I just finished watching the Super Bowl, and I have to admit this is the first year that I truly now understand the rules of the game. I have an amazing guy who enjoyed explaining it all to me – and even cooked us the most delicious dinner first. I haven’t been much of a sports fan, but there is something that all of us can learn from professional sports. And I did balance out the sports night by taking our daughter to MoMA this afternoon. Art and sports actually go together.
When I was in 5th grade I scored a lead in our school play as the quirky art teacher guiding a young baseball team on how to win a poster contest for free tickets to a big game. For my part, I sang a solo called “Teamwork”.
Now every time I hear the word ‘teamwork,’ I can’t help but sing it. “You’ve got to work together if you like it or not. It takes TE-EM-WORK. It takes Teamwork, Teamwork, to win a baseball game. It takes teamwork, teamwork, to make yourself a name. Teamwork! Yeah!”
There is such power in collaboration.
If you can’t beat ’em, join them.
Have you ever felt jealous of someone else in your industry, only to discover you actually have a lot in common with them?
Instead of pining after another person’s success, why not get to know them? Send them an email, or go to one of their events and introduce yourself. You never know – you may have something of value to offer THEM. And they will have something of value to add to your business as well. When you join forces, you have even more momentum and impact. You’re able to get twice as much done, to reach twice as many people, and to bounce ideas off of each other to make them bigger and better than you could have on your own.
I am so excited about today’s post because I’m about to introduce you to two of the most creative, talented, and driven women I know. They’ve formed a very successful business partnership, and have been featured in many news outlets for their work. They also happen to be my very dear friends, Shannon Mulkey & Christy Petterson – founders of the Indie Craft Experience.
Shannon and Christy had a vision to provide indie crafters an opportunity to sell and promote their creations in Atlanta. They saw a need for a new event, and formed the Indie Craft Experience (ICE) back in 2005. ICE quickly caught on as a favorite event and graced the Best of Atlanta lists.
Inspired by indie craft markets in Chicago and Austin, Shannon and Christy founded Indie Craft Experience in order to provide Atlanta with a major indie craft event. In addition to craft markets, ICE also organizes Wedding Day Hooray, Salvage and an annual Pop-Up Shop during the holiday season.
ICE is a grass-roots effort. Shannon and Christy have their roots as two ordinary Atlanta crafters. Each one had their own somewhat successful craft businesses before organizing ICE – which has led to even bigger successes. Shannon’s label ‘Patina’ and Christy’s ‘a bardis’ were featured in the book and film ‘Handmade Nation.’
And now it truly is a handmade nation. With websites like Etsy.com becoming a household name, indie crafters are not only making a name for themselves, but they’re making a serious living. I remember that Etsy sponsored the very first ICE events, back when no one had even heard of it. Synchronicty alert: Etsy actually launched the same day as the first ICE. I think I still have a canvas tote printed with ICE on the front and Etsy on the back. Look at both of them now! There are so many ways to collaborate.
Watch my exclusive interview with Shannon and Christy below to learn more about how these phenomenal women were able to manifest an Indie Craft movement all while having day jobs. They have great advice for you too on how to create your big dream no matter where you’re at in your career now!
(Don’t mind the slight background noise. We were on location at Youngblood Gallery.)
Click to tweet:
In our interview, Shannon and Christy talk a lot about how it’s just the two of them and some volunteers doing it all. But collaboration doesn’t just mean partnerships. It also means outsourcing and delegating. Shannon and Christy hire a lot of people to help them out with things like PR, promo postcard distribution, graphic design, and video production. Some of these things they could do themselves, but their time is better spent doing other tasks. And sometimes they need to hire an expert because the truth is that they are just going to do a better job than they could themselves. If you want to show the universe that you’re serious about your vision, hire a team. You’ll immediately see your business taken to new levels.
Now you might get caught up thinking ‘I can’t afford to hire someone!’ Well Shannon and Christy pay some of their helpers with real money and others are happy to work out a trade. Do what feels right for you.
We all have talents and skills that other people desire.
If you do trade, just make sure you work out all of the arrangements beforehand so that you both feel like you got an amazing deal. I’ve learned the hard way that the worst thing is to give of your time and not receive something that you feel is of equal value in return. You both want to feel good. My best trade was designing a website for a massage therapist in exchange for 20 hour-long massages. Aaah.. just thinking about it makes me happy 🙂
But even better than trading, energetically speaking, I recommend investing in your business. Shannon and Christy could not produce their craft shows without key people who they hire. And they do such a great job that it is always a sound investment. Christy could design a postcard but it would take her twice as long and would be half as beautiful as what their graphic designer does. So true!
Another key tip: They make a point to exclusively work with people they like (all things being equal like skill, price, turnaround time, reliability) so that work is fun! No one wants to take the time to work with a contractor who is unpleasant.
And perhaps one of the biggest takeaways from the interview:
Both of these women do all of this AND have day jobs.
If they can do it, so can you. Don’t let your day job be an excuse to let go of a dream that’s urging you on. Yes, there are only so many hours in a day. So it’s important to accept that you can’t do it all, all of the time. You might struggle with feelings of being a neglectful friend or being sad that your house isn’t as clean as you’d like. But sometimes you need to let certain things go in order to focus on others. It’s okay. Be easy on yourself!
If you prioritize and stay focused on your outcome, you’ll have great results. And that will inevitably afford you the resources to hire more people to help you with those tasks at home that may feel overwhelming or neglected. To avoid burnout, make sure to schedule in some down time each week for self-care.
Speaking of self-care, there’s nothing more luxurious than your wedding day. The Indie Craft Experience’s next event, ‘Wedding Day Hooray,’ is coming up soon. It takes place in Atlanta on February 16th, 2013. If you or someone you know is getting married in the near future, this is an event that will blow your mind with inspiring and affordable handmade companies to make your special day even more unique.
Plus Shannon and Christy are at it again. Not only are they producing live events 5 times a year, but they’ve started producing pop-up shops online called ‘The Curatorial.’ Now those of you anywhere in the world can experience the beauty of the Indie Craft Experience. As they said in our interview, they just keep coming up with ideas and they’re not afraid to try them out. They jump right in. And I invite you to jump in too. Don’t let fear stop you. The water’s nice once you get wet.
I’d love to hear from you. Have you ever collaborated with someone on a business idea? Tell me in the comments below how teamwork has impacted your business and life. Who would you LOVE to work with? And what idea are you going to jump right in on?
P.S. Want even more great free business advice? Check out my mentor Marie Forleo’s free video training series here.