Sewing Summit 2013 Day 3

Sewing Summit was such a fun sewing retreat/blogging conference and it’s so sad that it was over so quickly. However, I will be attending another retreat this coming weekend with my local guild, so I look forward to that, even though it will be another busy week!

Sewing Summit

Lunchtime at Sewing Summit

You can read my earlier posts about Sewing Summit Day 1 and Sewing Summit Day 2.

On Saturday, I took business development classes all day. I came away more focused than I have been in a long time and I can’t wait to tell you more about my upcoming plans in future blog posts.

Branding and Berninas

Branding and Berninas

I listened to a presentation put on by Bernina called “Bloggers, Brands and Bernina.” The moderators were Amy Gutierrez, the director of marketing for Bernina USA and Alice Voss-Kantor, Bernina’s social media manager.

They let us know how as bloggers, we can reach out to Bernina and other companies whose products we like to use. Many companies are willing to trade their products in exchange for content like blog posts, tutorials and general publicity to get the word out about them.

The Bernina gals had to be sure and state that while they don’t give away their machines, they are willing to loan them out if certain criteria are met. I will definitely have to think about that, seeing as how I already promote their brand for free anyway, LOL!

Blogging and Social Media

Blogging and Social Media

Sorry for the bad pics, but the lighting was not ideal for picture taking!

Next, I listed to Tauni Everett’s excellent presentation on blogging and social media. Here a few tips I picked up:

  • A self-hosted WordPress site is the best platform for blogging.
  • Purchase your name URL for several years into the future – this helps with SEO (seach engine optimization).
  • Be sure to include a descriptive tag under your blog name to describe it better.
  • Do what you promise on your blog – if you promise to host an event, be sure to follow through in a timely manner.
  • Being who you are is good, but be wary of TMI (too much information!)
  • My favorite – Be real, be kind, be charitable, be consistent, build others up. 🙂

She also mentioned that while being on Facebook and Pinterest are also good, Instagram doesn’t yet have a way to refer people back to their blogs so it may not be worth the effort as far as trying to promote your blog that way. That made me feel better because so far I have resisted jumping on the Instagram bandwagon!

Building Your Creative Business

Building Your Creative Business

After lunch I attended the best class of the whole weekend, Building Your Creative Business with Alicia Dirago. She’s a successful 33 year old entrepreneur who built her business, WhimseyBox from the ground up by being bold and courageous and in her words, “by moving quickly and not being afraid to break things.”

She spoke in a warm, humorous way while giving advice. This picture speaks for itself:

What NOT to do!

What NOT to do!

I was overcome by emotion when Alicia had us write down on paper what our dreams really were and what is standing in the way of our success. She encouraged those of us who were brave enough to share it aloud with the rest of the class.

Here’s what I finally admitted:

“I want to share my love of machine quilting with as many people as possible. I want to teach people that they can finish their own quilts and take pride in doing so. And I want to write books about it.”

And what is standing in my way?

“The fear of failure and thinking that if people don’t like my quilts, that means they won’t like me.” Silly, I know, but when Alicia asked the entire class if anyone else felt the same way, they all raised their hands in support. It was a pretty powerful experience.

Later that night at dinner, a fellow blogger from that class came up to me and said, “I have a friend I know that would buy your book.” I guess I’d better get on it then.

The Creative Business Process

The Creative Business Process

Above is another excellent slide from the class. Alica also put up a graphic that I wasn’t able to get a picture of. It basically showed a straight line as people’s idea of how success worked. Then another scribbly line that twisted and turned and doubled back on itself before reaching the end as how success actually happens. Thanks Alicia – for keeping it real!

The final class of the day was about improving photography by Melissa Esplin. While much of the technical details were over my head (I’m still learning what ISO is), I did pick up a few pointers on lighting and still shooting.

Lighting Props

Lighting Props

Melissa recommends a tri-pod with a ball head that gives flexibility with camera positioning. She also said you can get a car sunshade with foil on one side as a cheaper alternative to a professional diffuser. And by wrapping a couple of cheap lights in tinfoil with a home-made cloth covering, you can set up an inexpensive lighting system.

Finally, to cap off the evening, we got to hear Heather Bailey’s success story. She originally started off wanting to become a surgeon while taking creative classes on the side. She eventually came to the conclusion that having a creative career would allow her more flexibility and time to be a mom.

Heather Bailey Keynote Address

Heather Bailey Keynote Address

Heather was one of the early influencers driving the designer fabric market. Her “a-ha” moment was when she realized she could design fabrics and products that would appeal to her peers, and use the internet to communicate her ideas. Followers would then flock to fabric designer’s blogs to see what they were creating and be inspired. Do any of you do that? I know I do!

