Hello there and welcome to the Creative Pursuit Collective (CPC) Blog! All of us here are so happy you decided to drop in and see what we’re all about.
Before we regale you with advice columns and how-to posts, studio visits or gift guides, I wanted to share a little bit about the backstory of the formation of the CPC.
A little over two years ago, Kyla of Impressed By Nature, approached me (Jeannine Komush of Tangleweeds) with a question: would I be interested in starting a small handmade business support group of sorts? I said yes immediately, as this was something I had wanted to start a couple of years ago myself but kept “back burnering” as running Tangleweeds always kept me so busy. But here was another talented lady with her own creative handmade biz who wanted to start a group with me?! I was totally down. I knew that having another person to start the group with would be the motivation I needed to make this idea a reality.
Kyla and I probably spent a few weeks (maybe a month or so) hashing out the details of what we wanted the group to look like. We drafted an invite email, talked to people we wanted to invite to join the group and set our first meeting for April of 2015.
You’re probably wondering why we wanted to start this group? What was our goal? Our agenda? Well, mainly we wanted to create an incubator of sorts to support both the two of us and our fellow handmade, creative business owners. We all work very hard at our respective businesses, and sometimes it can feel like you’re working in a vacuum. The world of small handmade businesses has exploded in the last decade, but given the solitary nature of working for oneself, it was very important for us to go out and create our own community of makers and business ladies.
This April we celebrate our two year anniversary as a group, and while the group has gone through some structural and membership changes, the core of it remains the same: to provide in-person and online support for us to grow and maintain our small handmade businesses. We provide this support by sharing resources and our own personal stories of triumph and adversity. (And trust me, there is plenty of adversity to be shared!) I think a BIG part of our success owes itself to a decision that Kyla and I made right from the beginning: there was not going to be one designated leader or president of the group. If this group was going to succeed, every single member was going to need to find ways to contribute and help us grow as a team. That way when one or two members was having an especially busy month, others could step in to fill that gap.
Personally, I think the biggest positive for me has been our monthly, in-person group meetings. At these meetings we have time to simply socialize and share what’s going on with ourselves personally, but we also check in with each other about our businesses. We talk about the things holding us back, the hurdles we’re facing that month (or week or year), and the big and small wins we’ve had with our work. We celebrate and we commiserate. Our meetings started out two years ago running two hours long. . . but we always ran over. Now we schedule our meetings for three hours, and even then we have a hard time wrapping up when we should!
We’ve intentionally kept our group small. Currently we’re at 7 members (6 businesses total, as one of the businesses is run by a wife-husband duo). We’re looking to possibly add two new members in the next couple of months. If you’re a fellow creative business person and you’ve been running your business for a couple of years or more, especially if you’ve been feeling a little unmoored or without work cohorts, I highly recommend creating your own small business group. Kyla and I started out with pretty modest expectations for the group, but we’ve seen it flourish and grow into something strong and mutually supportive of all our members. All you need is 3 or 4 folks doing something similar to what you’re doing, and a commitment to in-person meetings (I think this part is ESSENTIAL) and you’ll most likely find that the group grows in it’s own uniquely organic way that will be so fulfilling!
Our website here is new, and if I can say so myself, we’re pretty darn excited about it. We look forward to sharing resources and business stories, inspirations and turmoils with all of you fellow creatives reading along. Join us here in our pursuits in crafting a more connected creative community!