettering Hacks

http://www.natterdoodle.com

Natalie Keller Pariano, Nat or NatKP or Natterdoodles, is lettering artist & Chief Sprinkler of Positivity Confetti of NatterDoodle, based in Columbus, Ohio. People call her the Kimmy Schmidt of paper because she is all about what’s colorful, quirky, inclusive and ultimately, FUN! Her greatest loves are Confetti (both the paper substance and her rescue puppy whose full name is Confetti-cine Alfredo), musical theatre, theme parties, exploring creativity & art, travel, and creating brave & fun spaces for women!


Olivera Bratich

Columbus, OH | @wildcat_gift_and_party

Session: How to Make Love to Your Customers

wildcatgiftandparty.com

Olivera Bratich is a terrible crafter. She has very little artistic ability and even less patience with the creative process. Because of this, she has a deep respect and admiration for makers and works hard help handmade businesses succeed. She has owned and operated the super-fun handmade gift store Wild Cat, formerly Wholly Craft, for over a decade. Wild Cat features handmade goods from more than 400 crafters, artists and independent designers and offers workshops, parties, and events designed to help everyone get in touch with their creative side (whether or not they are any good at crafting). In addition to keeping the shop, Olivera is a community organizer, cake lover and mother to a rambunctious toddler.


Tabitha Harper

Milford, Ohio | @mcharpermanor

Session: So you want to teach a workshop: A deep dive into teaching your craft or skill.

mcharpermanor.com

Tabitha Harper, has 4 beautiful kids, lots of fur babies, and a slew of creativity! Hewr blended family is much like a modern Brady bunch; a little “his, mine and ours”. Their McClung kiddos and Harper kids are equally important, and thier family is often lovingly referred to as “The McHarpers”. She hopes that her studio always portrays the close-knit and nurturing vibe of her clan, as she hopes to share her family’s love of art, learning, and creativity with you and yours.

Her studio has become a place for local artists to teach their skills and for students of all ages with a passion for creativity to learn something new. She truly believes in the transformative power of visual arts and craft experiences and try to cover many mediums to engage and inspire people everywhere. Incredible experiences, enhanced skills, and community come from these collaborations. With the right environment and instruction, we can all make beautiful things. She can’t wait to create something amazing with you soon.


Stacy Wong

Manhattan Beach, CA | @stacywonghandmade

Workshop: Modern Moss Art

stacywonghandmade.com

Stacy Wong considers herself a “California Midwesterner” as she was born and raised in Michigan and currently lives in southern California. Design and creating have always been a part of her life. She’s a lifelong collector, maker, creative, and inspired by all types and styles of art. Stacy left corporate human resources to pursue her creative journey and businesses fulltime, including owning and curating an online boutique featuring undiscovered makers and handmade gifts.  

Stacy loves making the world a better place by creating beautiful things and her products are enjoyed by customers worldwide and sold in shops and plant boutiques throughout the US.  Her new Plant Art Markers were recently featured in the LA Times Holiday Gift Guide and in the upcoming gardening edition of Uppercase Magazine. 

Since 2015, Stacy has taught numerous creative-making workshops in a variety of mediums as a way to give back and share with the community. She’s passionate about teaching multi-cultural and multi-generational students – exposing them to new art forms and techniques. 


When is Midwest Craft Con returning?

Crafting your own adventure at Midwest Craft Con will start on March 31 – April 2, 2023 in Columbus, Ohio at the Columbus Museum of Art!

If you haven’t been to our conference, prepare yourself for a an endless weekend filled with pom poms and googly eyes, while you build your creative business. Get ready for our keynotes to fill you with inspiration, meet your creative heroes you admire online, and prepare to see colleagues you only see across the aisle at festivals.  Make new friends who help provide the extra drive you need to keep your business growing, long after the conference has ended.

Tickets now on sale with day passes and scholarship coming in the new year!

Members receive a discounted price, promotions and connection online.