Support and camaraderie are important when you run a handmade business. Becoming active in my nearby creative community has allowed me to make new friends, find out about opportunities, and become more business savvy- all while having fun! Here are some ideas to get you started.
Join Groups and Clubs
Almost every city has groups for crafters, so look online and in art stores to see when and where they meet. Where I live (Chicago) there are all kinds of organizations- from crochet groups to glass blowing collectives to pottery guilds. In addition to craft-specific clubs, there are also small business support groups that will help you meet others in the same field while getting crucial advice. Your city might have a group that fits your needs, and if it doesn’t then consider starting one!
Network on Social Media
Social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter have really allowed me to grow my circle of craft and business associates. There are online groups that are location-based, so you can chat, post questions, and stay in the loop about your city. Some of these groups even put on their own craft shows and networking events. You can also market your own business in many of these teams- just be sure to always follow the set rules for posting.
Participate in Shows
Craft shows and art fairs are a great way to network and make new friends in your field. Chatting with other vendors will help you find out about upcoming events, store openings, meetings, and more! I’ve also connected with shoppers at shows and craft fairs- from bloggers to fashion stylists to store owners. You never know who you’ll meet! Remember to always bring business cards with you, and ask others for their card so you can contact them later.
Learning a new craft or expanding your business knowledge will not only teach you new skills, but you will also meet other artists in your area. Many art centers, craft stores, and boutiques offers classes, so check around to see what interests you. Going by yourself is fine, or you can bring a friend to keep you company.
I hope these tips help you join your local craft community!
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