Berwyn Makers

Local support and resources for turning your craft or art into a business


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June Meeting! Refine Your Elevator Pitch!

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Join us Thursday, June 12th for an interactive meeting where we’ll work on our elevator pitches — you know, that short explanation of what you do.

Here’s some background reading:

http://faso.com/fineartviews/27578/the-elevator-speech

http://www.artbizblog.com/2013/07/artist-why.html

When: June 12, 7:30-9:30pm

Where: Unity Lutheran Church, 6720 W 31st Street, Berwyn (upstairs in the Carolina Room)

Bring: Your lovely selves and a snack to share

We hope to see you there!

Here’s a link to a sharable flyer:  https://www.smore.com/q86cf

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What Berwyn Makers is All About, Why We’re Different

At Berwyn Makers, we have guest speakers, but other times, we, the members, are the experts.

Our members have a tremendous amount of knowledge and experience to share and we all benefit when we have meetings that are discussions, such as our recent Pricing Game meeting.

At that meeting, we each brought in products we sell (or plan to) and everyone else wrote down the price we thought it should sell for. A very useful conversation followed.

For our May meeting, we planned out the coming year, but we also had a terrific conversation about the best direction for the group to go.

We love our guest speakers, but don’t want to do that every month, because the magic of this group is in the interaction.

We decided that half of our meetings will be the interactive kind.

If you’re up for that, please join us! We’re about supporting each other and moving our businesses forward. You’re welcome no matter what stage your business is in.

I hope to meet you in June, when we’ll be refining our elevator speeches!

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Here’s a snippet from our May newsletter, written by Lisa Polderman:

We had a productive discussion in our May meet up where we brainstormed topics for future meetings and caught up on where we are with our respective businesses.

We will focus on elevator pitches in our June 12 meeting. Everyone will bring their pitch (rough drafts are welcome!) and we’ll practice in small and large groups until you feel confident. The other participants will provide friendly feedback and encouragement.

In future meetings we plan to address the following topics:

  • Teaching – how to set up your own classes and look for places to teach (guest speaker)
  • Build a profile of your ideal customer/client (audience)
  • Problem-solving – bring a problem you are working on and get more minds working on it
  • Online profile – have folks review your online profile pages and give feedback
  • Craft shows (guest speaker)
  • Photography (workshop / critique)
  • Presentation materials – have folks review your presentation materials and give feedback
  • Pricing
  • Headshots

If you have a topic or issue you’d like us to address, please send it along to poldapop@gmail.com.


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May Meeting! May 8th

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Greetings, Makers!

Our May meeting snuck up on us and we’re only just sending you this reminder email (sorry for the delay!). We hope that you will be able to join us this Thursday, May 8th, at 7:30pm.

We plan to debrief about how we’re using the budgeting information that Tracy gave us in the last two meetings and get feedback on topics you’d like to learn about going forward.  

When: May 8, 7:30-9:30pm

Where: Unity Lutheran Church, 6720 W 31st Street, Berwyn (upstairs in the Carolina Room)

Bring: Your lovely selves and a snack to share

We hope to see you there!


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April Meeting: Budget Follow-up

Please join us on Thursday, April 10 at 7:30pm to continue our conversation about budgets. Tracy Bostrom, President of Cigal Concepts, will be on hand to answer questions about your individual budget, from setting goals to planning the details. Tracy is offering a wonderful service to our members and friends and I hope that you will all come take advantage of it!

If you missed Part 1 of our budget meetings, please follow the links to access Tracy’s talk and sample spreadsheet.

Tracy’s talk with BerwynMakers
Tracy’s Sample Budget Spreadsheet

I have personally found this budget information to be very helpful. As I work towards making my craft a full-time job, a budget helps me get realistic and stay on track from month to month. I know what I need to hustle and when I need to hustle. I hope it will be just as useful to all of you.

When: Thursday, April 10, 7:30-9:30pm
Where: Unity Lutheran Church, 6720 31st Street, Berwyn (use middle door on north side of building)
Cost: Free!

We hope to see you there!


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March Meeting: Celebrate Pi with Pie!

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This month’s meeting will be on the eve of Pi Day, which of course you know is 3.14! (that’s March 14th, so our Pi Day meeting will be Thursday, March 13th.)

How else to celebrate but with pie! We’ll supply a pie or two, plus all the plates, cups and napkins and such. Please email us or sign up in the comments if you can bring drinks or pie.

Why pie? Well, we’re fun like that, plus we wanted to give you an extra incentive to attend this meeting on a financial planning theme, since we know it’s so important, but maybe not super sexy.

Our wonderful guest expert is Tracy Bostrom.

Her goal is to help small business owners successfully carry out the duties of Business Administrator of their own business. The topics she’ll talk with us about at the Pi/Pie meeting are:

Setting goals
Creating a business plan
Keeping records
Time management
Resource maintenance (YOU!)

You can learn more about Tracy on her website: CigalConcepts.com


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February Meeting: Play the How Much Should This Cost? Game

price tags

It’s a guessing game! Or, we could call it market research.

Here’s how it will work: Everyone bring a product that you currently sell, or would like to. We’ll all write down (secret ballot style!) what we think the price is.

This could be super valuable to you!

We’ll follow up the game with a conversation about pricing challenges and strategies.

