This past weekend, IndieMade sponsored the Chicago Art Girls Pop Up show. The show was well curated and was a perfect mix of artwork, home goods, ceramics, jewelry, and apparel. A warm fuzzy feeling permeated every booth I visited -- it was obvious these ladies have been exhibiting alongside of each other for years. I met many of the exhibitors several years ago, when I was selling my wares at local events. When I ventured off and started IndieMade, some of the Art Girls were among IndieMade's first customers, so it was great to be able to see them in person again.
Indie Business Friendships
At the last minute, IndieMade was moved from a booth outside the event to a booth among the artist exhibitors. I'd forgotten how good it feels to be with other artists! Many of we solo entepreneurs labor from home or in a studio, alone.
A small percentage of artists keep a regular show schedule and I know why - exhibiting at an art show is a pain. There is the application process, the jury process, creating and hauling a booth display, keeping enough product in stock to show, enduring challenging booth configurations, lighting, electricity, wifi, processing orders and fulfilling orders after the event. But it's worth it. Even if you don't make a lot of sales, you meet other indie business owners which can lead to life long friendships.
Meet Margie Criner of Red Belly
Margie designed accessories when she first came to IndieMade but has changed gears to focus on her fine art. She creates dioramas as small as two inches in size, surrounded in wood, metal or felt structures. Her magnificent, sometimes moving (literally) work draws you in and delights in the details.
Side view of What Comes Around
Ride of Life
The first time I saw Megan's shop on IndieMade, I was a fan. I noticed her quality screen printed t-shirts designed for proud midwesterners.
Her business has grown immensely and she now celebrates local life all over the country. Check out her kids' tees which are playful and cool:
She's always designed onsies for babies but now employs about the cutest model I've ever met.
I met Eva May years ago at a local craft show, when I made handmade toys. Her hats are marvelous. I love what she does with knits and imagery on fabric.
I've known Barbara and Jeanmarie of Weener Ware the longest. We met at an Art Girls potluck and later, I'd see them at Craft Mafia events. Their clever bottlecap creations are nothing like I've ever seen. They select and design colorful (often humorous) images, place them inside a bottle cap and add resin - making them three dimensional art objects. The bottlecap art become necklaces, earrings, rings, pins, cufflinks and hair clips.
After the Show Picture
Join the Party
Partipating in any artist group is invaluable -- everyone learns from and supports each other. Your fellow artists understand your struggles and can celebrate your successes-- they just get it. Even tradeshow events at the national level exude a palpable creative energy. After exhibiting at any event, I leave inspired. Besides making friends at an event, meeting your customers face to face is a must for any creative entreprenuer.
To find kindred spirits in your area, check out local art and craft shows and meet up groups. Don't be afraid to reach out to folks or start your own group. You won't regret it.