Blog Archives

Hello Crafters!It is almost time for our next craft racket!

CPA Dawn Milani presents a tax overview for small businesses. She’ll review the differences between sole proprietorships, S- and C-corprations and LLCs, explaining how each structure could impact your personal taxes. She’ll also go over sales tax.

Do you have any burning tax-related questions about your business?
Please send them to before Monday July 7 so that Dawn can be sure to address your issues during the presentation.

Presenter: Dawn Miliani of Milani & Associates.
Dawn has extensive experience assisting business owners to start and develop businesses. She has provided them with assistance in various areas, including accounting, business planning, marketing, and technology. Prior to founding Milani & Associates, Dawn was Director of a Small Business Development Center. As Director, she was responsible for developing programs and strategies to assist entrepreneurs and business owners across industries to start and manage a business.

Where:   Blue Buddha Boutique
1127 W. Granville, Chicago, IL
(just west of the Granville stop on the Red Line)

When:    Tuesday, July 15, 2014
Doors open: 6:30pm
Presentation + Q&A: 7:00pm – 8:00pm
Networking: 8:00pm – 8:30pm

Cost:       FREE!

Please RSVP by emailing or calling Blue Buddha at 773.478.3767

“The revolution will be crafted.”

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Come play Donkey Kong at HQ - 950 W. Wolfram

Okay, I think we can all agree that this winter sucked. But now that it is getting warmer and the cold, grey fog is lifting from our souls as well as the skies, we thought it would be a great time to hangout with all of you and just have some fun for an hour or two. Forget about the deadlines, and the messy workspaces, and to-do list that gets longer and longer instead of shorter. For just a few hours.

Come hang out with us at Headquarters Beercade (21+ only, sorry) on Wednesday, June 4th from 6:30 until 9. They have 30+ vintage arcade games set up and ready for us all to cut loose and do our best to save the princess from Donkey Kong, or help the little Frogger cross the road. And, since the thing we always wanted at arcades when we were kids was a good drink, we happy to be arranging this on the night that all Craft Beers in Cans are $5 each. They will have cocktails ranging from $4-$10 each as well.

So, put down the scissors/soldering iron/sewing machine and come hang out with us while we drink a good beer, play some games, and just have fun for a few hours. We’ll have a group table reserved under Chicago Craft Mafia.

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Jason Pike shares the importance of a post title

Jason Pike shows points out the importance of a post title.

If you were lucky enough to attend our most recent Craft Racket, then you likely took furious notes while Jason Pike of Lad Named Felix regaled with his knowledge of how to make subtle tweaks to your online postings that will improve where your website, Etsy posts, blog posts, shop updates, and more appear in Google searches.

Not only did he present more knowledge than should have been able to fit in one short hour-long presentation, he created several handouts that have all of the necessary basics. People who were lucky to attend the event were able to take them home with them. But, because we love everyone, we’re not able to share both of his handouts and his slide presentation with you folks who were unable to join us. So feel free to download the files and use them to make your business bigger, better, and more Google-able than ever.

SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. This means that there are some small things you can do that will improve how important Google thinks your website is. Jason has shared some of his favorite SEO tips and tricks that you can easily implement.

SEO Class Handout CCM


Basic SEO Tips and Tricks presentation

After a bit of a hiatus, the quarterly Craft Rackets are back! We’re looking forward to hosting dialogs on topics of interest to crafters every January, April, July, and October. With the holiday season right around the corner, we thought we’d kick off our Rackets on October 16 with the ever-important subject of pricing.  Find out what your peers think you should be charging for your work!The Racket includes our popular interactive pricing demonstration: bring ONE of your handcrafted items along with a sign or tag displaying the materials or anything else important to know about the process to make your work. Do not include your name or business name.

During the Racket, everyone will guess prices for our work, and we’ll choose a few items to review as a group. Various Mafia members will also share their expertise in pricing one’s work in a handout you can take home with you. Whether you are a new or experienced craft entrepreneur, this is sure to be an informative and fab evening of socializing, talking shop, and sharing a snack or two with your fellow crafters!

CRAFT RACKET – Fall, 2013
Wednesday, October 16
6pm – 9pm
Blue Buddha Boutique
1127 W Granville, Chicago, IL (just west of the Granville stop on the Red Line)
Cost: FREE!
Please RSVP by emailing or calling Blue Buddha at 773.478.3767

New members
NEW MEMBERS!And at the racket, you can meet our new members!  Freshly initiated into the Mafia, we’d like to welcome Jason Pike of Lad Named Felix, Maia Singletary of Astrida Naturals, Rachel Gedemer of Stitch, Kandy Christensen of Meandering Design, and Lydia Evans of Letterpress by Lydia.

Our new members have some great ideas for ways in which the Mafia will promote small businesses in the arts and crafts industries, foster connections between our peers, and some great outlets and events to get our craft on.  We’re excited for 2014!

Keep on crafting!
The Chicago Craft Mafia

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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.

You can read more about this transition on the DIY Trunk Show blog and on Blue Buddha Boutique’s site.


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
Snarky Sleeves
LBO Studio LLC
Substance Designs
Elin Hope Designs
What Lila Wears
Jelene Britten Designs
my sistuh’s trunk
D J King studio
Altered Ever After
Michelle Goudie
Chel Domestic Goodies
Lindsay Streem Designs
Honey Bee Dreams
Tattooed Cutie
Hispanic Source
Core Ingenuity/Openyourize
Kathleen’s Kollection
Evil Craft lab
Richelle Albrecht
Rhymes with Twee
Wendy’s Art Glass
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Applications are closing March 17.  HURRY if you want to apply to this fabulous event for de-stashing.

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Do It Your Own D*mn Self (DIYODS) returns April 20th!

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!

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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!

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

Cost: FREE!

Please RSVP by emailing chicagocraftmafia AT gmail DOT com.

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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.

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