The Chicago Craft Mafia is looking for new members, and you just might have what it takes.
After almost 10 years as a craft-based business collaborative organization, The Chicago Craft Mafia recently handed over the hugely successful DIY Trunk Show to another organization to keep the yearly show going strong. Now, the Mafia can focus all of its efforts on our founding mission of supporting arts and crafts entrepreneurship in our community.
We’re opening the doors for new members, who will have a significant say in where the group goes in the future and what new programs, opportunities, and successes we’ll have on the horizon.
As a part of the Mafia, you can affect Chicago culture by promoting handcrafted goods, educating communities about the importance of artisan commerce, and helping new crafters take their hobbies and businesses to the next level.
Members benefit from increased media exposure, national networking opportunities, and a support of like-minded individuals. Mafia members promote and support each other and other growing and emerging businesses, foster entrepreneurial relationships, gain professional development, business info from your peers, new skills, alliances with other arts-based groups, and more.
The Chicago Craft Mafia is a collaborative and non-competitive organization of independent crafting business owners. We work together to both foster our own individual entrepreneurship and support the greater crafting community. Members of the group pride ourselves on the design, integrity and workmanship of our products and the ethics of our business practices.
Our goal is to increase these businesses’ retail and/or wholesale exposure, by abiding by a Do-It-Yourself code of ethics.
The CCM is a local chapter of the national Craft Mafia.
The revolution will be crafted.
Ten years ago, over cookies and a pot of tea, Amy Carlton and Cinnamon Cooper hatched a plan to create a different kind of craft show that would promote area artists and crafters to shoppers who wanted to feel a connection to the makers of their purchases instead of just buying corporate mall stuff. They plotted and brainstormed and a few hours later, they’d created the idea that would become the DIY Trunk Show. They found a location, spread the word to shoppers and makers, and began promoting the show. And they were exhausted when the first show happened the Saturday before Thanksgiving in 2003. They’d both half-joked that while they were glad they did it, they just weren’t sure they could do it again.
But the show happened. And people hugged them and thanked them for creating a place for buying and selling handmade goods. And people thanked them for not creating a division between art and craft but promoting both equally. Amy and Cinnamon were elated, and their chests swelled with pride, and they giddily decided that the final payoff was worth all the work and stress.
The DIY Trunk Show ran that way for a few years. Amy and Cinnamon wrote a Craftifesto as a sort of mission statement to guide the show and explain the spirit behind it. But Amy was in grad school and working full time and just wasn’t able to devote enough time to the show. Cinnamon wasn’t ready to give it up. By that time, the Chicago Craft Mafia had been going strong for a few years, and she asked the group if they would be willing to help. The Chicago Craft Mafia agreed that the show must go on, and they were the right group to do it.
And that continued for many years. And that tiny punk-rock craft show of 35 vendors in 2003 became a mega-show in 2010 with 175 booths, corporate and boutique sponsors, food vendors, media sponsors, and so much more. The show has grown up and changed and morphed as the culture of makers has expanded exponentially and as the buying public has grown and begun to find more value and more variety in the types of handmade items that can be found locally. The show, for lack of a better word, has become a business. Despite ten years of the organizers making no profit from producing the show, there are tax implications. Insurance is required. Deposits are paid and refunded. Contracts are signed and notarized. The little craft show that could has outgrown its roots.
Which means—and this part is hard to write—the DIY Trunk Show has outgrown its founders and its caretakers. Amy, Cinnamon, and every member of the Chicago Craft Mafia are extensively proud of the show. Proud of what we have accomplished. Proud of the businesses we’ve seen start as nascent ideas and grow into full-fledged companies with employees and brick-and-mortar locations and loyal followers who seek them out. We’re proud of each vendor we’ve ever had. We’re honored to know that we have all worked together to create a community where craft and art are sought out and given as gifts, kept, cherished, bragged about, and honored.
We read the Craftifesto, and we’re happy knowing that those guiding principles still hold true even though the show has grown and changed. But change comes with a price. Running a business is hard, and the time has come for us to admit that for the show to continue to grow—to continue to help build, foster, and develop the community of makers and buyers—it needs new blood. Ten years have burnt us out, even though they haven’t diminished our love for the show.
Which is why we’re delighted and honored to be able to share that Blue Buddha Boutique (BBB), owned by Rebeca Mojica (a long-time Chicago Craft Mafia member and a nine-year vendor at the DIY Trunk Show), has agreed to take over running the show. We don’t relinquish the show lightly. And there have been many talks about concerns and expectations. But because we deeply respect and admire Rebeca and the staff of Blue Buddha Boutique, and because the show has benefitted for years from her ability to organize people and information, keep to a schedule, create action plans that work, and foster strengths while finding cures for weaknesses, she is an obvious balm for our weary souls.
Beginning in 2013, the DIY Trunk Show will be owned, managed, and run by Rebeca and her staff of intelligent and capable employees. Several of her staff members have vended at DIY in previous years and have volunteered to help out with various tasks. We’ve been grateful to them, and we expect this gratitude to continue as they take the show on.
