As I know that many of my readers are in fact crafters themselves with blogs, websites and Etsy-Stores, I thought I'd share with you a new kind of trade organisation, based in the US, from which I benefit greatly. I have been a member of the Craft Industry Alliance since well over a year now. The CIA provides support and handy resources for craft professionals. No matter how small their businesses are. So let's explore some of the benefits of becoming a member!
For me, the best part of the CIA is their Coffee Klatsch. It is held twice a month and for the duration of 45 minutes we meet in an online meeting room. This is great, great fun! As we all know, crafting can be a lonely business. Sure you'll communicate with your costumers, but how many of us have fellow crafterpreneur friends? I for instance live very rural and although I am in several local artisan organisations, they are heavily geared towards wood carving and painting. In addition, marketing, social media and webshop are not their cup of tea. Contrary, the attendees of the Coffee Klatsch are usually much more advanced with their marketing and social media strategies than I am. After all, most of them are Americans and especially social media is and has been a part of their lives for a much longer time. This provides a great learning opportunity for me with lots of friendly mentors. And most of them are female and work with textiles, just like me. The times of the Coffee Klatsches generally suit me well as they tend to be in the evenings for Western Europeans and mid-day for Americans.
Another great resource is the CIA Journal which comes out twice a month. This is a fantastic online resource with many interesting topics. Although Insurance or Tax issues are always written from an US point of view, points raised make you think about your own business and how this is regulated in your country of residence. Since we are artistic people, we tend to put off dealing with the nitty-gritty...
The Journal always comes with a resource. This is often a Checklist or a list of organisations covering a particular article in the Journal. I especially liked the checklist on how to gain more subscribers for your mailing list. It contained many obvious points which I had NOT implemented yet. After all, we as solopreneurs tend to wear many hats and not all we have to do now was taught to us in school. Or how about a checklist on starting and nurturing your own Facebook Group? Since Facebook has changed its algorithm, Business Pages get less 'weight' in your newsfeed making it harder for businesses to get noted (I have seen a dramatic drop in referrals to my website since this has been put in place :(.).
And last, but not least there are the Webinars with knowledgeable people on a specific topic. Although these are live events, they are also recorded and kept in the archive (just as the past issues of the Journals are!). These webinars contain a wealth of information. I particularly liked the one on making short videos. The idea of starting my own YouTube-Channel is a bit daunting. Especially as I had no idea where to start! Thanks to this webinar, I now have an idea of how to make this happen in the not too distant future :).
I hope this blog post with my personal experiences with Craft Industry Alliance has given you an idea of the benefits of becoming a member! Why not click the below link and join today:
This blog post contains affiliate links. If you decide to become a CIA-member and you used one of the links in this article, Märchenhaftes Sticken - Jessica Grimm gets a small kick-back. Thank you in advance!
P.S.: I only received three positive comments on my blog post last week regarding making thread cards for Heathway Milano Crewel wool. Since making such real thread cards would take me a very long time, I am at present not willing to undertake this task whilst interest is so low.
Jessica M. Grimm
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