Dispatch from the Summit

Erica agreed to give us a rundown of her three days at the Summit of Awesome-- as you can tell, it was as promised. 

My head is still spinning from three amazing, inspiring, whirlwind days
at the second annual Summit of Awesome at the Kennedy School in NE
Portland on June 16, 17, and 18. The event was put on by Hello Craft, a
non-profit dedicated to empowering small business owners and promoting
the benefits of buying handmade. Hello Craft described the summit as
"part networking event, part business school, part workshops and all
crafty fun."

Each day's schedule was jam-packed with tough choices --
not only were there several different (and all fantastic-sounding)
learning sessions for each time slot, but there were also workshops
where you could do some hands-on crafting, guided by crafty powerhouses
like the hilarious Mark Montano of the "Big Ass Book" series and
Portland's own Susan Beal of West Coast Crafty

I went to the needle felting workshop with Jaime
, and I am now 100% addicted. Someone as
accident-prone as I am should probably avoid any activity that involves
a lot of stabbing motions with sharp objects, but I don't care! It's
worth a few puncture wounds when the end result is something as cute as
the felted bird I made during the 90-minute session. I didn't have time
to put wings on it (as one of the other workshop attendees said, the
wings are implied) but it still looks kind of like a bird, which is
amazing to me considering it started out as nothing more than a few
strands of wispy fluff.


Aside from getting my craft on, I crammed my brain
chock-full of useful business information, from how to avoid common
online marketing mistakes to legalities around starting a business,
including the differences between setting up as a sole proprietor or an
LLC. Caitlin Phillips from Rebound Designs led a killer session called
How to Maximize Your Craft Show Sales, which was both and validating
and enlightening. I was able to pat myself on the back for already
doing some of the things she recommended, like including a business
card with every item sold and not slinking to the back of your booth
during a show to read a book, but actually *gasp* talking to people who
come to your booth. I think the advice that really resonated with me
(and was reiterated again and again by almost all of the speakers) was
around goal setting. It's one thing to have lofty dreams of quitting
your day job and creating cute handmade goodness in your pajamas all
day, but in order to be successful you need to have a clear idea of how
you define success for yourself, and set some actual achievable
benchmarks that will keep you moving toward your goals.   

The summit was rounded out with several fun
networking events, including a tour of the Alberta Arts District, a
rowdy White Elephant craft swap, and a party at Land, Buy Olympia's
store front on Mississippi Ave.  

Thanks Erica!  The wings are totally implied.