Editor’s Note: We’re excited to welcome our new marketing maven Katie MacAvoy to the Dear Handmade Life team! We met Katie when she attended our Craftcation: Business & Maker’s Conference a few years ago and have been getting to know her better in our private online community for Craftcation Conference Alumni. When our current social media manager Varci (we’ll miss you!) left her post to return to her nursing career, we knew Katie’s love of Craftcation Conference, passion for the maker movement and commitment to curating community online and in person would make her a great addition to our staff. Katie shares about her Craftcation Conference experience, curating a community of creatives below. PLUS: Enter to win some Craftcation Conference gift bags which are stocked with goodies at the end of the post & save the date for Craftcation Conference 2019.
Craftcation 2019 – April 3 – 7, 2019
Alumni Registration Opens: September 17, 2018
Early Bird Registration Opens: October 5, 2018
Now onto Katie…
“Find your tribe. Love them hard.” For the longest time, I honestly thought I wasn’t one of those “tribe” kinda people. I found myself in a season of life where making friends was ridiculously hard! As a maker and work-at-home Mom, it was a real struggle. I found myself not really fitting into the “mom crowd”. And, in the suburban Atlanta town where we used to live, I didn’t really meet a lot of other makers. I was just a loner. I worked at home, ate at home, chilled at home. I did everything at home.
For the introvert part of me, this wasn’t the worst problem to have. But for the creative – more extroverted – side of me, it really set me back. I felt like I didn’t belong anywhere and as a result, I started to withdraw even more, I lost my confidence which greatly affected my creative work, and I became even more introverted. Long story short: I lost my mojo.
Something had to give. I knew I had to do something. I had to get out of the cave I was dwelling in and meet new people. I had to find a community – people who understood me. So, I took a risk. After talking about it for five years, I finally did it. I bought a ticket to Craftcation: Business & Maker’s Conference, flew all the way across the country and attended my first ever business conference. All by myself. I walked into the hotel lobby of the Ventura Marriott without knowing a soul – even my four roommates were complete strangers I had only met in the Craftcation Conference Facebook group for attendees and alumni.
Terrified didn’t begin to describe it. I was completely outside of my comfort zone. But then, as if a switch was flipped, I was home. I found my tribe. A community of like minded folks – some just as terrified as I was – welcomed me into their village. I’ve always said that being among this group of people is a spiritual experience. I cried multiple times my first year. Oh, who am I kidding? I cry every year. But they’re all good, happy, grateful tears.
Since my first year at Craftcation Conference I’ve heard numerous attendees tell a very similar story. It seems the universal thread (pun intended) with all of us is that community is what we needed most. A sense of belonging and acceptance. Craftcation is just that. And not just four days a year at the conference. It’s year round. I’ve met amazing people that live all over the country and we stay in touch thru social media, text, emails….notes via carrier pigeon…whatever it takes. We support each other’s wins. We pick each other up when we struggle or fail. And we count the days until we can hug each other’s necks at the conference. (As of this blog post – only 263 more days!!)
Registration will open this fall for the 8th year of the Craftcation Conference. Each year the tribe grows with new members and believe me when I tell you – it is a sight to see. The love fills the entire hotel. The belonging and acceptance is something I’ve never experienced anywhere else. If you’ve never been to this amazing maker’s and business conference, I hope you’ll make the jump this year. Treat yo self! And come find me when you get there. I’ve got a hug with your name on it!
Keeping with that same mindset of community and camaraderie, we’ve decided to run a super fun giveaway! One that we hope will inspire and connect us even when we can’t all be together in Ventura.
We are giving away eight (that’s right – EIGHT!) Craftcation 2018 Swag Bags stocked with goodies from our super rad 2018 sponsors! To enter, go to THIS POST on our Instagram feed. Tag a friend in the comments who you think would really benefit from the experience and community that comes with attending Craftcation. Maybe it’s someone who needs to find a tribe. Maybe it’s someone who is struggling with their business but doesn’t know where to go to ask for help. Maybe it’s someone who wishes they could be more creative. Maybe it’s someone who is a member of your tribe that you can always rely on. Pick someone that you would love to come to Craftcation with you! You’re welcome to tag multiple friends, but please use a separate comment per friend. We will select four winners to receive a swag bag for themselves and for a friend.
NOTE: Gift bag contents may vary from photo. US entries only, please. Winner will be contacted via DM on Instagram after the contest ends – you will have 48 hours to claim your prize and provide your mailing address or we will select a new set of winners. Contest will run from Friday, July 13 thru Monday July 23rd. Gift bags will be shipped mid-July from California.