The Creative Community

Do I have some news for you…today we are launching Kari’s Creative Community!
What is it? Essentially, it is an email-based subscription service with a private Facebook group component.
To learn more, click on the informative picture below to be whisked away to the Creative Community page on my website.
Kari's Creative Community flyer
I’m so excited!

 

 

Be Where You Are

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Sometimes we need to hear things, but don’t know it until someone says it. Has that ever happened to you? You’re humming along, doing what you do, and out of the blue a song lyric pops into your mind and it speaks to you or you overhear a conversation and someone is passing along some advice and it applies to you. Tonight that happened to me, only it was a Facebook status update. Someone linked to an article on their wall and the title showed up in my stream. And I needed to hear it (or in this case read it).

Truthfully, I didn’t even click on the article, the title alone was enough for me. The title was, “Be where you are, not where you think you should be”. I read that and I was a goner.

I thought to myself, “I should do that. I should think about that. I should let that sink in later, when I’m finished with this work. After I grade these business plans, answer those Tweets, and do that tiny to-do list since it’s only six items long. Then maybe after dinner and walking the dogs and cleaning the kitchen and answering emails… maybe tomorrow I can think about it on my walk or in the shower. I’ll try to remember.” Then I became tired. I decided to put my work down and spend sometime letting myself just be where I am, and share it with you in case you need to hear something similar. Let’s just both be where we are right now, even if it’s not where we think we should be.

I can’t believe it’s August. AUGUST! Where has 2013 gone? I am trying not to fret about it too much how much of the year has gone by and how much is left. The summer has sped by in a blur and I feel like I have missed most of it – my head down, typing away, traveling for work, and making plans for my future. The flowers are fading, the garden is sputtering out, and it’s going to be in the 40s tonight. How can I take notice of what is remaining, instead of worrying about what has gone by?

It’s almost my birthday and I’ll be 40. 40! How did that happen? Where did my 30’s go? The year I turned 30, I sold my house in my hometown of Denver, loaded up my Honda and headed out across the country. I was headed toward Vermont, a place I was sure I’d be the happiest version of myself. I left behind a big career in arts management, marketing, and community service. I drove toward the most important feeling I have: freedom. Everything in my life is done with the desire to feel free.

I felt so old then. So wise and mature and I’m sure I was all of those things. Truth is, I don’t feel a whole lot different now, but I know I have changed. Of course I have! It’s okay to be 40 now. It’s okay to be any age that I am. It was okay to be 30 when I was 30. I wonder why I felt so old then and feel so much younger now?

However, it is worth noting to myself that only two months after my 40th birthday, we will be loading up everything we can into our Volvo (my husband, our dogs, our cat, and myself) and heading across the country again, this time to move to the West coast. That is how I seem to live. 10 years here, 10 years there… always drifting. Changing locations. It was okay to be in New York when I was, then Colorado, then Vermont, New Hampshire, Alabama, Massachusetts, Vermont again and soon Oregon. Those are just the states of the last ten years.

At 40 I thought I’d own another home (I do), have children (I don’t), an Academy Award (I don’t even act!), and so many other things. Instead of what I thought I’d have, I have so much more than I ever could have imagined. I have a wonderful career as a teacher, a mentor, and an author. I have amazing pets, who have enhanced my life in ways I didn’t know was possible. I have a wonderful family. I am close with my parents and my mother-in-law. I have so much support, so much more than I’ve ever had. I got engaged under the Eiffel Tower, to a man who is a poet, while we were eating bread and cheese and fruit and drinking wine on a sunny day. We have traveled so far and so wide. I have seen my work help people. I am in that space now, and I want to be okay right here. I am remembering to be grateful. To meditate with my husband and hold hands while we focus on mutual goals, that benefits our business, or careers, our family, our love, and our relationship.

