Brit’s Midwest Craft Con Experience

Well, my Midwest Craft Con experience was a little different from that of my colleagues because, well, I wasn’t there.

That’s right. After hundreds of hours and boundless energy invested into organizing this kickass conference, I wasn’t there.

a good excuse

Granted, I had the best reason in the world to stay home: the slightly early arrival of a gorgeous, healthy baby boy. But I still felt like I was missing out. Fortunately, my sisters in crime made me feel like I was part of the action as I watched on through the lens of social media between feedings and naps.

MWCC 2016 megan and grace at midwest craft con, columbus ohio craft conference

The fact that Megan and Grace took the time to put my face on a stick to give me a presence at the Con made me feel so special! Before I knew it, I was seeing my face all over social media attached to what is undeniably the best hashtag ever.

Although I wasn’t there to get all the great information or participate in craftivities or join in epic karaoke sessions, I really appreciate the effort that went into making me feel involved and am even more excited for Craft Con 2017! I can’t wait to actually meet all the amazing people who were “feeling the brit” at Midwest Craft Con. ❤

We’ll be announcing dates for Midwest Craft Con 2017 soon! Be sure to sign up for our newsletter to be the first to know about it. 


Megan’s Craft Con Experience

When we first started plotting and planning Midwest Craft Con, we three organizers had a unified vision to create an environment for makers that would provide an educational experience unique to our handmade world while building up our community.

To put it simply and to steal a phrase that was on a sticker and slid across a table to me on the last day, Midwest Craft Con was “DIY as F^@#.” (Uncensored sticker credit given to Betty Floored of Toledo.)

Midwest Craft Con was a labor of love. We hacked our way through contracts of the abbreviated variety: LLC’s, AV (audiovisual), F&B (food and beverage). Tweaking, editing, cutting and revising our budget spreadsheet was the mother of all chores. Navigating proposals and sponsorship agreements were responsibilities I have executed for years through craft show organization, but nothing could have prepared me for how engrossing this project became or how rewarding the results felt.

I consider Midwest Craft Con to be a highlight of my handmade career, and I am so grateful to everyone who played a part.

So now that I have had a moment to reflect, I wish to thank everyone who attended Midwest Craft Con. Everyone who bought a ticket, volunteered, won a scholarship or was a guest of ours for the weekend — all of you. Thank you for giving us the gift of community that we’ve been lacking here in the Midwest. Thank you for being creative and dedicated in your craft.

To our sponsors, I thank you for your support of Midwest Craft Con. Your patronage allowed us to create fun and engaging opportunities and experiences. Working together we helped build new partnerships and relationships. Thank you for letting us expose your world to other creatives who appreciate your work.

To our keynote speakers and presenters who took a weekend away from their own businesses to share their insight and personal stories with us: I can’t thank you enough. I spent many hours “doing my homework” by listening to your podcasts, scouring your websites and blogs for inspiration. Thank you for being an ongoing source of knowledge and for being so approachable.

To Brit and Grace, who taught me so very much. Working beside two highly motivated, extremely talented, driven, educated, gifted organizers whose passion is on the same level as mine was a luxury I have never experienced. You both continue to push me to be better and work harder. Thanks for all the laughs, drinks and text messages.

While I did not have a chance to sit in on all the panels and sessions I wanted, I can’t help but feel the ones I did sit in on were the ones I needed. Annal Vyas will help me keep myself accountable and keep my legal contracts on the up and up. Allison Chapman reignited the passion in my handmade business to keep me motivated when I’d like to call it quits. Handmade Arcade showed me how to work with vendors to create great booth displays. And if possible, I would like 5 minutes of Tara Swiger in my day every day.

I hope the sessions you experienced were what you needed and that you make the time to put those lessons into your handmade business. And if you are ever in doubt, remember you are DIY as F^@#.

We’ll be announcing dates for Midwest Craft Con 2017 soon! Be sure to sign up for our newsletter to be the first to know about it. 


Grace’s Midwest Craft Con Experience

When Megan, Brit and I first started planning Midwest Craft Con, we dreamed for the kind of turnout that we did in February, but had no guarantee that it would happen. We spent nearly 10 months laying the groundwork for the conference, putting down personal credit cards to pay for venue deposits and trusting that our investment would pay off.

And it sure did. We’re so grateful to the members of the craft community who joined us and supported us to create three days of connecting, recharging, celebrating and dreaming. More than 180 people came from all over the United States to make Midwest Craft Con happen, including the creative business owners who attended, the wonderful speakers who shared their experience, and the sponsors who donated their time and talent to make this happen. Huge thanks are in order to all of you — this wouldn’t be the same without each and every one of you.

Midwest Craft Con is a place for makers, so in designing the conference we wanted to create a space where people could try new things and make things happen. And it worked! One attendee arranged a destash swap, another organized a person-to-person gift exchange, and another brought together bricks-and-mortar store owners for a lunchtime discussion. This is exactly why we made Midwest Craft Con happen, people. And we know you’ll have even more ideas for next year now that you’ve gotten an idea of what’s possible.

One of the highlights for me — and many of the people who filled out our attendee survey — was hearing Lisa Congdon’s keynote on Saturday night. The main takeaway was to “sail your own ship.” It’s a metaphor for focusing on your own goals and path when you’re working on building a creative life. This is what one of our attendees had to say:

There was a moment during Lisa Congdon’s keynote where I just realized that I was in a room filled with such like-minded, goal-oriented crafty people. It had been a clear underlying theme all weekend, but something during her speech really drove it home for me. It felt so exciting to realize that there are so many of us out there, driving the handmade revolution!

That kind of magic is what we’re in it for. (That and the karaoke.) You best believe we’ll be back in 2017.

We’ll be announcing dates for Midwest Craft Con 2017 soon! Be sure to sign up for our newsletter to be the first to know about it.