Make It Blog

I'm happy to welcome craft-obsessed Shannon from Make It, a new blogger based in Davis Square, Somerville. She not only blogs, but she's a crafter herself and loves creating jewelry, painting, knitting and is learning how to sew, too. On top of that, she's passionately exploring the wonderful world of batik. Shannon even has an etsy store!

Make It focuses mainly on the business side of crafting, so it's light on eye candy, heavy on well thought out content - Shannon believes in inspiration through education, and posts at least twice daily. Make It offers tips on starting your own business (What's the right consignment fee for a new boutique? for instance), crafter interviews, selling how-to's, and a new monthly feature, Ask An Expert. This feature offers Make It readers a chance to learn from those who Shannon deems an expert in their field. She selects a topic that she would like to learn more about, hunts down an expert, asks them a series of questions, and shares the fruitage of her labor with Make It readers. "Everyone is very eager to share their knowledge and I've met a ton of talented people", Shannon says. "The craft scene is mostly female and they I love that there are so many women with entrepreneurial goals."

Want to know what else Shannon has to say? Of course you do!

decor8: Hi Shannon. Since I've already introduced you to decor8 readers, why don't you tell us about what you're looking to accomplished via Make It, you know, big picture here...

shannon: I have a lot of goals for myself. Of course, visibility (via Make It) for my own crafty pursuits. I'd love for Make It to evolve to a point where it's a behind the scenes look at my own experience as I build my crafty business, but I'm not there yet. A book is also something I'm thinking of. There's definitely a need for a book about the business side of creative enterprises. Someone has to write it, why not me? As I continue to blog, learn more, and meet crafters, the book idea will develop more. I'm currently working on my first freelance writing gig and that's a direct result of someone from a magazine seeing my blog. Eventually I'd love to start an organization like the Boston-based Artists for Humanity, which is a program that teaches youth artistic skills and then also teaches them about the business side of the arts with the goal of bridging racial, social and economic divides. What an inspiring organization. Make It is a starting point for a variety of creative endeavors that I want to achieve.

decor8: Great goals! From your own experience, and I know you're new at this, but what is the best thing about blogging thus far?

shannon: It's such an easy way to get your writing onto the internet for potentially anyone to see. I highly encourage those who want to express their creative side, but aren't sure where to start, to just blog and develop your ideas from there. It's so easy and it can lead you places you never anticipated. I see my blog almost as a mini-magazine. I think of the things that I would do if I had magazine about the business of crafts, and then I make those ideas work for my blog. Best part, the budget is lower and the turnaround time is 24 hours instead of 6 months (compared to print publications). The medium of what a blog can be or do is really expanding and I love it. An idea can go straight from my head to my blog and there's nothing anyone can do or say about it (for better or for worse). On my blog, I answer to no one!

decor8: There are lots of crafty blogs. What do you think makes your blog stand out?

shannon: As far as I know there isn't another blog offering a daily dose of information about this subject. The Switchboards is an amazing resource, as are a number of other online craft communities: Get Crafty, Supernaturale, Etsy, Craftster. But these are all forum-based communities. Sometimes the problems with forums is that there can be so much information that you have to know what you're looking for or you'll get overwhelmed. With my blog, it's just two posts a day, it's quick, it's easy and maybe a reader will hear about something they had never thought of before.

decor8: Let's switch gears now, shall we? As a local, I'd like to hear what you think sets Boston apart from other cities...

shannon: Boston has alot of the advantages of a big city but feels like a small city. It's very walkable, it's very safe and it's not intimidating in a way I find New York City to be. I also love autumn and no one does autumn like New England! I also really enjoy the proximity to other major cities, in August I went to NYC one weekend and then Philly the next. Everything is pretty accesible.

decor8: What are your favorite Boston-based design/crafty stores?

shannon: Hmm, this is a tough one because as a recent college grad I am extremely frugal. I have relied on Craigslist for so much of my post-college life from furniture to apartments to volunteer opportunities, so that's my favorite "store" of all time. I also love thrift stores and Urban Renewals located on 122 Brighton Avenue in Allston is incredible.

decor8: Other than blogs, are there any creative websites that you suggest visiting for inspiration?

shannon: I pretty much only visit blogs. I visit The Hunt in NY Times Sunday Real Estate section because they always profile an average person's space and I love to see how average people live (not magazine people). It also makes me glad I don't live in the land of $2,000 per month studio apartments. I check Lotta Jansdotter's site probably once a week. I am a huge fan of her work and her career and she's a big inspiration. I wrote about her in my second blog post ever. I visit decor8 and other design and craft blogs daily, those are my main source of inspiration.

decor8: What are five subjects that you'd like to learn more about and why?

shannon: I want to become a batik expert, so I want to really dig into that subject. How to be an effective writer (obvious reasons). How to sew and how to quilt. Because batik is the process of designing and dyeing fabric, I want to be able to then make that fabric into something. Also HTML and web design interest me because I'd like to be able to do cooler things with my blog and create my own crafting business website.

decor8: Favorite trends you're seeing...

shannon: I like the trend towards more organic and handmade items. I think in light of issues like global warming and foreign oil dependence, people are becoming more concerned about where the things they buy come from. That applies not only to gifts and clothing (see American Apparel) but food and furniture. I think it's great because I want to be a part of the handmade industry, but I also think it makes alot of sense for the planet.

decor8: Indulgences?

shannon: Pizza and expensive shoes. There's always room for expensive shoes. :)

Thank you Shannon for stopping by and sharing your blog with decor8 readers.

Due to limited space, I try to keep interviews brief. If you have additional questions for Shannon, please ask her by clicking on 'comments' below. Shannon will answer your questions there. Thank you!

(images from Shannon)

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