As I wonder where my year has gone, it’s easy to see really. I did this. I created this. I focused on growth and I have grown. In January when Eric and I had our 1st quarter retreat, we made a list. A big crazy list of things we wanted to accomplish. A list that I felt wasn’t truly possible, but it was nice to think about. (In the interest of full disclosure, I didn’t do half of the things on that list as they were projects that fell to the wayside or didn’t make the final cut but I replaced them with projects that have been successful that I wasn’t able to dream big enough to even think about in the future.)

Has that ever happened to you? You create more than you thought you could. You dream bigger than you thought you knew how. That is where I am and I am okay with it. I just want to be in it more.

This year I wrote two books, accepted two prestigious teaching opportunities, I’ve coached over 40 people, and I’ve gone on book tour in California, Boston, Washington and Oregon. I still have states left on my schedule. I’ve signed a contract for something big I can’t share yet. I have other things I can’t share – yet. I’m moving across the country again. I have sold almost half of what my family owns. I cut bangs into my hair myself after I watched a YouTube video teaching me how to do it. I wore lady shoes for the first time in years. I will watch my best friend get married and see my other closet friend for the first time since my own wedding. I have met and made new friends with people I’ve only known online for years. I have helped friends and colleagues, and I have asked for help and received it. I will end the year having grown (do you remember that GROWTH was my word of the year for 2013?), which is what I set out to do. I will end the year in a furnished rental in Portland, Oregon with my husband, our dogs and our cat. I will be right there, listening to the whispers of 2014.

What about you? Are you where you want to be? Did you think you would be where you are? I hope so. Because you are right there. And I’m glad.

I thought I should be somewhere else. But that’s because I didn’t know right here, right now even existed. I thought I would tell you, incase you needed to hear it too.

Thank you for sharing this with me. If you have something similar going on and would like to let me know about it, please write to me. You can always reach me at HiThereKari@gmail.com.

Love and Light,

Kari

P.S. I just want you to feel supported and like you’re on the right track too. I want you to know it’s okay to experience all kinds of things on your creative journey. I need to hear that sometimes. If you need to hear it, I want to say it.

The Declaration of You (and thoughts on money!) PLUS A GIVEAWAY!

Have you seen the book, The Declaration Of You!: How To Find It, Own it, and Shout it From the Rooftops yet? In case you haven’t, I am providing you with this beautiful image to gaze upon:

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Nice right? It was written by my pals Jessica Swift and Michelle Ward and I think you’ll like it. I like the idea so much, I agreed to be in it and you can find me on page 90! I talk about money, which is something I think we could all stand to talk more about.

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Money comes up a lot in my work. I help people price their goods and services, I help future authors figure out book advances and I charge for my own services, which means I talk about my rates with prospective clients.

Money. We all want it, we all need it and we all want to know more about it. The thing is money feels so PERSONAL to many of us and it can be a tough subject.

While I haven’t always had a great relationship with my own money, we’re on much better terms now. I would even say we’re friends. It’s a relief to be on better terms with my bank accounts, my personal one and my business one, but it didn’t happen overnight. It took me a long time to cozy up and get down to making it work for me.

Here are a few things I did to help me get over my money making, spending, and earning fears:

1-    I recognize when my money is useful. This means, when I have to pay bills or spend money that I wasn’t intending on spending – like SURPRISE! NEW BRAKES are needed! or an almond cracks my tooth at a pizza parlor (true story), or that dang student loan needs paying for oh, maybe 15 years or so – I try to stop and recognize what my money is doing for me. When I am writing that check or filling out the online bill pay – I thank the out-going money. I know that may sound a little silly, but it works for me. Recognizing that I CAN pay for these things, while it may not be fun, it is a blessing. So for serious, I write a check for car insurance, and I thank those dollars. I look at them as keeping me and my family safe. I try to see that money as not something I owe, but something I’m glad to use to get something else that I want – a car that is covered if I should need it.

I am self-employed and so is my husband, which means we pay for health insurance out of pocket. We haven’t been to the doctor in months (thank goodness!) but when I mail away that check, it is with gratitude in my heart. This prospective helps keep money worries in check for me and I’m glad I started doing it.

