Meet a speaker: Caroline Creaghead

creaghead_carolineCaroline Creaghead is a creative producer and director from Covington, KY. She’s also a preparer at Brass Taxes, providing tax help for artists, freelancers and other nice people. Once based in Brooklyn, NY, Creaghead began her career as a live comedy show producer. She worked with some of New York’s most celebrated stand-ups — like the cast of Bob’s Burgers — and lots of comics you’re maybe not as likely to have heard of, but should definitely check out. She’s developed a strong appreciation for how much an understanding of some business and finance basics can impact your ability to do creative work successfully and independently.

At Midwest Craft Con, Caroline is teaching a session called Taxes Don’t Have To Suck, and she means it.

How would you describe yourself in 10 words or less?

Fiercely independent comedy snob waiting for invitation to cool club

What is your earliest crafty memory?

Paint-a-plate in preschool. My mom unearths the plate every Christmas. I drew my family as heads on long legs under a dangerously close and misshapen sun.

What is your favorite thing about the Midwest?

Abundant friendliness, duh.

What would you be if you weren’t an artist/creative?

A tax preparer! I’m doin’ it! Living the dream!

What three things would you recommend to makers?

  1. The Money Book for Freelancers, Part-Timers and the Self-Employed by Joseph D’Agnese
  2. The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron
  3. None Of Your Business (my podcast!)

What are your personal resolutions for 2017?

To create more and consume less. Might make myself try dating, but I doubt it.

What are your 2017 resolutions for your business/professional life?

I’m going to get more aggressive about saving, and be bolder about putting my self-produced work out into the marketplace.


Meet a Speaker: Tamia Stinson

tamia stinsonHailing from the Queen City of Cincinnati, Tamia Stinson is a creative director, photo stylist and the culprit behind fashion and lifestyle blog With more than seven years of experience styling editorial shoots and managing social media for consumer brands, her expertise lies at the intersection of digital and style. She started a podcast in 2016 that features interesting people doing interesting things in Cincinnati called The Creative City. She’s also an excellent ice cream taster, obnoxiously competitive yogi, and bona fide Purple Rain aficionado.

At Midwest Craft Con, Tamia will be teaching a session called Think Like an Art Director to help makers better represent themselves visually.

How would you describe yourself in 10 words or less?

Stylish goofball with control issues and a lifelong Prince obsession.

What is your earliest crafty memory?

Making God’s Eyes with used popsicle sticks (ew) and pilfered knitting yarn at my babysitter’s house.

What is your favorite thing about the Midwest?

The weird combination of big-city livin’ and small-town community. I swear everyone is separated by three degrees or less.

What would you be if you weren’t an artist/creative?

An astrophysicist. I’d need to be at least 10x smarter to actually understand it, but quantum mechanics is fascinating.

What three things would you recommend to makers?

  1. The Creative City podcast for inspiration
  2. Wave app for invoicing and accounting
  3. Sweet potatoes for a delicious way to stay regular

What are your personal resolutions for 2017?

To see some world and take time to connect to the flow.

What are your 2017 resolutions for your business/professional life?

  1. Update my website.
  2. Produce something tangible.
  3. Collaborate with awesome people at least once per quarter.

Featured Speaker: Chris Glass

chris glass designerIn the design world, sometimes the big names have big egos to match. But that is so not the case with Chris Glass, one of our featured speakers at Midwest Craft Con 2017.

You might be familiar with the shirts he’s designed for Wire and Twine, a design firm that happens to own screen-printing equipment. He is currently on a year-long civic sabbatical with People’s Liberty to explore photography as encouragement for being a tourist in your own city — the new project is called PhotoCorps. He shares a sunny loft apartment in an old factory in Cincinnati with his sassy cat, Edie.

How would you describe your work to someone who isn’t familiar with it?

Simple designs with a bit of tongue in cheek. I’ve made things from websites to T-shirts and logos and records and a bunch of other corporate stuff like banner stands for trade shows. I also take photographs from time to time, mostly for fun, but sometimes they end up in books for cats on the internet. I like to think it all comes from the same hand.

What inspires you?

Everything that Jim Henson did. Mister Rogers philosophy on life. Ed Emberley’s drawing books for kids that work great for adults. Charley Harper’s geometric awesomeness. I love the joy magnet that is Tina Roth Eisenberg (aka SwissMiss) and her ability to bring people together in the name of creativity. Finding new music to play while working or relaxing. Traveling to new places, revisiting favorites. Going off the grid.

What one thing in your life could you absolutely get rid of?

Links in my social media feeds. Especially 30-second recipe videos that showcase how you can make dishes with canned refrigerated biscuits.

What is your favorite thing about the Midwest?

Not being a slave to the cost of living. The four seasons. Elbow room. Wait, that’s three things…

What are your pro tips for people going to a creative conference?

Say Hi. Pace yourself: Have a water between each stiff drink.

What would you be if you weren’t an artist?

I’d love to understand programming better. To develop things that work and rely on stuff like databases.

What will you (likely) talk about in your keynote?

How design can fix your life.

What three things would you recommend to makers?

You can meet Chris and many other creative entrepreneurs at Midwest Craft Con in February 2017 — tickets are on sale now!


Nikki Jenkins on Making Jewelry and Living a Crafty Life

Nikki Jenkins of Cincinnati is an entrepreneur and mixed-media jewelry designer, the owner of Nimmy Designs, which is sold at art and craft shows, concerts, trunk shows, boutiques and online. With experience in fashion modeling, personal styling, metalsmithing and glass artistry, she is passionate about incorporating artistic vision into professional development. By day, Nikki is a Certified Health Education Specialist; she holds a master’s degree in education and a bachelor’s degree in psychology, specializing in project management and in personal and professional development. She has also served as an adjunct professor at the University of Cincinnati. Nikki volunteers for local non-profit organizations, and she enjoys traveling, good eats, mud racing, music and dancing — she’s also a salsa instructor!

At Midwest Craft Con she’ll be teaching: Making an Action Plan, and Find Your Tribe: Building a Craft Community

Why do you do what you do?

Spreading joy is vital to me. One way I do this is through gift-giving. Over the years, jewelry making has taken shape by initially wishing I could, to learning, doing and releasing (through gift-giving and selling). I have always been drawn to creativity, fashion and style; they are a part of my self-expression. Jewelry design allows me to tap in and infuse these aspects into each piece I make. I delight in colorful, beautiful things, and I have fun making them.

What’s your earliest crafty memory?

One of my earliest craftastic memories is of creating a cookbook and hand-sewing a fancy pink, heart-shaped apron for my mom.

What crafty personality would you most like to get a drink with?

Keri Smith (author of Wreck This Journal).

What advice would you go back and give your younger self?

It is a privilege to create, so make the most of it. Don’t feel that you have to know it all or do everything at once. If you just get started and commit, you can make magic happen. Learn and explore new things; use positive thoughts, words and actions to fuel your growth.

What’s your favorite craft or business book?

Crafty Superstar by Grace Dobush and Craft Inc. Business Planner by Meg Mateo Ilasco.

How did you get where you are today, in 10 words or less?

Support, passion, inspiration, commitment and patience. Plus, I adore learning!

What are your goals for 2016?

To build a stronger online presence and expand my glass working in new directions.


Sponsor Love: The Hoop and Needle

Get to know the makers, businesses and faces who are helping us create Midwest Craft Con! Today we meet Sarah Fisher, shop owner of The Hoop and Needle in Cincinnati and online force behind Purple Hippo Stitches. The Hoop and Needle first opened in 2014 to provide downtown Cincinnati as a place to explore cross-stitch and embroidery, and it moved to Northside last year. Sarah will be bringing her store to the Midwest Craft Con trade show!

The coolest embroidery wall on display at The Hoop and Needle.

Megan: How long have you been in the creative scene? How did you get your start?

Sarah: I’ve been cross-stitching since I was 10 years old. When I moved to Indiana for grad school, I started making my own patterns. Stitching was very relaxing compared to grad school. When I lost my main student job in 2010, I started selling some stitches on Etsy and participated in the Bloomington Handmade Market for the first time. I spent the next few years traveling around the Midwest doing as many indie shows as I could and kept outgrowing my studio space in the house. A year and a half ago, I decided to open a small storefront selling cross-stitch and embroidery supplies. After only a year, we packed up and moved into a huge new storefront with plenty of room to expand.


Megan: What services do you provide to your community?

Sarah: In our bigger space, we are able to hold classes and are teaching the next generation to stitch. Every month, a group of about 15 stitchers meet at our storefront for Sip ‘N Stitch, which is exactly what it sounds like: stitching and alcoholic beverages! We also want to show people that there’s plenty of great projects out there that aren’t just cutesy teddy bears and angels. There are tons of modern patterns available and we also stock of adult-oriented stitches!

Megan: What are you most proud of when it comes to your business?

Sarah: Sometimes, you just have to take a huge risk, and moving into our new storefront has really paid off. I’m proud that I took the plunge, because our other location just wasn’t working out. It took a lot of work getting this place usable. It was an old bank that hadn’t been updated since the ’70s. But our landlord let us customize the entire interior and let us paint a mural on the front of the building. Now, this place really feels like it’s all mine.

Megan: What is one big mistake you would suggest others avoid when entering the handmade arena?

Sarah: Don’t put all your time and effort into an Etsy shop. The market is oversaturated, and I’ve seen many small businesses (including my own) take big hits to sales after major policy changes. Just make sure you have a back-up plan. Also, product design and packaging is really key. Watch your customers and see how they respond. I’ve gone through at least three major product redesigns that wouldn’t have happened if I knew what I know now. For example, an artist that I carry in my store recently redesigned all of her packaging and her sales in my store have easily doubled.

Download kits like this from The Hoop and Needle.

Megan: Any big goals for the new year?

Sarah: This year is all about building on the foundations of last year and getting the store to turn a profit. (Nope, we aren’t there yet! Moving was expensive!) I also want to get back into cross-stitch design and make a few new kits and patterns.

Megan: What are you most looking forward to at Midwest Craft Con?

Sarah: I practically live in my store at this point, so I can’t wait for a weekend away with other crafty people and sharing our experiences.

Sarah will be joining us for all three days at the conference along with her perpetual unpaid intern and husband, Tim. Be nice to him — he can teach you how to embroider or cross-stitch!


A Crafty Road Trip

This past weekend, I did the unthinkable: I traveled to a craft show that was out of town that I was not vending at!

And then I drove five more hours to do it all over again.


Traveling and crafts are not a new concept to me. Diving into the handmade world almost a decade ago, I dreamed big and applied primarily to shows outside of Columbus. The craft gods decided in my favor and granted me access to shows in Detroit, Chicago and Pittsburgh, to name just a few.

But to travel to a show out of town just to shop at a show was something I have never had the time for. This year, thanks to the business of settling into a new house, demands of young kids and the responsibility of running my own craft fair, I forgot to apply to all my favorite craft events.

Which meant I had the weekend of Thanksgiving free! It also happened that my Midwest Craft Con co-organizers Brit and Grace had their BIG shows on the same weekend. Since my own craft fair, Craftin’ Outlaws, was so busy, I walked home empty-handed despite intentions of holiday shopping and I hardly found a moment to say hello to exhibitors and crafty friends. With the promise of a hotel with a pool and hot tub for my kids, my husband and I packed our bags for a fun, impromptu craft tour of Ohio.

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We started our craft adventure off in Cincinnati. Grace and her business partner Chris have been running Crafty Supermarket since 2009. Their holiday show is held in the Cincinnati Music Hall‘s beautiful ballroom, which housed 90 amazing vendors. I have had the pleasure of exhibiting at many of their spring and holiday shows, and Cincinnati folks LOVE their Crafty Supermarket. It’s always been one of my better shows, and I was so excited to attend as a shopper. This year Crafty Supermarket had over 6,500 people in attendance. My family of four navigated the crowds trying to say hi to as many exhibitors as we could.

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We did not get to spend as much time at Crafty Supermarket as I would have liked. Sadly, our time frame only permitted us to come when the show first opened, and the kids were not feeling the crowds. They also did not fail to remind me that the hotel in Akron had a hot tub. So off we went, but not without some gifts and goodies for myself. If you can remember: APPLY TO CRAFTY SUPERMARKET! The next show is May 7, and applications will be posted in January. I, for one, have already added it to my 2016 calendar. It’s an amazing show and I am kicking myself for forgetting to apply.

Once we settled into Akron and let the kids burn off car energy in the pool, we found ourselves getting a guided tour of Crafty Mart by Brit.

Crafty Mart is now in its seventh year and is a two-day show held at three locations. The three venues are within walking distance of one another: Summit Space, The Akron Art Museum and Musica.

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I’ve never been a vendor at Crafty Mart, so while I can’t speak to the vending experience, the shopping experience was unlike any craft fair I had been to. Each venue provided a new experience and a new setting to enjoy crafty shopping. Summit Station, which houses artist studios, was inspiring, while shopping the museum made for a modern backdrop, and Musica housed crafts in every nook and cranny. Musica is a bar and music venue that hosted the first Crafty Mart. It reminded me a great deal of where we housed the first Craftin’ Outlaws, so it felt very near and dear to my heart.

My organizing brain is overwhelmed with ideas and inspiration. The maker side of me was reminded just how much I miss being behind a table, selling my wares and waving at friends across the aisle. Most importantly, I am reminded why we are making Midwest Craft Con happen: to allow ourselves as creatives and makers to be inspired once again. To regroup and take in the experiences that bind us all together.

