2017 has been an exciting year for Craft Industry Alliance and today, as the year draws to a close, we wanted to look back at some of the highlights.
A live webinar taught by an expert is a fantastic opportunity to develop your skills and get your questions answered in real time. This year conducted 12 webinars on a whole variety of topics relevant to craft business owners including:
- Choosing an insurance policy for your small business
- How to use Tailwind to grow your visual marketing presence
- Wholesale for craft businesses
- Facebook ads the right way
- Producing you own online video class
- Overcoming customer service challenges
- How to negotiate (even if you hate conflict)
- Take a peek into retail life with a panel of brick-and-mortar shop owners
- Harness the power of podcasts to boost your business
- Photo shoot A-Z
- Showcase your brand on Instagram using Planoly
- How to plan and conduct your best workshop ever
These webinars were all recorded and are available for CIA members to watch anytime.
Getting legal questions answered is tricky (and expensive) for small business owners so we’re proud to have conducted two legal Q&A sessions with attorney Kiffanie Stahle this year. Members submitted questions and Kiffanie answered them live on the air.
Every two weeks we publish a professionally written digital journal. Articles focus on business best practices as well as industry news and analysis. Our top five most popular posts this year were:
- Craftsy Will Offer a Subscription Model in 2018
- 5 Hot Craft Trends Spotted at Creativation
- Pay Cuts for Michaels Teachers Put a Damper on an Already Frustrating Job
- McCall’s Simplicity Merger Points to the Market Impact of Independent Sewing Pattern Companies
- Etsy Sellers Will Have to Shift to New Payments Platform or Have Privileges Revoked
Each journal issue also includes a resource. These are pieces of content you can use right now and include everything from lists of wholesale suppliers to editable spreadsheets. We’ve been building up our library of skeleton contracts that members can download, edit, and use for their own needs. This year we added a teaching contract, a design agreement, and a non-disclosure agreement. We also aim to save our members time by doing the legwork to find the best sources for products. This year we rounded up the best places to get stickers printed, created a list of distributors who carry craft products, looked at the best payroll and time clock software, and rounded up the best trade shows and conferences in the industry.
We continually add to our library of member benefits which are discounts on products and services commonly used by small businesses. This year we were able to add a discount on membership to the Studio Art Quilt Associates (SAQA) as well as a discounted subscription to UPPERCASE magazine. In January we’ll be adding discounts on the Adobe Creative Suite and Shutterfly so look out for those.
One of our ongoing goals is to build community among CIA members. We held a Coffee Klatsch meetup twice a month to give members a chance to get to know one another, brainstorm ideas, and seek support for business challenges. Members also had the opportunity to ask questions in our online forums. Our forums have been a bit of a challenge due to the popularity of interacting on other social media platforms such as Facebook and we’re continuing to work through solutions to make this aspect of our organization more active.
Kristin and I want to thank everyone who was part of Craft Industry Alliance this year including our freelance writers, webinar presenters, Coffee Klatsch facilitator, copy editor, graphic designers, and, of course, each and every member. Each of you have played a vital role in making Craft Industry Alliance into a vibrant organization and we look forward to an exciting 2018!
Learn more about becoming a member of Craft Industry Alliance here. New members get instant access to our archives. And if you have any questions about whether membership might be right for you, please email us at: hello (at) craftindustryalliance.org