2-    I keep a list of the money I can expect to come in by my desk. This is a reminder to keep working. Also, if I am feeling spendy, I keep a Post-It note by my monitor and I keep a running list of the totals of things I want to buy. Not only does this keep my bank balance in check, it often amazes me at how much I want to spend and on what.

3-    I tithe. I donate a portion of what I make to various small businesses. Sometimes I do Kiva loans and sometimes I troll Kickstarter or Indiegogo and donate money that way. I look for projects that either need a boost to get over the finish line or projects that have just begun and could use a mental boost from having a stranger invest in them. I almost always look for handmade, crafts, or art-related businesses and projects to fund. This has lots of positive effects. Naturally, it feels really good to help people. I also feel like I’m giving back to the community that supports me – and that is a wonderful feeling. Giving back 15% of my income is the right thing for me to do, and it makes me feel oddly rich! Try it!

4-    Recently, I started acknowledging how money makes me FEEL and focusing in on those feelings. I gotta tell you I learned this from Abraham-Hicks and I’m surprised at how well it works for me. What I mean is, if I have to pay my monthly bills, I focus in on how I feel having the things I’m paying for. Like when I pay my health insurance I feel protected. When I pay my credit card statement, I feel grateful for my credit score. When I pay for shoes, I feel lucky. When I pay for groceries, I feel healthy. When I pay for a plane ticket I feel broke – air fare is pricy ya’ll! Just kidding – when I buy pane tickets or book hotels, I feel adventurous! Zeroing in on how spending my money makes me feel has changed my prospective quite a bit. I actually feel more financially stable than I used to, even though I make roughly the same amount of money that I used to.

Do you have any tips about money you can share? I’m sure we’d all love to hear them! Leave your tip or comment on this post and I’ll draw a name and you could win a copy of The Declaration Of You! Be sure to leave your actual name and a way I can contact you if you win.

Find out more about The Declaration of You! by visiting the website. Jess and Michelle are hosting a big blog tour and they share all blog posts about the book and even host weekly discussions about the books various topics weekly on Facebook. Check out their Facebook page!  You can also watch their adorable book trailer here. 

Sudden Shyness

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I have a confession. One of my biggest hang-ups is…meeting new people. It’s true. I get so nervous every time I am going to be in a situation that requires me to meet a bunch of new people. Why? I don’t know! I am an extroverted person when it comes to my work. I love crowds of enthusiastic people who share a common interest with me and I love talking about crafts, business, and the handmade world. I love it! So why do I get butterflies? Who knows, but I’ll tell you how I approach it…

Whether I am helping a friend at her craft show booth or working a conference, the best approach for me, (someone who gets a bad case of what I call Sudden Shyness) is to simply dive right into it and smile at every person I see. I challenge myself to walk right up to strangers, simply introduce myself, and I ask them questions. After I do this two or three times, my Sudden Shyness is a thing of the past. It’s sort of like ripping a Band-Aid off – once it’s over, it’s over. And I’ll tell you that I’ve never once had someone look at me funny and I’ve never once regretted doing it. Usually people seem to be so happy to have someone approach them.

Here are a few more quick tips to help you prepare for when you have the opportunity to meet a bunch of new people:

Put out a call, like I did above, inviting people to approach you if you’re going to be at a conference, or a place with a bunch of other people.

Practice icebreakers by thinking of questions that are relevant to the event you’re attending.

Have an elevator speech ready to go when someone asks what you do; also remember to have your business cards on you and at the ready.

Try to keep in mind that a lot of people are shy or may suffer from Sudden Shyness. I’m not alone, right? So making the first move is what a lot of other people are hoping someone will do and why shouldn’t it be me?

What do you do to help yourself prepare for big events? Do you consider yourself shy? Leave your answers and helpful tips in the comments below.

