This month’s top drawer sponsor is Unanimous Craft. Unanimous Craft is the brainchild (just realized how funny that word is…) of Rosalie Gale and it’s a community resource for running an indie biz. You’ll find articles, lists, and links – a one-stop shop for inspiration and information.
Since Rosalie is an action-focused creative, I knew she’d have some great insight to offer.
Unanimous Craft is kind of community & resource all wrapped up into one. How does the new art & crafts movement benefit from a focus on community?
RG: I think indie craft has been about community from the beginning. It stemmed from people’s desire to make and own things that were unique and had a story behind them. As a reaction to a big-box-store lifestyle, people sought out things they could buy and say, “This, oh, I got this from a lady who raises rabbits, grooms them for their wool, cards their wool and spins it into yarn. Then, she knitted me this hat.” It just felt way better than saying, “It was on sale at Walmart.”
The people who started the indie craft movement had it the toughest. There were no resources for the little guy. There was barely an Internet. They had to figure things out for themselves. They did (thank you!) – and we all got to learn from them in the process.
Now, sharing those resources in an organized way can only make us stronger as a movement. We don’t have to figure everything out for ourselves any longer – we can learn from folks who did the leg work and are willing to share. That’s the way to grow – learn from your mistakes and don’t start from freaking scratch every time.
When did you get the idea for Unanimous Craft and how long did it take to bring it to fruition? What was the first thing you acted on after you formulated your idea?
RG: Ooph. It took a bit. I had the idea about two years ago. I built most of the site in about six months, became disgusted with myself, tore it down and started again from scratch.
In another six months I was up and running. I initially made it too complex and was trying to build all of these great features for the launch. It became a mind-bending puzzle that no user would ever take the time to figure out. When I started again, I simplified the site and that has been a wise choice.
Looking back though, there are still more things I would strip out if I had it to do again.
The first thing I acted on – which was not the right thing to focus on – was making lists of all the resources I wanted to add to the site. I got to a list of over 1000 before I decided it was time to start building. I ended up ditching my list and launching with about 100 resources that appear in the Handmade Nation book — and everything else has been added since we launched in March, 2010. I haven’t even scratched the surface of my list of 1000 yet.
Thankfully — the community is helping me add everything relevant one resource at a time.
What’s the number one thing holding back indie craft businesses today?
RG: I think it’s time. Or maybe not time itself – but the way we perceive time.
The indie craft movement is full of people who have jobs and also have indie businesses on the side. It’s easy to feel overwhelmed with everything that needs to be done – or that you want to do. Organization and project management are the keys to a life free of panic and angst. If you constantly have panic-y thoughts swirling around in your head about how you were supposed to write a blog post and update your accounting – how on earth will your mind have the energy to send you creative ideas?
What’s one thing you’d like arts & crafts shoppers to know about running an indie business?
RG: That it’s hard. We do it because we have a passion for it. It takes time and dedication. All of that means that our prices won’t be in line with what you find at a big-chain-store. Also, we can hear you when you say, “X dollars for that? I could make that.” Yeah, you could – but you probably won’t.
What do you do when you’re trying to trigger a burst of creativity for yourself?
RG: Yeah. I’ve actually never had that problem. Honestly. I’m normally trying to turn it off. I use David Allen’s Getting Things Done strategies for project management and life organization. Having a mind free of clutter let’s all those ideas just flow. Now my only problem is trying to implement them all at once while keeping my day job.
Some things I do that make me feel more creative:
Bikram yoga. Do 90 minutes of yoga in a 103 degree room and see where your mind goes.
Sleep. Lots of times I get answers to questions in my sleep.
Write a To Do List for the Universe: I take my list of things to do and assign a few to the universe. It makes me feel like I have less to worry about and sometimes those things DO just magically get done.
Visit Unanimous Craft to find all the info & inspiration you need – all in one place.
Get a $15 discount on year-long Premium Memberships to folks on the Scoutie-Girl list. It is normally $60 for a year membership, but they can purchase it for $45 using the discount code: SCOUTIE. Valid from 1/1/11 to 1/31/11.
Thanks for sponsoring Scoutie Girl, Rosalie!