Heather left us with some sage words of wisdom: now that we are all excited and ready to take on the world of creative business, we need to pause and take a bit of time for calm, quiet reflection before we dive in.

Sounds like a plan to me. 🙂

25 thoughts on “Sewing Summit 2013 Day 3

  1. Brenda says:

    Christa, this is really good info., thank you!!! I would love to attend sewing summit sometime! I have purchased fabric from you before and just started following your blog!

  2. Amanda says:

    What a great re-cap of Sewing Summit! I was happy to meet you. Your blog is amazing as is your work! I am glad you posted the slide about “how to feel miserable as an artist.” I wasn’t able to attend that class – so I appreciate the info 🙂 It’s easy to get down on ourselves and start comparing. I hope you don’t let anything stand in your way of being great!!! Hugs!!!

  3. charlotte m. says:

    I really enjoyed your recap of summit. So many sewists focus on the sewing, but it is nice to see the rest of the things that go on there. I know you will be a success, because you are doing all the right research to get you going. I, for one will be watching you.

  4. Pamela Banis says:

    I have to agree with all the Comments posted. Your blog is so descriptive that I feel like I am there with you. This latest entry was so informative, that it helped me to realize a few of my goals. I too would purchase your book on machine quilting. Again, Thanks so much for making my day with your blog updates. Pamela

  5. Josefina says:

    That sounded like an intense day. I wanted to share with you that I want to take lessons from a machine quilter in person; however, I don’t know anyone that teaches in person. I hand quilt most of the time but when I make a bed-size quilt, it takes too long to complete it. So I send it out to a longarm quilter. My point is there is a market for what you want to do. Thank you for sharing your day at the summit.

  6. Mary Ann says:

    I would definitely buy your book as I like to quilt on my home sewing machine. I can’t afford to have longarmers quilt the things I make. I am learning as I go and am sure nothing is worth being judged in a show but that is alright with me. I really like the process of quilting it myself. Thanks for all the news and photos from your Sewing Summit weekend.

  7. treadlemusic says:

    Awesome post series!! I think there is much here for everyone to find something that would apply. I know I did! I, also, am quite happy with WordPress (although, I now do my posts in Windows Live Writer with, I feel, more format flexibility). So glad you attended these workshops. I am sure they will be of much help in your future endeavors/goals. Hugs…….

  8. Kandy says:

    Sounds amazing! Glad you went and got fantastic ideas and some inspiration. It’s so nice to be around other creative, like-minded people! Because then you come away ignited, energized and ready to conquer! :). Yippee for you, slightly jealous here… I want that experience.

  9. Kerri Hunter says:

    Good for you Christa! I love how your blog and tutorials give me the confidence to become a better quilter. I would buy your book so what are you waiting for lets get this happening. 🙂
    Thank you again.

  10. Gretchen says:

    Thanks for sharing. I don’t blog, but I read a lot of them. Reading your blog over the past few months has helped to reawakened my love of quilting. I would by your book. To me you are a rock star.

  11. Karen Miller says:

    Christa thanks for sharing blog posts about the Summit! It is definitely on my list to go! How inspiring to be with a bunch of like minded, excited and creative folks. Do appreciate the summary! Go get ’em girl! You can do anything you put your mind to!

  12. Michele says:

    Wow. I’m floored by all that great information that you shared and I so look forward to going to SS myself next year. I too have future creative business dreams, my biggest hurdle right now is the lack of time to develop it. But eventually, as my kids get older, it will probably happen. I have the determination and the drive and I’m an accountant and have already owned one business, I know that I have the business skills needed. I’m glad that the weekend helped you create the right path for you.

    • Christa says:

      We have a lot in common! My hubby and I are both accountants by trade and we left that to pursue creativity. You just can’t be creative with numbers or you would get yourself in trouble, LOL!! I would love to see you there next year.

  13. dezertsuz says:

    I appreciate your sharing some of what you learned. I don’t ever plan to do a business again, but I found so many things you learned resonating in my head from when I had a longarm business. I was fortunate to have Laurene Sinema, quilter, author, quiltshop owner, etc., as a friend who gave me excellent advice and saved me from so many pitfalls! The one thing I learned was to be adamant about things I didn’t do. Like windows. =)

  14. Lesley says:

    I learned a lot from reading your blog, and then spent some time at Whimseybox learning some more about lighting, etc. You’ve written an excellent summary of a summit that had some very useful sessions. Thanks for sharing!

  15. mlwilkie says:

    Very nice recap. Christa, your blog has always had great information and you should go for it!! I can relate to the “how to feel miserable as an artist” slide – there is more than one I could underline. Thanks for sharing 🙂

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