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Remember that tickets for Midwest Craft Con are on sale now and make great presents! Get your tickets now and join creative business people from all across the Midwest in February!

City Guides

The Crafty Guide to Cincinnati

In my eight years living in Cincinnati, I’ve seen the city grow into a real center for creative activity. Back when my friend and I started Crafty Supermarket six years ago, it was hard to find other crafters, makers and creatives. I’m very happy to report that is no longer the case, as you can see the options for creative engagement abound in my Crafty Guide to Cincinnati:


The Hoop & Needle
4019 Hamilton Ave, Cincinnati, OH 45223
All the supplies you need to do needlework, cross-stitching and embroidery, plus fun works of art by the owner, Purple Hippo Stitches.

hoop and needle

2010 Madison Road, Cincinnati, OH 45208
This gallery has a long history of showing fine craft and art from around Cincinnati and around the world.

MiCA 12/v
1201 Vine St., Cincinnati, OH 45202
A lovely store run by a couple of design lovers with a great eye for housewares, jewelry and accessories.

Red Tree Gallery
3210 Madison Road, Cincinnati, OH 45209
A wonderful coffee shop that has expanded its gallery to include tons of work from local makers and crafters.

Rock Paper Scissors
1301 Main St., Cincinnati, OH 45202
This homegrown arts and crafts store focuses exclusively on crafts, art and music made around Cincinnati. Say hello to the shop dog!


Brazee Street Studios
4426 Brazee Street, Cincinnati, OH 45209
If you love glass art, you’ll love this creative center where you can take a class or set up some studio time for yourself.

Funke Fired Arts
3130 Wasson Road, Cincinnati, OH 45209
This clay studio (soon to become Queen City Clay) offers lots of classes for kids and adults alike.

2929 Spring Grove Ave., Cincinnati, OH 45225
If your interests skew tech-y, check out this hackerspace in Camp Washington. 

Maker Space at the Cincinnati Main Library
800 Vine Street, Cincinnati, OH, 45202
The main branch of the public library has a new, giganto maker space including 3D printers, lasercutters, vinyl printers, A/V recording, sewing machines and button makers, all available to use for very cheap.

The Manufactory
12055 Mosteller Road, Cincinnati, OH ‎45241
Up in the northern suburbs, this member-based makerspace offers classes in everything from woodworking to welding to lasercutting.

Sewn Studio
3212 Madison Road, Cincinnati, OH 45209
This adorable fabric shop in Oakley also hosts classes for sewists of all levels. 

crafty supermarket crowd


  • Crafty SupermarketThe show I run with my business partner, Chris, is celebrating its sixth birthday this year, and we anticipate more than 5,000 shoppers to join us and 90+ vendors at Music Hall in Over-the-Rhine on Nov. 28!
  • The City Flea: A monthly urban flea market that runs from May to December each year. The next big show for them is Small Mall, bringing together bricks-and-mortar stores on Nov. 29.
  • Art On Vine: This monthly art market is downtown on Fountain Square during the warmer months and up at the Rhinegeist brewery in OTR when it’s cold.
  • Clay AllianceIf you love ceramics and pottery, you’ll love the two shows this organization puts on each year, in spring and around the holidays.
  • Art Off PikeJust across the river in Covington, KY, this annual big street festival includes lots of makers.
  • The OFF Market: This monthly street fair in Oakley draws lots of makers and crafters from around the city.


Lentz & Company
339 Ludlow Ave., Cincinnati, OH 45220
This vintage shop in the very cute Gaslight District also sells handmade items from local crafters.

Mainly Art
3711 Madison Road, Cincinnati, OH 45209
If high-end mid-century modern furniture is your jam, you will love this shop that frequently sends its pieces to movie sets.

4577 Hamilton Ave., Cincinnati, OH 45223
From the huge amounts of reasonably priced vintage clothing to the impeccable mid-century furniture, you’re bound to find something to fall in love with here.

Ohio Valley Antique Mall
7285 Dixie Highway, Fairfield, OH 45014
This gigantic antique mall is a favorite for pickers from surrounding counties, with reasonable prices and everything you could possibly hope to find. Plan to spend at least a few hours to get through it all.


Cheapside Cafe
326 E. Eighth St., Cincinnati OH 45202
Cool decor, great coffee and even better food at this breakfast-and-lunch spot.

collective CAC

Collective CAC
44 E. Sixth St., Cincinnati, OH 45202
The first floor of the Contemporary Arts Center has a brand new cafe and beautiful lounge area where you can chill.

The Comet
4579 Hamilton Ave., Cincinnati OH 45223
Have a beer, get a burrito and hang out with the creative community in Northside.

Findlay Market
1801 Race St., Cincinnati, OH 45202
Ohio’s oldest continually operating market offers fresh foods year-round, and there are great places to eat in and around the square!

1400 Vine St., Cincinnati, OH 45202
I wholeheartedly endorse the cocktails at this Japanese gastropub on Vine Street.

1345 Main St., Cincinnati, OH 45202
A chill local bar where you are sure to find other creative types. Try the MOTR burger!

Grace Dobush is a freelance journalist in Cincinnati and one of the organizers of Midwest Craft Con. You can follow her on Twitter at @gracedobushtogo.

Are you coming to Midwest Craft Con? Early bird tickets are on sale now until Oct. 31 or until the first 100 sell out. Don’t wait!


Meet the Organizer: Grace Dobush

The organizers of Midwest Craft Con have been involved in the indie craft scene for years, and chances are you’ve seen them around Ohio! This week we meet organizer Grace Dobush.

So who are you?

I’m a 33-year-old cat mom in Cincinnati, Ohio. But for real, I’m a freelance writer and wholehearted creative entrepreneur. In addition to working on Midwest Craft Con, I co-organize Crafty Supermarket, an indie craft show that’s celebrating its sixth birthday this year, and I wrote the Crafty Superstar business guides that came out in 2009 and 2012. What you might not know is that my “day job” is completely unrelated to craft: I regularly write for publications including Wired and Quartz about tech, politics, history and culture.

How’d you get involved in the craft world?

I started making things to sell after taking a bookbinding class and a printmaking class my freshman year of college — around 2000 there was also this burgeoning craft community online. I was very into indie rock, and I wondered if anybody else was into “indie craft.” It turns out there were tons of people with the same idea! Those early 2000s message boards were like petri dishes for the indie craft community, and people were starting businesses that are now still going strong.

I started selling my linocut cards and handmade books online, and started selling at shows in Cleveland and Pittsburgh to make a little money on the side as I was finishing my journalism degree and working as a copy editor and later a magazine editor. I moved from Pittsburgh to Cincinnati in 2007 and really missed the creative scene that was there in PGH. In 2009, I went to the Summit of Awesome in DC, where I met a few other crafters from Cincinnati, and we were like, “Why don’t we know each other?” So me and my new friend Alisha Budkie started Crafty Supermarket — which initially was going to be a craft show combined with a book release party for Crafty Superstar, but turned into a much bigger thing! We had rented out the back room of a bar and had 15 vendors back there, and 1,000 shoppers showed up! So the next show we upgraded to 45 vendors and drew even more shoppers, and six years later, my friend Chris Salley Davis and I run the show, and we’re expecting 100 makers and 5,000+ shoppers at our show on Nov. 28 at the Music Hall Ballroom. (The picture below is from the aftermath of our last show.)

What’s the first crafty thing you ever remember selling?

If we go all the way back, the first thing I ever sold was a zine that I did in 9th and 10th grades called Music News. It had some collages and cartoons but mostly consisted of music reports I wrote based off of what I saw on MTV and read in Rolling Stone from my small town in north central Ohio. An issue cost 25 cents, and at its peak it had a circulation of 25! I had read about zine culture in Sassy or somewhere, and I had an idea of what zines looked like, but I don’t think I ever saw any other than my own in real life. (I only got access to the internet at the local library towards the end of Music News’ two-year run.) That was the first of many business ventures I’ve had!

Who in the craft business world would you love to get a drink with?

That’s such a hard question! Back in 2010 I had a dream dinner with some amazing fellow speakers at a creative conference in Seattle: Megan of Not Martha, Faythe Levine of Handmade Nation, Garth Johnson and Jenny Hart — we spent the evening eating, drinking and hanging out, and it was magical. So I’m not sure what could top that. Maybe Martha Stewart?

What books would you recommend most to creative businesspeople?

Back when I was starting out, a very wise crafter recommended Small Time Operator by Bernard Kamoroff, who’s an accountant. It spells out in very clear terms all the unfun business things that you have to learn to be successful. And I’d also highly recommend NOLO’s books by Richard Stim, who’s an attorney specializing in arts law. The Craft Artist’s Legal Guide is an essential read.

What are you looking forward to most about Midwest Craft Con?

Meeting so many makers who I’ve talked to online or emailed with but never met in person!

Join Grace and many other makers at Midwest Craft Con in Columbus, Ohio, in February 2016! Early bird tickets are on sale now.