What is Dear Handmade Life?
Dear Handmade Life provides creatives with community, education and inspiration to build passionate lives and businesses.
“Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?” -Mary Oliver
If your wild and precious life is a place:
-Where at the end of the day you feel awesome about the work you do
-That is full of inspiring people who believe that we’re stronger together
-Where making something with your hands is not only valued but magical
Then you’ll be right at home here. If you long for those things, you’re in the right place.
Over the last decade we’ve grown from our first event (a tiny craft show in a parking lot) into a destination for our thriving community of supportive creatives to find what they need to stop wishing and start doing. Our co-founder and CEO Nicole Stevenson started her own handmade business almost 20 years ago when only a handful of people knew what DIY meant. In those two decades she owned and sold several businesses, vended at hundreds of craft shows, had her clothing in over 250 stores worldwide, taught craft and business workshops, produced over 100 art & craft events and eventually she found her current passion cultivating community and helping passionate creatives craft awesome lives and businesses when she and her aunt Delilah co-founded Dear Handmade Life in 2007. In 2017 Delilah stepped back from Dear Handmade Life to focus on her deli and market Alta Baja Market in Santa Ana, California.
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Patchwork Show: Modern Makers Festival – our biannual multi-city craft fair showcasing local emerging artists, crafters and designers alongside artisan food, DIY craft workshops, food trucks and music.
Craftcation: Business + Makers Conference – our annual four day conference at the beach in Ventura, California featuring expert instructors leading attendees in business and craft workshops as well as social gatherings to connect with fellow attendees and activities and inspiration so you can reconnect with yourself.
Our online workshops help you build your business and creative skills at home.
On our blog you’ll find solid business advice and tips to shorten the learning curve for product and service based independent business owners, DIY projects to inspire you to step away from your screen and make something with your hands plus our travel, food and self-development adventures.
Join us on our podcast every other week for intimate stories and practical advice about creativity and building a life and business filled with intention and purpose.
We create and curate goods for our shop to celebrate the magic of creativity and the community we call home in California.
In a one-on-one session with our CEO Nicole, she’ll get to know exactly what you need to take the next (or first) step towards your goals and provide actionable tasks to get you there.
NICOLE STEVENSON – CO-FOUNDER AND CEO
Nicole Stevenson is a writer, illustrator, maker, teacher and creative business consultant. Her path includes time as a street artist on the Venice Beach boardwalk, costume designer, DIY workshop instructor, co-founder of a non-profit that produced art shows benefiting charities, owner and designer of Random Nicole (an art-inspired clothing line carried at over 250 locations) and owner of craft workshop studio and retail store: The Craft Kitchen. She has a BA and MA in creative writing and is currently working on a non-fiction book about her creative adventures. She’s also the founder of Nicole Stevenson Studio, where she creates custom portraits, illustrations, branding and logos, editorial design and custom invitations.
When she’s not working, you may find her breaking up scuffles between her dog and three chickens, couch crafting while watching a film she’s seen too many times to count, playing guitar with her husband, sitting in her backyard with good friends and a margarita while playing Cards vs. Humanity or squeezing in time for a quick trip to a lovely place where people are scarce and trees are not.
“Craft can make the world a better place… the feeling one gets from making something with their own hands is beyond empowering.” -Nicole Stevenson
NICOLE SPAULDING (SPAULDING) – OPERATIONS DIRECTOR
Spaulding (aka: The Other Nicole) is a passionate crafter and lifelong learner. She is a knitter, teacher, and writer. She is dedicated to community through the creation of several clubs and teaching co-ops. She has run several small businesses and consulted for other entrepreneurs to help them define and achieve their own success. When she’s not working for Dear Handmade Life making events run smoothly, creating foundations for new growth, and plotting new fun things, she can be found in the woods, reading a book, or crafting. She has a few degrees, a deep and sparkly adoration for travel, and has published a few poems. She is a monster maker, a planner, and an avid DIYer. As it’s been told, she can also make friends at a conference for enemies.
“Katie Mac” is a maker, marketer and Mama with an affinity for tiki culture living rowdy and proud in her hometown of Atlanta with her husband, two kids and giant dog. She started her professional career working for large corporations like IBM and Rolling Stone Magazine before finding her niche working for and with small businesses. She believes in shopping small, eating local and always roots for the underdog. Her love languages include tacos, sarcasm, travel, and flavored potato chips. She’s a self-proclaimed foodie-in-training, developed a love of cooking from her (healthy and not at all weird) obsession with Gordon Ramsay and loves to try new and adventurous foods. When she’s not doing Dear Handmade Life work you can find her playing weekly trivia with her super-smart nerd gang, crafting all the things with her mini-me daughter, watching soccer and The Office reruns with her teenage son, cheering on her beloved Georgia Bulldogs at her favorite local bar, binging Netflix with her husband and squeezing in as much time with her girl gang as possible.
ANGIE ANDRE – PATCHWORK SHOW VENDOR COORDINATOR
Hey there! I’m Angie. I’ve been working for Dear Handmade Life since 2014. I love the Lord, my husband, my kids, eating Thai food, and sitting in the sun reading a book. I currently home-school all four of my kids, and am finding that I’m learning more now then when I was a student in school. I enjoy creatively working with my hands, and the patience that it teaches me, and the joy it brings me.
SHARON FAIN – SPONSORSHIP COORDINATOR
Sharon Fain has loved working with creatives and has found herself helping artists since her college days. With over 15 years of marketing and PR experience, working with small businesses, nonprofits and creative business clients, she has made her passion of being a fangirl of makers into a profession. When she’s not geeking out about handmade businesses, she’s trying to garden, riding bikes with her husband or walking her dogs at her home in Los Angeles.
She is also the founder and director of Academy of Handmade (AoH), an organization which supports makers through mastermind programs and promotes critical and strategic thinking in the early stages of business. *Headshot photo credit: Sarah Deragon
NIK VANDEVENTER – LEAD DIY BLOG CONTRIBUTOR & CRAFTCATION CRAFT WORKSHOP MANAGER
Nik is a maker, day-dreamer & potty mouth who loves cats, coffee and craft beer. She is a self taught hand embroider and will DIY pretty much anything she can get her hands on. She is currently pursuing her passion for photography, you can see her work here www.nikvphotography.com . She lives in Long Beach with her husband and her three awesome cats (that she can’t shut up about).
We’re lucky to work with a rotating team of amazing individuals at our events. These hard-working and creative seasonal staffers work behind the scenes and on the front lines at Patchwork Show and Craftcation Conference. Big love to all of them including our Lead Event Manager Julie Laws.