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Saturday, July 16, 2011

The BlogHer Handmade Conference in St Paul, MN

Being an Artist/Designer/Crafter and being an Entrepreneur are two very different things. In many ways it can be the most challenging of combinations to master simply because each requires using a different hemisphere of your brain. Most of us are naturally either left or right brained meaning one side dominates how we process and respond to information.

Most artists/designers/crafters are "right-brained" thinkers. We are wired to tap into the creative side of our brains that allows us to use imagination to express ourselves through non-verbal forms of communication like art and design. We are also more likely to use intuition and emotion to problem solve.

Being a successful entrepreneur requires the opposite. Many business practices require tapping into the left side of the brain where logic, working with numbers, linear thinking and language skills reside.

An oversimplified comparison would be to say that artists are typically right brained thinkers and scientists are left brained.

I'm sure back in College my split would have been more like 30% - 70%

For instance here are my results from a fun right vs. left brain test I just took online. IMO the description is spot on:
". . . In addition to being known as right-brained, you are also known as a creative thinker who uses feeling and intuition to gather information. You retain this information through the use of images and patterns. You are able to visualize the "whole" picture first, and then work backwards to put the pieces together to create the "whole" picture. (This is exactly how I used to make bridal accessories! I'd see it in my mind then figure out how to do it.) Your thought process can appear quite illogical and meandering. The problem-solving techniques that you use involve free association, which is often very innovative and creative. . ."
So what's a right-brained small business owner to do? IMO to be a successful creative entrepreneur means improving your left-brain skills enough to launch and brand your company. You may discover you enjoy these facets of running your business or you may do them only until you are able to afford to hire those who are naturally gifted in these areas. This means you may eventually hire a book keeper, marketing director, sales team, PR company, web developer, etc. so you are able to spend all of your time doing what you do best: Creating.

When I was contacted by BlogHer to see if I'd be interested in being a guest panelist at their inaugural "BlogHer Handmade" conference in partnership with The Creative Connection this September I felt super excited mostly because I feel I can relate 100% to the challenges fledging, creative, small business owners face. I haven't just walked a mile in those shoes, I've done a marathon!

The event will be an immersion experience in many of the left brained skills designers need to refine to become successful entrepreneurs. Sessions at BlogHer Handmade include:
  • Your Social Media Solar System
  • Building Community Around Craft
  • Using Content and Community to Grow Your Reach
  • Using Technology to Grow Your Reach: Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
  • Introduction to Monetization Models for Creative Bloggers: Craft + Money: The Next Steps
  • The Intersection of Craft, Passion and Sustainability
  • Social Media and Business Panels, Tech Workshops and Business Roundtables – for every level of expertise
  • Hands-On Workshops – in knitting, jewelry, sewing, crochet, mixed media, painting, photography, design and more
  • Food Panels and Classes - including Market Place floor demonstrations
  • Pitch Slams
  • Shopping – THE CREATIVE CONNECTION Market Place is open to the general public as well as TCC attendees. Come shop, see demos and participate in all of the great activities we have in store for you!

I'll be part of the first breakout session on the first day of the conference. It's a panel discussion titled:


"Website, Blog, Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, Etsy, Tumblr, LinkedIn, Instagram, Pinterest, etc. The social media universe keeps expanding, and most of us swing between thinking we obviously must use every single tool and app out there to raise our profile and thinking that it’s all a waste of time without any return on the investment of our time and energy. The answer may be to choose one or two platforms to be the sun in your social media solar system and let all of the other tools and apps and channels be the planets and satellites that revolve around your primary platform. This panel will review the various social media opportunities and their strengths and weaknesses as a vehicle to feature your crafty work."
Other Special Events Include:
  • Book Launch – Where Women Cook: Celebrate! 
  • DIYDISH – Live filming
  • Where Bloggers Create – Karen Valentine
  • Event Meals – including keynote speakers, expert panels and decorations to match!
The Keynote Speakers at
The Creative Connection - BlogHer Handmade Conference

For all the details and to register to attend visit The Creative Connections Event Website at www.thecreativeconnectionevent.com

The Creative Connection Event
September 15th through 17th, 2011
Crown Plaza Hotel
St Paul, MInnesota

Sept. 15th
BlogHer Handmade Social Media Panels

Sept. 16th & 17th
TCC 60 Handmade Workshops

Sept. 16th
Vogue Knitting Day - 20 knitting workshops

Sept. 17th
MaryJanesFarm Day - 20 food and cooking classes

Sept. 16th & 17th
Market Place - The place for unique handmade items, products, food demonstrations, and over 48 of your favorite authors autographing their books.

For more schedule details CLICK HERE

I had to add I've never been to Minnesota before but  have always wanted to travel there. Especially since one of my all time favorite crafting/designer shops, Rosemille, moved from Willow Glen, CA to Stillwater, MN a few years ago. (If the name sounds familiar it may be because I recently mentioned taking a hand beading class at Rosemille in this blog post.)

If you're a crafter or designer I think you'll love them too. You can visit their website and shop online at www.Rosemille.com

If you're in Stillwater:

Rose Mille
125 South Main Street
Stillwater, Minnesota 55082

Shop Hours (as of 7/16/11):
Sun - 2:00 to 5:00
Mon - 2:00 to 5:00
Tue - Shut
Wed- Shut
Thu - 10:00 to 6:00
Fri - 10:00 to 6:00
Sat - 10:00 to 6:00

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