Twist O’ Wool Guild

 

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This past Thursday I had the wonderful privilege to be invited to speak for the Twist O’ Wool Guild‘s monthly meeting in Middlebury, Vermont. There were just about 30 people there and I talked for an hour and a half about how I wrote The Handmade Marketplace and how crafters can overcome their fears and resistances to start a business based on what they love making.

A few guild members posed for pictures:

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I am collecting photos of people holding these signs for a book trailer. Soon I hope to have signs available for download on this website, and readers can print them out and take their photo sand then send the photos to me. All of the photos will be compiled and used in the book trailer for The Handmade Marketplace. Meanwhile if you see me around at any events, chances are I’ll ask you to pose with a sign. I hope you’ll say yes!

Look up EmilLine‘s knitted fox scarf stoles on Etsy, Annie Delyth Stratton‘s hand-spun, breed-specific yarn, and LeeWeaves‘ towels, rugs, blankets, and yarn.

It was a fun night and I was so glad to meet some many wonderful people!

Thanks for having me Twist O’ Wool!

Upcoming events

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via JoyOfVintageWithSam at Etsy

Hello! Here are a list of events and appearances I’ll be doing and taking part in over the coming months…

Thursday, February 7 - Twist O’ Wool Guild – Middlebury, Vermont. I’ll be talking at their monthly meeting, held at the American Legion on Boardman Street at 7pm.

Friday & Saturday, March 22, & 23 – Craftcation Conference – Ventura, California. This big event, held at the Crowne Plaza, features a whole host of great speakers…I mean, just look at this list of awesome people. I will be speaking four times on that Friday and Saturday. Click here for more information.

Monday, May 20 – Brookline Booksmith – Brookline, Massachusetts. I’ll be on a moderated panel with other craft book authors. I’ll post more information as we get closer to the date.

 

 

Etsy in Hudson

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This year, we wanted to start off our year right, so we packed our bags and headed to Hudson, New York for a Team Chixon (Chapin + Nixon = Chixon) retreat to focus, plan, and conspire. It was a wonderfully needed opportunity to get our year organized from the get-go.

While in town, we stopped by Etsy’s Hudson office for a visit. This is the third Etsy office I’ve been to (the first was their original office in Brooklyn for their first birthday party, and then their newer Brooklyn office when I did an event there). Set in an old cannonball factory, their Hudson office is a neat combination of rough-hewn repurposed with modern wrapped in a bright, roomy package.

Ami, the office manager, showed us around.

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The main working floor of Etsy Hudson. Despite all of the people busy working, it was almost completely silent. Most of the people who work here do customer support-type jobs. Because they have an open floor plan, occasionally they need to make a call in a more private setting, so they built several small rooms with phones. The rooms were decorated by a local artist.

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When decorating and furnishing the office, they tried to go with handmakers first, then use vintage. I saw a beautiful boardroom table that was built by a local crafter who used repurposed wood from old barns in the area.

Downstairs was a very large open room that is used for teleconferencing, meetings, and events. Ami said that they occasionally hold events and lectures for the public here. Also, no proper online business would be complete without a pool table.

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I really enjoyed my time at Etsy, and especially Ami. Here’s her Etsy store where she sells goat milk soap, and here’s her great blog about her goaty posse.Thanks, Etsy for the groovy tour. I love this kind of behind the scenes stuff.

 

Word of the year for 2013

 

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I’ve never done this before but this year, for many, many reasons, I am choosing a word to help guide and to ground me in 2013.

Part of why I have never done this exercise, even though I’ve wanted too, is because it has always seemed really crystals-dippy-woowoo to me. Turns out, I am the sort of person who IS crystals-dippy-woowoo. In fact, I am really, really interested in all of that sort of thing. In fact, I’m all about it in my personal life – I’ve just been too scared to write about it before and share that part of me.

Well, NO MORE! One of the things I’m going to work on working on in 2013 is letting go of my fears. I am really going to try to figure them out – and I’m starting with this one.

Why have I been afraid of letting my readers know about this part of me?