Because several people on BBB staff are familiar with many aspects of the show, handing off the task lists and schedules and contacts is easier than handing it off to another group. Because BBB has a brick-and-mortar store just a few blocks from the Broadway Armory, they’re already members of the Edgewater community that has embraced the show. Alderman Harry Osterman has been very welcoming to our show attendees and has been very beneficial to BBB.
But most of all, we trust Rebeca and Blue Buddha Boutique to do right by the DIY Trunk Show and maintain its spirit.
While we’re sad to be handing over the reins, we are delighted that the show will continue as it has and will likely improve and include many of the things that the all-volunteer staff has been unable to do in between working our day jobs and running our own businesses. We know there will be changes, and we trust that they will make DIY an even better show for everyone involved. We also believe the added benefits that BBB will be able to bring to the event will be positive.
So we give you crafty hugs and kisses as Amy, Cinnamon, and the Chicago Craft Mafia step back and hand BBB the golden scissors to cut the ribbon as they take over ownership of the DIY Trunk Show. The future has a lot of beautiful things in store and we can’t wait to see what happens next.
Check it out! Hundreds of gorgeous craft supplies for super cheap! There will also be an Open Studio program all day and a Make-n-Take from 1-2pm. No admission price. Free to all!
When: April 20, 2013 from 11-5pm
Where: 1127 West Granville at the new location for Blue Buddha Boutique
There is plenty of street parking and the location is just steps from the Granville Red Line stop.
Need fabric? We have you covered! How about a sewing machine? Yep, there will be used ones for sale. What about beads, buttons, jewelry supplies, paper craft supplies, including a silk screen system, looms, yarn, resin molds, polymer clay, and other items too numerous to list? Check! All this and more will be on sale at crazy low prices.
Vendors selling include:
|Blue Buddha Boutique|
|LBO Studio LLC|
|Elin Hope Designs|
|What Lila Wears|
|Jelene Britten Designs|
|my sistuh’s trunk|
|D J King studio|
|Altered Ever After|
|Chel Domestic Goodies|
|Lindsay Streem Designs|
|Honey Bee Dreams|
|Evil Craft lab|
|Rhymes with Twee|
|Wendy’s Art Glass|
Applications are closing March 17. HURRY if you want to apply to this fabulous event for de-stashing.
Applications for this year’s DIYODS show are now live, right here! There are only 20 tables available and the booth fee is $30- which isn’t due until you’re accepted. So send in your application now and gather together all your new and not-so-new craft supplies. One crafter’s trash is another crafter’s super sweet awesometastic project…
Fill out the application today!
Presented by The Chicago Craft Mafia and Blue Buddha Boutique, the third DIYODS Supply Show will be held Saturday April 20th from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m at Blue Buddha Boutique’s spanking new retail location located at 1127 W. Granville Avenue in Chicago.
All you creative entrepreneurs, this is the perfect opportunity to get a jump start on spring cleaning. If you would like to participate in the show, be sure to sign up for our newsletter. Applications will be going out soon and there are limited spaces, so mark your calendar and don’t forget!
Of course, all you crafters, students, and teachers in need of inexpensive supplies, this is the time to shop. So what’s that date again?
APRIL 20th from 11-5pm!
Please join us for the first Craft Racket of 2013! Our topic will be on how to apply to juried programs and craft shows. Our guest speaker will be Merideth Lacina from the Illinois Artisans Program! Cinnamon Cooper of the Chicago Craft Mafia and co-founder of the DIY Trunk Show will be joining Merideth and sharing her own expertise .
Mark your deadlines calendar – March 28 is the deadline for the next review for the Illinois Artisans Program!
PLEASE NOTE THE NEW LOCATION (THE OTHER BEANS AND BAGELS)!!
Hope to see you at the Racket!
CRAFT RACKET – Winter 2013
Wednesday February 6 from 6:30pm to 9pm
Beans & Bagels
2601 West Leland Avenue, Chicago, IL
Please RSVP by emailing chicagocraftmafia AT gmail DOT com.
Do you subscribe to Art Fair Insiders? If you don’t, make it a new year’s resolution. I know it is almost the end of January, but it is never too late to learn something new. Art Fair Insiders is filled with tips and reviews for exhibiting and marketing your art at fairs around the country. Their latest newsletter featured this great Pinterest board. Check it out!
What sources do you use for learning about shows? Do you have favorite sites for advice on business and marketing? Please share your resources by leaving a comment. Thanks!
The Craft Emergency Relief Fund is an organization that provides a safety net for artists / craftspersons in the event they experience a disaster. They also provide great information to help prevent or minimize potential disasters.
To better serve our community they are looking for feedback. Please take 5 minutes to fill in this important survey.
If you missed the DIY Trunk Show or want to know more about the Chicago Craft Mafia, check out this video. A big shout out to Aleta and Karlyn of In the City TV for creating this wonderful video tour! Thank you!
And remember, the DIY Trunk Show website lists all the participating vendors and their respective websites – just in case you forgot someone on your holiday gift list.