Meet our Speakers in 1-on-1 Office Hours

purposefully restored
Image credit: Purposefully Restored

As Midwest Craft Con approaches, you’ve probably spent some time reviewing our our schedule and plotting which sessions you’ll attend. Our craft business speakers will share their knowledge with you in 1.5-hour breakout sessions that include Q&A time. Many of our speakers also post their notes or slides in the private Facebook group afterward, and our attendees often make their notes available to swap if you have to make tough decisions about which sessions to attend.

In addition to our breakout classes, our generous speakers and community sponsors are offering Office Hours during the con as well. These are 10- to 20-minute consultations and advice sessions that you can sign up for at the con.

Each day we’ll post a new list of speakers offering one-on-one time within the trade show — signups will be available on a first-come first-served basis. You simply write down your name in the time slot and then meet with your coach in the lobby. We will have reserved tables marked for these meetups.

One-on-ones will include sessions with:

  • Mei Pak, who can assist you with social media critiques.
  • Let Olivera Bratich who owns Wholly Craft and Surprise gaze into her crystal ball to tell you your business fortune!
  • Ask our resident account, Allison Rosen, your burning money questions.
  • Esther Hall can field you with advice about nonprofits and grant-writing.
  • The team behind Handmade Arcade will offer booth and craft show advice.
  • Daniella Cortez can help you with PR and and pitching your products to publications.
  • Jodi Lynn Burton wants to interview Conners for her podcast, Detroit Craft Academy.
  • Embroiderer extraordinaire Sarah Fisher can offer technical advice as well as the good, bad, and ugly of the brick and mortar retail life.
  • Keynote speaker Vicki Howell gives tips on making your crowdfunding campaign successful.

And even more speakers will be participating! Stop by the trade show each morning to see the day’s full list of one-on-one time slots and sign up.


Holiday Craft Show Survival Guide

Craft show season is starting to ramp up, and if you’re a seller doing a different show every weekend, it can be truly grueling. But you have to perform at your best, because you might be making half of your annual income in the next two months. Here are our six best suggestions for preparing for the holidays so you have a successful selling season:

  • Set mini goals: Inventory production might seem overwhelming leading up to the holidays, but we find that if you break big tasks into bite size chunks, procrastination becomes much less of a problem. Rather than write “Make 500 things” on your to-do list, break it down into steps that you can more easily check off, like:
    • Print packaging
    • trim packaging
    • reorder googly eyes
    • fold cards
    • glitter airbrushing
    • eat lunch
      Don’t underestimate the satisfaction you feel from checking a thing off your list, no matter how small.
  • Do a trial run: Especially if you’re trying out a new booth or table setup, test out your design in your home before you take it on the road. See how long it takes to set up, and take pictures of how it looks when you’ve got it just right so you can remember which pieces go where. Also try packing it all up to make sure the gear fits in your car.
  • Don’t forget your email list: If you don’t yet have an email list, start one now. Have nice sign-up sheets visible at your booth or table. We love the email service Mailchimp, and Abby Glassenberg has great advice on building an email newsletter, which she’ll also be talking about at Midwest Craft Con in February!
  • Take time for self care: Holiday season can be crazy busy and stressful, so it is of the utmost importance to be nice to yourself. Do one thing every day that is just for you, whether it’s a long, hot shower, a delightfully strong coffee, a nap or a five-minute dance party. In the weeks before my big show, I try to make a bunch of freezable crockpot concoctions so that I’m still eating well when I don’t have time to cook. There are lots more good ideas for self care here.
  • Spread the word about your shows: On your store website and social media pages, be sure to let your fans know where you’ll be and when. It helps your fans buy from you, and I can tell you that craft show organizers love the assistance in spreading the word.
  • Make a list and check it twice: How many times have you packed up for a show only to realize when you arrive that you forgot your Square, your snacks or any change whatsoever? It’s happened to us more times than we’d like to admit. Crafty Supermarket created this printable Day-of-Show Seller Checklist to help crafters everywhere stay on track and have more successful shows! Click the image below to download the checklist (the file has two lists per 8.5″x11″ page) and print it out to use for your next craft shows:

craft show seller checklist

You are welcome to print this PDF out and share it with your crafty friends! The checklist is excerpted from The Crafty Superstar Ultimate Craft Business Guide by Midwest Craft Con co-organizer Grace Dobush.

Is there anything else you’d add to our list of suggestions for surviving holiday craft show season?