Meet the Speakers: Dana Walsh & Katie Swett of Weebly

Dana Walsh is the event and community coordinator at Weebly. While based in NYC, Dana travels across the country to work with some of Weebly’s 40 million users. Last year, both Dana led Weebly’s Like a Boss Bus Tour across the southeast to help over 1,000 Americans get signed up and online with Weebly!

Katie Swett is a senior product manager at Weebly.  She currently lives in NYC with her husband and their mini goldendoodle, Henry. At Weebly, she manages two products, Weebly Themes and Weebly Promote, essentially crafting how your websites and email communications are designed.


At Midwest Craft Con 2017, Dana and Katie will present a session called Website Best Practices. They’re also giving a demonstration of what the Weebly platform can do for your small business on Friday night, followed by a hands-on workshop where conners can cook up a new website — and get a discount on their plans. Oh, and they’re providing happy hour drinks on Friday! Thanks, Weebly!


How would you describe yourself in 10 words or less?

Dana: I am an active and quirky individual who loves outdoor craftivities!

Katie: Aesthetically inclined, realistically optimistic, secretly competitive and a lifelong student.

What is your earliest crafty memory?

Dana: I recall basket weaving with my grandmother when I was about 7!

Katie: Making braided bracelets with my sister at summer swim meets.

What is your favorite thing about the Midwest?

Dana: Midwest Craft Con 🙂 and the beautiful snow!

Katie: Buckeyes (the dessert and the team) and the people!

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

Dana: I have always dreamed of being a professional athlete who gets to travel and compete across the world.

Katie: A patent lawyer, protecting people’s creations

What three things would you recommend to makers?


  • Trust your unique and creative instincts.
  • Don’t be afraid to try something very very different and new.
  • Get off social media, and start living in the present and creative moment.


  • Turn off your cell phones and computer — just take in your surroundings. Pinterest is GREAT, but sometimes you want to create trends and that inspiration often comes offline.
  • Be you — listen to yourself.
  • Travel — be inspired by real life and real people.

What are your personal resolutions for 2017?

Dana: I am trying to cook all my meals and get more creative in the kitchen.

Katie: I am training to run my first half marathon!


Sponsor Love: Chris Rutan Photography

Get to know the makers, businesses and faces who are helping us create Midwest Craft Con! Today we are getting to know Chris Rutan of Chris Rutan Photography and Rigmarole.


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

Chris: I have been a professional photographer for over a decade. I went to the University of Akron’s Myers School of Art and earned a BFA in fine art photography. However, my artistic interests are not limited to photography. I also studied printmaking, sculpture and metalsmithing. I completed a minor in computer imaging. The education I received at the Myers School of Art is really the backbone of everything I do creatively and professionally today. During college I worked at two independent photography studios — honing my photographic chops while learning the ins and outs of the business. Today, I specialize in event and lifestyle photography. In addition to commissioned portraiture, I also work for local businesses and the Akron and Canton Museums of Art, and have had my work featured in various local publications.

Brit: What services do you provide to your community?

Chris: I love being involved in the local art scene. I find it immensely rewarding. We’re so supportive of one another — it’s inspiring! When I’m not working, I can be found in and around Akron, photographing my adventurous girls and sharing their exploits on my blog or Instagram. I’ve also had the pleasure of guest writing for a few of Akron’s local blogs. 😉

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

Chris: As a small business owner, I’m most proud of being a part of my local community. When I’m hired to photograph for the museum or a local theater, I feel that I have the opportunity to capture something great that is happening in my own backyard. I feel the same way about portraiture. I love capturing the moments and personalities of the families, couples and individuals who comprise our community.

In addition to photography, I have a handmade side business named Rigmarole. My products are featured in several shops around the country and are available at local craft shows. I do freelance craft work for Jo-Ann Fabrics. I’ve guest lectured at the University of Akron and I’m teaching my first set of workshops at a local paper boutique this month!

Brit: What is one big mistake you’d suggest others avoid when entering the handmade arena?

Chris: One mistake to avoid when starting your own business is being too afraid to say “yes.” When an opportunity presents itself, it’s easy to overthink it, feel intimidated, and begin to convince yourself that you can’t do it. Just say yes. Growth doesn’t happen in the comfort zone.

Brit: Any big goals for the new year?

Chris: This year, I’ve set a goal to vend at more craft shows. I’ve yet to venture out of the Akron area craft scene. This year I’m going to branch out.

You’ll see Chris taking photos at Midwest Craft Con in Columbus, Feb. 19-21!


Sponsor Love: SOAK

Get to know the makers, businesses and faces who are helping us create Midwest Craft Con! Today we are learn more about Soak, a modern laundry company.

Soak was founded by Jacqueline Sava in 2005, after completing a BFA degree in industrial design from the Rhode Island School of Design, Sava founded Jacqs-Hats, a Toronto based knit accessories company. Soak was conceptualized in 2003 as a secondary product for her knit accessories and continued to grow into the company it is today.