If you have special packaging or story cards/tags for your product, bring those too, give the full picture.

Do join us! The more, the merrier!

When: Thursday, Feb. 13th, 7:30-9:30.

Where: The usual place, wine, water and snacky things always appreciated. Hope to see you there!

Unity Lutheran Church at 6720 31st Street in Berwyn,upstairs in the Carolina Room. Enter through the doorway on 31st street (middle of building).

Upcoming Meetings:

March 13th Pi Day Eve! We’ll Eat Pie and begin our series on budgeting and big picture money management, with a guest expert.

April 10th Budgeting and money management part two.

May 8th Craft fairs. Which ones? How to choose? Interactive meeting.

And, as we did last year, we’ll continue to meet through the summer.

Photo credit link.


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Social Media Resources: Follow up to Berwyn Makers at Berwyn Art Council

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Your Berwyn Makers contributors, Lisa Polderman and Elaine Luther were asked to be part of the Berwyn Arts Council meeting, which was on social media for artists.

The nice folks at BAC served up chili, corn bread and all the fixin’s! They know how to feed a crowd.

We met at the Route 66 Museum in Berwyn and answered questions about facebook, twitter, blogging, instagram and more.

I wanted to post some resources, as a follow up, for where attendees (and readers here) can go for further study.

Here’s where I turn when I have a question about a social media platform I use already, or when I need to master a new one:

Wired PR Works

Hub Spot Marketing Hub Spot has a ton of free ebooks, tutorials and blog posts on how to use various social media platforms. Yes, they’re promoting their services, but if you’re a total newbie to a platform, their ebooks are an easy to understand guide. Ready for more? They also have intermediate and advanced guides.

All Facebook This is where I turn when I have a facebook question. They’re the experts, so I don’t have to be.

Another resource we mentioned last night: WordPress.tv to learn how to use WordPress.

We touched briefly on publishing an email newsletter, you can find some resources and advice on that on the ArtBiz Blog.

Lisa and I both agree that social media can be overwhelming and it’s best to choose the ones you enjoy and focus on those, especially at first. Then add more.

I also advocate for at least token participation in some platforms, if you can’t manage a handcrafted participation in all of them. For example, if you’re not big on twitter, you can use HootSuite or another tool to automatically post on twitter when you have a new blog post. Why not make it easy for people to follow you in their favorite places?

Here are more observations from last night’s meeting:

Most of us are a little scattershot in our approach to social media. Most of us are really good at one or two platforms and completely ignoring some other important platforms.

Most of us could benefit from sitting down and writing a social media plan, planning to invest some time in mastering new platforms and in general being more strategic about our social media use.

Even though most artists are one person businesses, I would suggest writing a plan as if you had staff. Imagine you have to communicate to your team what your company’s story is, what kind of information you share on each platform. This will force you to think it out. If you know what your plan is, you’ll do a better job of executing that plan.

One last resource for you, I have a blog post, Artists Who are Great at Blogging their Artistic Process and How You Can Be Too that may help you.

And here’s that post I mentioned on legal advise when it comes to posting images of your artwork online.

Photo via the stock xchng


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Thanks to Candace!

At our January meeting, blogger Candace Caldwell of the ReFab Diaries advised us on all kinds of blogging and social media, surprising some by starting out with the suggestion that maybe blogging isn’t right for some of us after all!

Not much of a writer? That’s okay, Candace says pictures are terrific and there are so many ways to share pictures,on or off of a blog.

And so much more! Be sure to join us for a future meeting to gain all the secrets shared by our guest speakers!


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January Meeting: Blogging with Candice Caldwell

Candice Caldwell

Our next meeting is January 9 and will feature guest speaker and blogger Candice Caldwell! She’s the writer and crafter behind Refab Diaries and has much to teach us. Even though I’m an experienced blogger, I’m sure I’ll learn new things from her.

Let’s get to know Candice, here’s part of her bio:

I’m a South African currently living in Chicago. I’m a maker and a doer and a mother. I’ve been an academic, a waitress, a reading teacher, a “lunch lady”, a linguist, a brand-name consultant and a copywriter. I’ve called places on four different continents “home”. I love words, craft beer (with names like Ruination, Mischief etc) and good coffee. And books. Big fan of books. I even admit to hoarding children’s picture books.

For all the disparate elements, one thing has been a more-or-less constant in my life: the need to “make do”, “be frugal”, “save for a rainy day” … because then I can simply enjoy the rain for what it is. I think almost a decade in academia (with no credit card!) will do this to you – you learn to be poor. You learn to make, and do, and make do.


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Berwyn Makers + Craftivism = Awesome

At Berwyn Makers, one of the goals we have yet to achieve is doing some sort of charitable works, as a group.  We’re thinking at least once a year.

So this post on Crafting a Green World caught my eye, and the story takes place in the Chicago area, though the blog is not local.

This project involves crocheting, we’re maybe thinking about something that involves sewing, it seems that many of us sew.

http://craftingagreenworld.com/2013/11/16/craftivism-action-upcycled-sleeping-mats-chicagos-homeless

What do you think?  What crafty giving projects are you aware of?  Which ones have the most impact, and yet can be done with easily obtainable (hopefully donated) materials?

Please comment, thanks!

P.S.  For any quilters out there, do you know about Quilts for Kids?  They’ll send you all the fabric, already cut!