The Crafty Business Network is a Barnsley networking group for anyone that has a craft related business, interest, or business idea, etc. We caught up with Steph who originally set up the group to find out more.
How did the Crafty Business Network begin?
When I first started my graphic design business, Black Bee Creative, I had to network to get clients. The events I went to were sometimes rather full-on and it made me quite uncomfortable.
After searching for something that I felt more ‘me’ I went to the Sheffield Crafty Business group and was completely sold on the concept. Rachel Ferla, who started that group suggested I start one in Barnsley and it’s just taken on a life of it’s own! It is now a business in it’s own right, which I run with my business partner Tracey Mawson.
The concept has evolved quite a bit since the Sheffield days but the craft community is still at the heart of everything we do. For example, at our meetings we got feedback from the group that there aren’t enough high quality craft fairs in the area, so we started holding regular Crafty Business Makers Markets at Penistone Barn to fill that need.
How can you become a member of the network and what benefits can you receive?
The Facebook group is open to anyone who is creative and has a business, or is thinking of starting one. Just join the group and we will accept you. https://www.facebook.com/groups/CraftyBizBarnsley/
We now have a solid base of 650+ members in the group and we have a wealth of knowledge between us. It’s a great community to be part of if you would like to share ideas, problems and discuss solutions on both crafting and business.
What are some of the best workshops and talks that have been on?
We try to give members help with all different aspects of running a craft business, so they are quite varied.
Amy Law from Amy Law Photography gave a great practical product photography workshop. Amy showed us how to make our own DIY photography studios using paper and card utilising the natural light in our homes all with the humble smartphone! She talked us through the planning stage, lighting, backgrounds, colour, editing and resizing, so really covered everything to help us take our photography to the next level.
Rose Chambers runs a craft supplies shop based in Leeds, called Unwrap Colour. Rose shared her secrets on how to create a thriving Etsy store in a talk last year. It was the busiest meeting we’ve ever had! She went through the basics of running an Etsy shop, useful resources including information about photography, Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) and even things like how to pitch your ideas to bloggers.
Lisa Rowley from White Apple Thinking has talked at a couple of meetings before. She always gets us inspired and encourages us to ask lots of deep questions about ourselves and our businesses!
Hey Clay! We recently held some workshops for the general public to create our community artwork celebrating the regrowth of Barnsley. This ‘Hey Clay!’ event was run in conjunction with the Crafts Council and the BBC.
Tracey Mawson from Crafty Business is a ceramic artist so it was right up her street! She enlisted fellow ceramicist Sarah Jones-Morris to help deliver the workshops where members of the public made ceramic leaves and flowers which will be brought together to create a large collaborative community artwork to be installed at the Digital Media Centre this Summer. When complete, people will be able to come and see the artwork. A list of the hundreds of budding artists who have taken part in the project will also be displayed.
What can we expect at the market events?
We want the Crafty Business Makers Markets to be a celebration of all kinds of creativity. As you would expect we have lots of craft stalls, we also encourage stallholders to give demonstrations of their craft to engage visitors. We only accept stalls selling original and innovative handmade items, so the quality is very high.
We also have live music from local musicians and creative activities for adults and kids. We’ve had demonstrations of fused glass, chocolate and pyrography in the past. Creative activities have included a potters wheel and pom-pom making – it’s a real mixed bag!
Our next Makers Market is on the 4th of June at the Penistone Market Barn. We are open for stallholders to apply for a stand, follow this link to apply: https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/XTJ5RHS
What future talks, workshops and events can we expect to see?
We are lining up lots more exciting events for the rest of the year! We’ve got Makers Markets at Penistone Barn on 20th August, 8th October and 26th November.
We’ve been asked by Etsy for the Etsy Made Local market again which will be held in December, and with this in mind we will be arranging another Etsy workshop for members before then.
Plus, Google have asked us if we’d like to host some of their training sessions, which is incredibly exciting!
A completely different event we’re doing is a crafty de-stash event in July, where members can swap/sell their unwanted or preloved craft supplies.
What are the future plans for the crafty business network?
We’re building a website which will be a hub where people can find information about what we do, apply for Makers Markets and have a directory of crafters.
We are working on a paid membership option which will include business resources, plus discounts for workshops and local businesses etc.
We’d also like to branch out to have Crafty Business groups in different areas one day.