Tag Archives: Tara Swiger

The Christmas Rush Is Over – Now What?


Have you ever wondered what handmade entrepreneurs do once the Christmas rush is over? The first thing we do is take some time to relax and recover from an incredibly busy season of making, completing special orders, working shows and fulfilling, packing and mailing online and phone orders.  Then we clean our studios, which look like a tornado has been through them.  Kristi & I use this down time to take creative classes, business courses and attend a conference.  This is a fun time of year because we get to dream big.  Imagine what we could do with this fresh new year?  We thought we’d share with you some of the things we do to strenghen our creative muscles and grow our business acumen.

At the Craftcation Conference last March, Kristi took a class on working with Precious Metal Clay.  This is a process of creating precious metal pendants and charms from a special clay.  What Kristi created in the class was beautiful.  So last fall we purchased a kiln so that we can start making our own charms and pendants.  Kristi recently took a class with artist Gale Schlagel via the PMC Connection to learn more about this tricky process.  Now we are ready to fire our new kiln up!

We just signed up for a FREE e-course with Tara Swiger called The Power of Confidence designed to defeat self-doubt and build business confidence.  Tara Swiger is an author, maker & business consultant who we met last year in California at Craftcation.  We were very impressed with her very sharp, analytical mind and energy level.

While we’re talking about the amazing Tara Swiger, we have also signed on for her Flight Plan SessionWe have some pretty awesome goals for 2016.  She will work with us to build a marketing plan and system to accomplish our goals.  We are very excited to be working with her to grow our business!

MidWest CraftCon is a newly established conference for Makers.  Similar to Craftcation, they offer a wide range of classes from “maker” business skills to creative fun.  This March, Kristi & I will be attending this conference, located in Columbus, Ohio.  We are looking forward to making new creative like-minded friends from the Mid-West.  We are especially excited about keynote speakers Lisa Congden from Lisa Congden Art + Illistration and author & creative business guru Abby Glassenberg from While She Naps.  We’re also excited to be able to meet with Tara Swiger in person to work on our marketing plan since she is speaking at the conference.  Both Craftcation and MidWest CraftCon are perfect for creative people who are considering selling their arts & crafts to people with established businesses.

This only takes us until the end of February – imagine what could happen with the rest of the year!

We believe that expressing ourselves creatively is good for the soul.  We challenge you to make room in your busy schedule to try something new creatively this year. Get ideas and document your journey on Instagram using the hashtag #yearofmaking.  See the awesome Create doodle below?  Kristi drew that as part of our #yearofmaking challenge.

Have fun!


Blogs and Books and Podcasts Oh My!

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As you can see from the photos we were definitely not in Kansas!  We just got back from our 3rd year attending the wonderful Craftcation Conference  in beautiful Ventura, California. Craftcation is an annual four-day business and makers conference featuring industry professionals leading attendees in hands-on food & craft workshops, lectures and panels on creative business.  The location, a sleepy little seaside surfing town, is so creatively inspiring.  The hosts Nicole and Delialah of Dear Handmade Life do an excellent job of creating an open, inspiring and sharing community.

We learned about paying ourselves, pricing, wholesale, social media, blogging, newsletters and book proposals.  We took creative classes where we learned to play with image transfers and make stamped clay metal pendants.

We also met and learned about leading “handmade” industry authors, bloggers and podcasters.  We’d love to share some of our favorites with you.


  1. While She Naps by Abby Glassenberg.  Abby’s blog is a virtual fountain of information on topics such as running your small business to sewing patterns & DIY’s.
  2. Tara Swiger is a maker, author and small business genius.  Her blog will help you get serious about the financial and marketing aspects of your business.
  3. Wise Craft by Blair Stocker.  We especially love Blair’s craft projects that involve upcycling.  She has a wide range of talents and it is so fun to follow her adventures.

Handmade Business Books:

  1. The Handmade Marketplace and Grow Your Handmade Business by Kari Chapin.  These two books are excellent reference for people thinking of selling or currently selling their own handmade goods.
  2. Make it Mighty Ugly by Kim Werker.  This book is a funny and insightful weapon that you can use to slay your creative demons.
  3. The Brilliant Ideas Launch Pad and Make It Happen by Kari Chapin.  These inspiring workbooks help to generate and capture your best ideas & track your productivity.


  1. Fresh Rag is a podcast hosted by Dave Conrey.  Dave’s energy is contagious as he lights a fire under us and shows us how to make more from our creative pursuits.
  2. Raise Your Hand.  Say Yes. hosted by Tiffany Han.  Tiffany’s podcasts involve so so many of our creative hero’s.  Listen now and every day.  She’ll change your life.
  3. Dear Handmade Life with Nicole Stevenson and Delilah Snell is fun, inspiring and has wonderful variety.

On a final note, CreativeLive is an excellent resource for creative souls.  They offer a wide selection of online workshops that you can watch for FREE.  Can you believe it?  Some of our favorite handmade guru’s are instructors.  Megan Anderson has an upcoming class where she’ll cover craft photography fundamentals , Megan Auman is teaching a workshop called Make a Living Selling What You Make and Nicole Stevenson‘s workshop is called Craft Show Secrets, How to Get In, Make Sales and Grow Your Business.  CreativeLive is also an excellent resource for photographers so spread the word!

All of these resources are at your fingerstips.  Check out our recommendations – we promise you won’t be disappointed.  Happy making!