The flagship product, Soak Wash, is described as modern care for the laundry you love. It is perfect for knits, quilts, lingerie, stuffed animals and so much more. It is a pure, gentle and deliciously scented way to wash the delicate items you care about most. The formulation is also very eco-friendly and was developed to be as easy on the environment as it is on your clothes. Other products in their line include Flatter, a starch-free smoothing spray, Handmaid, a luxury hand creme, Heel, a restorative foot cream and beautiful gift sets.

Soak’s goal is to create purposeful products supported by strong visions. Jacqueline’s business philosophy is to have a company that, through product development, serves its customers and employees as well as the various businesses along the development and distribution channels.

Learn more about the Soak products at and follow them on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.


Sponsor Love: Frekol


Get to know the makers, businesses and faces who are helping us create Midwest Craft Con! Today we are hearing from Trent Schulz, founder of Frekol (pronounced “freckle”), a Cleveland startup providing a platform for conscious consumers to buy handmade goods locally.

Here’s their story:

Frekol is a startup founded by a couple kids from Cleveland. It’s so simple that it’s unique — we provide a localized online platform that allows you to purchase the incredible things your neighbors make.


As the saying goes, sometimes your best ideas come to you when you least expect it. So begins the Frekol story, at a birthday party for a 4-year-old, and this cake!

kids with cake

We had to know where to get a cake like this. Turns out, the “lady down the street” made it. No, not out of her bakery, out of her home.

We began to wonder, what other incredible things are people in our neighborhood making? We were surprised to discover the most unique, diverse and high-quality handmade and homemade products were exchanged in a market we never knew existed! A market driven by creative, inspired, super-passionate individuals, and so convenient that you pass it by every day. This market is your neighborhood and our community.

You can learn more about Frekol by visiting their website, which is in its beta stage. There you can purchase incredible things made by your neighbors or set up your own shop where your neighbors can find you.

Check out the video below to learn more about just a few of makers that are already on Frekol!

Meet Trent and the Frekol team at our Trade Show at Midwest Craft Con in February! 


Sponsor Love: Wholly Craft

Get to know the makers, businesses and faces who are helping us create Midwest Craft Con! Today we meet Olivera Bratich of Wholly Craft, which you can visit on our bus tour and shop with at our trade show!

olivera photo

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

Olivera: We have been in business just over a decade. When we first opened our doors in 2005, we knew a lot of people who were making fabulous handcrafted goods and struggling to find viable retail outlets. So we stepped in to fill that niche and found a very welcoming audience of customers who were excited to find unique, well-crafted and light-hearted gifts.

Megan: What services do you provide to your community?

Olivera: In addition to the retail shop where we represent handmade goods from over 400 crafters and artists, we host workshops and events throughout the year to encourage folks to make time for creative play and skill building. On our typical event schedule you’ll find introductory level workshops in knitting and crochet, special crafty workshops hosted by favorite local vendors, free monthly skillshare, and Pinterest Parties where participants make fun themed projects.

Wholly Craft is also home to the Supply Closet, a pay-as-you-wish recycled craft supply resource. We accept donations of unused craft supplies throughout the year and offer them up on a pay-as-you-wish basis to the community. A portion of all Supply Closet sales is also donated to Women Crafting Change, a local program of Global Gallery helping women develop marketable craft and business skills.

And finally, we work hard to build meaningful relationships with our vendors and other members of the local craft community. We offer creative business workshops throughout the year to help improve the skill sets of our crafty comrades, and we try to offer valuable feedback to our vendors to help their businesses succeed. Plus we always jump at the chance to support and sponsor local and regional events that help crafters — that’s why we’re a part of the Midwest Craft Con!

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

Olivera: I think I’m most proud of our longevity and our reputation in the craft community. We’ve worked hard to build a sustainable business that offers excellent service to our customers, vendors and staff members. And I think we’re doing alright there. Making money is nice, of course, but I also feel the need to earn the respect of my community.

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

Olivera: Don’t wait until everything is perfect and all lined up correctly because that day will never come. Do the best you can and dive in. You’ll make mistakes along the way, as everyone does, but as long as you’re always willing to learn and grow from them, you’ll be just fine.

Megan: Any big goals for the new year?

Olivera: We’re always scheming and planning big things and this year our list includes building up our regular communication with vendors and finally adding our inventory to our website and launching online sales. We’ve spent a decade focused on the in-person customer experience at Wholly Craft, and I hope we can translate that to a wider audience online.

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

Olivera: Meeting all the fantastic fellow handmade business owners and learning from each other. It’s such a great line up of keynotes, speakers, and participants. And I love how interactive it is, too!

Meet Olivera and the Wholly Craft crew at Midwest Craft Con in February!