An End and a New Beginning

2016 is done, and I hope you’ve all had a successful holiday season and at least a little bit of rest in the last few weeks. While you haven’t heard from me in a long while, I have some important news to share. The TL;DR version is this:

Maker’s Nation is no longer. I’m now working on Academy of Handmade.

The long version is, well, longer. So grab some coffee and settle in…


Tickets Now On Sale for School House Craft


Tickets for this year’s School House Craft conference in Seattle (October 16–17) are now on sale, and we’re offering a limited early bird discount of $20 on two-day passes through September 15. This year’s speakers and teacher lineup includes creative all-stars from the Pacific Northwest and as far away as Tennessee, and you can bet I’ll be your host for two fantastic days of business skill-building and community bonding. Check it out:


School House Craft is Now Part of Maker’s Nation


We are proud to announce that we are officially taking the reins of Seattle-based School House Craft, a five-year-old annual business conference that serves the handmade artisan community in the Pacific Northwest. School House Craft’s goal to “school you in the business of craft” dovetails perfectly with our mission to provide practical business education and community support for independent creative entrepreneurs.


What It Takes to Make

Building a business, especially a creative one, is a journey with a lot of milestones along the way. But what exactly are those milestones and how can we know we’re on track? Learning from our peers and the makers who have forged their path before us is one of the best ways we know to stay on top of things, so we’re thrilled to sponsor an event next week hosted by Built Oregon and MadeHere PDX, part of a new partnership they’ve created called the Portland Entrepreneurial Project (PEP).

This PEP Talk about “What It Takes to Make” features fantastic makers at all stages of their business, discussing things like translating product concept to production, the funding cycle, building a customer base, and staying true to your craft. Not only will you hear from the diverse creatives behind Kiriko Made, Plywerk, Roots Soap, and JBird Collective, you can meet and network with your peers in a casual comfortable environment. I hope you’ll join us!

PEP Talk: What It Takes to Make

June 16, 6:30–8:30pm
at MadeHere PDX, 40 NW 10th Ave
Tickets: $12 general, free for Built Oregon members ($24 annually)
drinks and snacks provided

Learn More & Buy Tickets →

Recap: It’s Not About the Followers


We were thrilled to welcome over 30 people to last night’s Maker Talk about social media, and grateful for the insight, advice, and stories that our “social butterflies” had to share with the group. We’ve been scouring the internet over the last few weeks to share the best content we could find about social media strategy for small creative businesses, but if you don’t follow us on Twitter or Facebook (or just missed it), here’s a recap “link dump” that will serve as a great resource!


5 Mistakes to Avoid on Social Media

With our social media-focused Maker Talk around the corner, we invited Caitlin Bacher of Little Farm Media to share the top five social media mistakes she comes across when working with her creative clients. Whether you’re new to using social media or have been at it a while, it’s never too late to make sure you’re not falling into the trappings of social network mayhem. Check out Caitlin’s advice below!

Maker Talk: It’s Not About the Followers

Are you a stat-checker, constantly looking to see how many new followers you have on your social network(s) of choice? It’s not about the followers! Well, it is, but it’s not what you might think. In fact, it’s complicated—which is why so many people get caught up worrying about the wrong things when it comes to social media strategy for your creative business. This month we’re kicking off a new series called Maker Talk, and social media is a prime choice for our first discussion!


Rhythmic Structure

by Gina Morris, BridgeLab PNCA


Nature needs rhythm. From the boom and bust of the changing seasons to the pulse of a single heart cell, there is an essential ebb and flow that keeps the cycle of life’s energy moving from creation to maintenance to destruction and back again. It’s not a free-for-all of output over input. The Universe is way too busy and balanced for that (and you are too). Rather, like a piece of music, rhythm finds its context and thrives in the structure of the composition.

This month, I invite you to compose the symphony of your professional practice by embracing the power of rhythmic structure in your scheduling to keep yourself healthy, happy, and productive in 2015.


Going Public: Tough Love for Unhappy Etsy Sellers

You may have heard the news last week that handmade marketplace giant Etsy intends to go public in 2015 with an IPO (initial public offering) possible as early as this quarter. The move is a big deal, both as an evolution of a business that’s been going strong since 2005, and because few New York-based technology startups have been able to make the leap to the stock market in the last decade and a half.

But on a micro level, I’ve been hearing a lot of grumbling about this news from Etsy sellers akin to the complaints about Etsy’s policy shift to allow sellers to list certain manufactured goods, or further back when Chad Dickerson assumed the role of CEO and Rob Kalin (the company’s visionary founder) stepped down. A lot of the current arguments seem to fall around this general sentiment:

“As a publicly traded company, Etsy will be obligated to cater to their shareholders’ interests. This will continue to destroy things for us, the sellers!”

I get really frustrated when I read things like this, so I’d like to offer up three points of rebuttal and a call to action:


Penny For Your Thoughts: 2015 Program Interests Survey

What do you need as an independent creative entrepreneur?

As we work on developing the educational programs we’ll be offering throughout this year, we’d love to hear your opinion on the matter! We’ve put together a brief, five-question survey to get a better sense of what you’re business focus is for 2015 and how we can help you succeed. Will you add your voice to the chorus? Click the button below.


Take the Survey