Mostly because I’m afraid that I’ll be taken less seriously as a good business writer if you know that I wear mala beads, have a talisman, feel like foxes are my spirit animal, burn incense, have a daily intention list that I review, love learning about crystals, and adore most positive psychology. I believe in positive thinking, manifesting, law of attraction, and so much more.

I have been afraid that if my readers knew all of this about me that it would dilute the hard work I’ve put into writing my books.

I hope that I’ve been wrong all of these years. A lot of those skills and beliefs that I have are what allowed me to write those books. This way of thinking and those practices have helped me make my dreams come true.

I’m going to embrace it. And that is where my GROWTH begins.

My word of 2013 is GROWTH. I am going to do all kinds of growing y’all.  2013 is going to be the best year yet for my business and I’m going to finally let it happen.

If you have a word of the year, or decide to choose one after reading this post, or know of any good positive think resources I should check out, leave it in the comments. I’d really like to know others are doing this with me.

xoxo

Meet a crafter – Zoe Wylychenko

 

Zoe! A girl who loves vintage buttons is a girl after my own vintage-y button heart. Check out all of her cleverness first chance you get and become friends with her by joining her in Fresh Start 2013.

 

Kari – What’s the story behind why you do what you do? Why do you make what you make?

Zoe – I love to buy vintage – buttons, fabric and supplies. I enjoy shopping at vintage and resale shops. I love to collect and then combine things – different patterns, colors, and textures. I make a variety of things because then I can buy and use those supplies in the process. Pompoms and felt are some of my new favorites and you’ll see that in the wreaths, stitched hoops, gloves, and pillows that I create!

 

What is your best business tip or trick you have to share with your fellow creative business owners?

The more you do – the better results you get. And don’t do it if you don’t love it!

What is your favorite thing about owning a creative business?

It’s amazing that others want to buy the things that I create. It’s gratifying and inspiring and I appreciate the creative community I’m a part of!

 

What are you looking forward to in your business in 2013?

I plan to do more – a goal is to host four trunk shows in 2013. I hope to increase my sales, increase my listings on Etsy, and refine and polish the details such as photos, descriptions, and the business side.

What made you decide to participate in Fresh Start 2013?

I’ve read your book Handmade Marketplace – it’s very smart and very doable. Aspects of selling and marketing my things intimidate me but I love creating them. So I hope to gain confidence and practical tips because I know I’m talented but I think I just need to have a real focus/direction.

 

Where can we find you?

I’m on Etsy at: ezmireldagirl.etsy.com

Meet a crafter – Megan Piorek

 

Hey you guys! Meet Megan! She makes some super duper cute things – like dolls, candles and tarts. We are tart people over here. As in we have tart burners in most of rooms and love them year round. I am looking forward to working with Megan next year

Join us! There is still time to sign up and still opportunities to be featured on my website and all of my social media stops. You can choose to have your feature next year any time before November, 2013. Come right on over here and check it out: Fresh Start 2013

 

Kari – What’s the story behind why you do what you do? Why do you make what you make?

Megan – I have been making primitive dolls for around eleven years now. About three years ago, a friend suggested I try soy candles, and I really enjoy that too. I love making both candles and primitive dolls, and like the challenge they still give me as well as making people happy with my creations.

 

What is your best business tip or trick you have to share with your fellow creative business owners?

The best tip I would share with fellow creative business owners is to find your niche and stick with it.

What is your favorite thing about owning a creative business?

My favorite thing about owning my own creative business: it’s in my heart and soul and is part of me.

 

What are you looking forward to in your business in 2013?

2013…what will you hold for Candle Threads? I’m most looking forward to the excitement of not knowing what’s to come.

What made you decide to participate in Fresh Start 2013?

I decided to participate in Fresh Start 2013 because there is so much more to learn from Kari Chapin, and fellow crafters. I want to learn as much as i can.  I loved Kari’s books, I am so looking forward to more information….

 

Where can we find you?

You can find me at:

Website – www.candlethreads.com

Facebook – www.facebook.com/pages/Candle-Threads

Email – candlethreads@hotmail.com