Networking Events & Conferences For Crafters & Designers

I’ve got a lot of business travel coming up this month (which you can get the details of at the bottom of this post), and I wanted to share what I get out of attending conferences and learning events. I’ve attended quite a few conferences for crafters and creatives in the last few years, and they’ve all been good experiences.

Are you wondering why you should leave the comfort and safety of your usual work routine to get to know some new folks? Here’s why that’s a good idea.

P.S. I have a $100 discount coupon for you at the bottom of this post, so keep on reading!

Want to learn, grow, and gather allies?

Here are just a few of the reasons you might want to attend an in-person event:

Learning: Most conferences are focused around learning new skills, such as blogging, pricing, production methods, social media, ecommerce, etc. Even if all you do is sit and take notes, it will have been worth your while. But being together in a room full of your creative colleagues offers so much more!

New ideas & inspiration: Just chatting with other creative people is going to spark so many new ideas for your own business! My pen is always flying through my notebook when I attend an event like this, and I come up with lots of ideas I wouldn’t have hit on sitting by myself in my office.

Support: Your family and friends may not understand what your work is like, what struggles you have, and what you worry about. Getting some support and backup from people who do what you do is a great feeling.

Collaboration: Beyond getting new ideas and support from your peers, this is a rich opportunity to strike up collaborations, whether they be a combined product (I’m in love with the collaboration between Baby Jives Co. and Mount Royal Mint, below), a guest posting relationship, a podcast, an interview, or even a new event or business.

Promotion: Of course you can get your name out there at conferences by handing out business cards, chatting with people, and being introduced to people that your own friends and acquaintances know. If you’ve been having the hard time catching the attention of someone you admire online, walking up in person and shaking hands can take care of that!

Finding out how you can help: People are at a conference because they’d like some help! I get a lot of value out of listening to where people are stuck or confused. I often turn these conversations into blog posts, newsletters, or new service offerings at Aeolidia.

Are you interested in teaching?

If you’ve been hard at your work for a number of years, you may feel like you have a lot to share, and that you’d like to help out people at the beginning of the path you’ve gone down. There are so many great ways to do this, and it’s one of the things I appreciate about the creative community: people who are willing to share what worked for them and help others be successful without feeling competitive.

Here are some ideas for ways you can share your knowledge and experience:

  • Speak or teach at conferences
  • Teach a class on Skillshare
  • Join a networking or business group
  • Start a blog and/or a newsletter focused on business
  • See if your local community center is looking for teachers or mentors

Where you can meet Aeolidia this year:

I’ll be teaching at these events:

Nearly Impossible conference

Nearly Impossible
Saturday, September 20 2014
San Francisco, CA
(use code aeolidia100 for $100 off)

“An event for companies that make physical products.” At the Heath Ceramics warehouse (also one in NYC in October that Zoe on our team will attend). We attended this last year and it was incredible. I’ll be a member of the Expert Lab, talking about selling online.

School House Craft

School House Craft
September 27-28 2014
Seattle, WA

“Schooling you in the business of craft.” Lots of great information here, particularly for crafters who are somewhat new to business. This event was packed with information last time. This year we’ll be teaching a class on getting started selling online.

Oh My! Maker's Retreat

Oh My! Maker’s Retreat
October 17-22 2014
Cortes Island, BC, CA

“Come make: memories, discoveries, friends, art, magic.” Besides the glorious surroundings and the inspiring people, this conference will cut out the fluff and boring stuff, making it all about the talking, collaborating, teaching, and learning. I’ll be teaching, and the last day there will be a market for attendees to shop and sell.


Dream Rock retreatDream Rock
February 4-6 2015
Sedona, AZ

“You have a passion. You have a dream. You are determined to make it a reality.” This one is an intimate retreat with a beautiful red rock backdrop. I’ll be teaching a workshop and plan to sneak in some natural splendor as well.

I would be delighted to see you at any of these events! I think all of them will be valuable experiences, and there is just nothing like hanging out with other creative types to get you fired up about your business.

What events or conferences do you attend and recommend? What questions do you have about it?