We’re thrilled to announce our 2021 Craft Industry Alliance Scholarship recipients. We launched our scholarship program last year in an effort to make Craft Industry Alliance membership available to creative small business owners who would benefit from the resources and community support we offer, regardless of financial means. This is the second year of the program and, like last year, reading through the applications was truly inspiring! We had applicants from every area of craft including upcycling, quilting, jewelry, garment sewing, rug hooking, spinning and dyeing, paper crafting, and more. Some were at the beginning stages of their business, and some were further along. We had high school and college students, mid-career professionals, and retirees starting on a brand new path.
Six applicants truly stood out and we’re thrilled to offer them one-year memberships. Each recipient has their own hopes and aspirations for their craft business and we can’t wait to welcome them into the Craft Industry Alliance community. Thank you to the six recipients for granting us permission to share a bit about their stories so you can get to know their businesses and celebrate this special day along with us.
Whitney Manney is a fashion and textile designer based in Kansas City, Missouri. Her work is inspired by the aesthetics of street art and cultural movements that have shaped our urban landscape. All of her textile designs start as some type of hand process: drawing, photography, collage, embroidery, painting, etc. She then photograph the artwork and digitally manipulate it into fabric yardage. Whitney loves to paint on large canvases and then digitize the full portrait or motifs and build a pattern with it. Her dream production schedule for WM is to design and construct two seasonless ready-to-wear collections per year with art, accessory, and small good launches quarterly on WHITNEYMANNEY.com. Her vision to develop a sustainable fashion house in Kansas City is becoming a reality.
BicycleTrash LLC (est. 2015) is a DC-based brand of upcycled products, using parts collected from local bicycle repair shops to create new premium quality durable goods and accessories. Items are handmade by owner and maker Topaz M. Terry, using original designs. BicycleTrash is a proud member of the Made in DC Program and the Brookland Arts Walk. Goals for the future included expanding production capacity to support a more robust wholesale business.
Black Girls Sew was created in 2016 as an educational-based organization committed to having a positive impact on the lives of girls and young women through lessons in sewing, design, and entrepreneurship. While the name of the organization specifies a particular demographic, we welcome all young persons, (ages 10 – 17), who have the desire to learn about sustainable fashion and who wish to develop their craft. Their ‘Sew Green Summer Camp’ program is a 4 -week sewing and fashion industry workshop that is offered to NYC’s youth while schools are closed for summer break. During camp hours they provide basic – advanced sewing lessons, share resources and assist with sewing projects all to nurture the creative passions and business interests of our participants. Their plan is to open and operate a center for future makers, and fashion creatives to receive the education, assistance and support they need in order to grow their skills and talents in fashion.
Jilly & Kiddles is a small hand-dyed yarn company that focuses on yarn that is truly wearable and is inspired by nature and the colors that surround us. Jill started the company on Feb 1st, 2019 so most of the time she’s been in business has been during the pandemic, which has been a huge challenge. Generally, her business model included selling yarn through her website and vending at in-person craft and fiber shows, both large and small. She also offers wholesale to yarn stores around the country. When the pandemic struck, she changed my focus to try to connect more with her customers and the community through virtual events, stronger social media presence, sponsorships, and more behind the scenes offerings so her audience could get to know her even though they couldn’t meet each other in person. Clubs have been a wonderful area of growth for her business, so next year she plans to offer more as well.
Hayley started her rug hooking business in 2013 after graduating with an MFA in fine art and while working full time as a receptionist. She came from a long line of rug hooking artists and artist entrepreneurs and is continuing the tradition of this craft work with her own contemporary rug hooking kits and handmade supplies. She has grown her business into a full-time job (via online, in-person sales, as well as social media) and is seeing more traffic to her website and increasing sales every year. H\ayley would like to grow her business by making more online courses, finding appropriate advertising opportunities, and growing the wholesale parts of her business. She feels as though rug making is a trending market right now and she would like to take advantage of that.
Angie calls herself the Purple Craft Diva. She’s a craft blogger, and Etsy jewelry seller and she used to own a storefront bakery that shipped cakes country-wide. She’s been crafting since she was 10 and she started her first business in 5th grade called “Angela’s Creations” where she sold custom holiday shirts. Her business right now is all online: her blog, social media and YouTube. She is working to grow her email lists and sell digital craft tutorials. Angie also sells on Etsy. Her plan for her business is to expand my physical products offering and possiblly outsourcing production.