6 Eye-Opening Business Lessons From School House Craft

School House Craft
Photo by gatherandhunt

While I’m a homebody, I’ll admit that nothing compares to getting out and meeting your colleagues, clients, and community in person. We spent a recent weekend doing just that at School House Craft in Seattle.

Aeolidia table at School House
Aeolidia table (photo by @schoolhousecon)

Shoshanna and I set up a booth for Aeolidia (with our new branding, ee!), taught two classes, attended classes, ate cupcakes, and enjoyed happy hour. This was my first time setting up a booth, and I ended up with no pictures. Luckily, some have been shared on social media, and I’m including those in my post.

At our table, we had postcards, business cards, an iPad set up with Chimpadeedoo (an app that lets people sign up to our MailChimp mailing list), and a laptop showing a slide show of some of our favorite Aeolidia sites. We also had a groovy new vinyl banner showing off our new logo!

Creativity and community were the themes of the day. The first day’s keynote was by the Awesome Foundation, a crazy group of people who gather investors to each contribute $100 so they can fund awesome projects at $1000 each. Learn more about the Awesome Foundation here. The second day, we heard from Make It Productions, a craft fair in Canada, and fellow Oh My! contributor (hello, Jenna!).

Well, I learned a lot! From the teachers, from the students, and from my own self somehow. It really does seem that you can hear advice over and over, but not really hear it until you’ve reached a point where you’re ready to use it. I found myself giving advice at this event that I was finally ready to take myself (that’s been happening a lot this year).

My favorite kind of advice is the kind where you smack your head and say, “of course!” when you hear it, but it’s something you hadn’t thought of on your own. I saw a lot of head-smacking during this conference!

Photo by
Photo by @schoolhousecon

What I (re)learned at School House Craft:

Marlo's wholesale class
Marlo’s wholesale class (photo by assembleshop)
  • It’s not what you make, it’s how you sell it – see how stories affect purchasing.
  • The businesses that stay afloat are the ones who love solving the problems – advice a painter got from Marie Forleo.
  • Your business ends up not being so much about the actual product you sell, because you spend so much time working on your business itself, so you have to be interested in all the rest that goes with running the business to be successful.
  • When demand increases, you don’t always have to increase supply – you could instead raise your pricing.
  • There are people at every level of entrepreneurship! Things that I’ve been dismissing writing about due to being “too obvious” would be very helpful for many people.
  • Sit your friends, family, or strangers down to test your website – you are too close to it yourself.

What I’ll be doing about it:

I have a couple of pages in my notebook filled with fascinating topics to discuss with you all via my newsletter. We’ll be talking about the fallacy of a “magic moment” for your business, how to speak to your audience (and what about), pricing your work, growing your audience, why you should be glad when someone unsubscribes from your mailing list, and the simplest way to get what you want. Please sign up!

What I am curious about:

During Jenna’s high-energy talk about crafters, passion, and starting a business doing what you love, she mentioned that creativity is a rare gift, and if you happen to have it, you should use it. I’ve been wondering about this. Do you think this is so? Are only certain people born creative, and are they capable of something that others are not? Or are most/all people born with the ability to think creatively, and it’s just a matter of practice, priorities, or interest?

I would love to hear what all of your creative types think about this!

10 comments

  1. Susan D1408 says:

    I think it’s both. My family has always encouraged imagination and crafting. I know a lot of children that don’t paint, make & craft at home. The kids so much time in clubs they don’t even know how to play. These children will be at a disadvantage when it comes to creating because they have missed out on all the starting blocks.

  2. colleen attara says:

    I so love the part about the product story…really powerful. Thank you for this large takeaway and reminder on a Monday morning over coffee….that link is amazing. i need to really think about this.

  3. Bee Eastman says:

    My feeling is that not everyone is creative or artistic. Some are more capable of expressing themselves with words than actions. I like that you’ve gone out and listened to groups and gotten involved and are bringing back some interesting topics for us. The new logo looks terrific and cannot wait to see the unveiling of the entire site. Thanks for sharing.

  4. Darice says:

    I think this point: “There are people at every level of entrepreneurship! Things that I’ve been dismissing writing about due to being “too obvious” would be very helpful for many people.” hits me in the face on a regular basis…one of these days it might just sink in.

    As far as your question goes, I think we are all born with creativity. If you leave some crayons + paper (or play-doh) on a table there are so few people who won’t touch them – it’s built in. We want to explore + touch + create. I think the reason some folks don’t is because they think they ‘can’t’…with a little encouragement they’ll often pick up a crayon too. 🙂

  5. I think that we are all creative. I think that some just have not realized it yet. I was a scientist for years and never thought of myself as being creative. After having my son and changing careers, I realized that I am super creative. I think it just takes some people a while to figure it all.

    Great tips!

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