On today’s episode of the Craft Industry Alliance podcast, we’re talking about building a multi-faceted craft business with my guest Kathy Cano-Murillo.
Kathy Cano-Murillo is an author, artist & founder of the award-winning brand, CraftyChica. She spreads the gospel of glitter – literally through her DIY projects and figuratively through her speeches, workshops, books, and essays.
A former syndicated columnist for The Arizona Republic, she is now a full-time creativepreneur which has led to multiple Crafty Chica mass retail product lines, and collabs with Coca-Cola, HSN, HP, WordPress, Disney & many others. She has authored seven craft books, two novels, and recently, Forever Frida: A Celebration of the Life, Art, Loves, Words, and Style of Frida Kahlo. She has been featured in The New York Times, USA Today, Huffington Post, Buzzfeed+ more. Kathy is Mexican-American, a native of Phoenix, Arizona, mom of two, a wife, and owner of three Chihuahuas.
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In this interview, Kathy traces her long and varied career in the crafts industry. Kathy was born and raised in Phoenix and she talks about tapping into her creativity as a child in school through a teacher who recognized her creative writing skills. She went on to work collaboratively with her husband on a line or handmade goods, but when their products got too popular, fulfilling orders by hand became more than they wanted to handle.
Kathy got a job working at the Arizona Republic where she was able to begin writing a craft column that was nationally syndicated. She went to school at night to complete her college degree. Kathy started her blog, The Crafty Chica, to share her craft column tutorials with a wider audience and her blog was one of the very first craft blogs!
When she noticed that there were very few craft products on the market that were representative of Latino culture, Kathy decided to create her own. She talks about the process of licensing her designs to national retailers.
Kathy has always been interested in creative writing and dedicated herself to writing a series of novels with crafty characters at their center. These include Waking Up in the Land of Glitter and Miss Scarlet’s School of Patternless Sewing.
We also talk about Kathy’s work as a content creator. She’s worked for many major national brands both inside and outside of the crafts industry. If you’re interested in collaborating with brands, Kathy has a lot of great wisdom to share about how to make these partnerships really work.
One thing I’ve always admired about Kathy is her willingness to embrace new technology. When Instagram Reels launched, Kathy was one of the first crafters I noticed creating and posting these short-form videos. Kathy’s attitude is that she loves her job and loves trying out new ways to reach her audience and to “spread the gospel of glitter.” Everything she makes and does is based on positivity.
And, of course, I ask Kathy to recommend great stuff she’s enjoying right now. Kathy recommends: