How the CIA leads my creative business (and probably has my house wire tapped)
WEFTY is web native. This means my creative business was born on Instagram posts and reared in my Etsy shop and YouTube videos. I suppose if we follow this metaphor to its natural conclusion, I'd be fair in saying that WEFTY was weaned as soon as I began selling wholesale to local quilt shops and to a distributor. What started as me selling a few sets of WEFTY Needles a month to Instagram followers through PayPal invoices has led to me packaging orders each month to Checker Distributors and retailers.
Being web native means I started my business in my garage and eventually graduated to the basement. I am a one-woman show, and a one-woman show needs support.
I've had a whole lot of coaches throughout this process, including my husband and his parents, my mom, daughters, sisters and their kids, and countless friends. Coaches encourage, prod, advise, remind, and give so much advice. They'll even help you pack orders! I wouldn't trade my coaches for the world.
That said, I've had one clear leader over the last three years: the Craft Industry Alliance. When I call the CIA my business leader, what I mean is this resource group has been my teacher, my professional example, and my confidant. Imagine gaining access to professionals across the entire creative industry by logging into one web site. I've got that.
The CIA knows all the challenges I'm facing in my business before or as I'm facing them. (I recommend them to other creative business owners by joking that they're more effective at espionage than that other CIA!)
- When I was considering submitting to magazines to help promote my business, they posted a comprehensive list of magazine contacts for submissions. Designers asked questions in the forums about magazine contracts and how to source materials. I pitched to magazines fully prepared.
- As demand for WEFTY Needles grew, my 3D printer showed the effects of wear and tear. My husband began coaching me to make the move to manufacturing. Both the CIA and co-founder Abby Glassenberg explored small batch manufacturing and how Etsy shops can make the move to manufactured items. They explored the surprising ways manufacturing affects pricing. I took this incredibly huge and scary next step with confidence.
- I had a copyright issue and knew exactly how to deal with it effectively, with kindness and professionalism. All because the CIA worked with attorneys to educate members on what we are able to copyright and how to deal with infringement.
If you are a creative business owner - whether you organize retreats, design patterns, dye yarn, develop new craft tools, or make stuffed animals - I recommend this group to you without reservation. If you know me in real life, you know this already. If not, you do now!
Some other perks (besides mind-reading):
- Free webinars led by industry leaders
- Resource library
- Forums (I once asked about getting acrylic templates cut and got several helpful recommendations!)
- Private Facebook group
You can join today by using this affiliate link: Join the CIA
Or, you can ask questions below to help you consider this next step for your business. I'm happy to answer questions I know the answer to, and ask the co-founders for answers to the questions I don't. They are very responsive, so I'll get back to you soon.
In case Abby or Kristin are reading this, thank you for creating this group. I am eternally grateful!