Isaac is a “man of many hats” based in Portland Oregon. Per his website
, he’s a “marketing specialist, community organizer, tech junkie, jewelry designer, design nerd, typography critic, grammar guru, culinary creative, and small business writer all wrapped in a shamelessly egocentric yet deeply loyal shell”. Read more about Isaac here
and make sure to check out his blog, The Ambidextrous Brain
We had the honor of asking Isaac a few questions in preparation for this weekends event:
How did you get into the business of art and craft?
My first attempt at making a camera lens bracelet was intended purely to produce a piece of jewelry for myself. I wanted to prove to myself that this crazy idea was achievable, and I ended up with a really fantastic (but slightly rough around the edges) piece that I still wear. Once I did it, though, I realized that I really enjoyed the process, and that the idea was something that a lot of my photographer friends would really dig. I had heard about Etsy, so I set to work making a handful of bracelets, photographing them, and listing them online. That turned into a three-year part-time business for me that I fit into the cracks between my full-time job and all the other projects that fill up my life.
What is your favorite part of being an independent, crafty business owner?
The act of making will always bring a certain kind of happiness (the “I made this!” sentiment is powerful), but I really enjoyed traveling to other cities to sell my work at craft fairs. Each one was a whole new world of people who hadn’t seen my work, and each person had their own unique reaction to it. Some (retired photographers, usually) were appalled that I would destroy such beautiful equipment. Others thought it was the most brilliant idea they’d seen. And most moms just thought it was “clever”. I loved seeing the full range of reactions, watching someone fall in love with a particular piece, and talking with people about my work.
What do you think the handmade market will look like in the future?
and other online tools like Meylah
, ArtFire, and even eBay have drastically changed the way we sell handmade goods in the last five years. There’s an interesting distinction to me between fostering a local, living economy and participating in a global handmade marketplace. With flocks of people jumping on the Etsy train to try and make a buck, I think there’s going to be a shift in how craft business owners focus their efforts around selling.
I would love to see a trend toward local handmade shopping. In fact, we just need to get away from our computer screens and back out into the world! There are so many amazing boutiques and independent shops that support local artists and there is so much creativity right outside your front door! And rather than just supporting the artist directly through an online sale, when you go into a boutique to purchase an artist’s work, you are supporting two local small businesses (the artist and the shop owner), and that does more to bolster the economy and help us rebuild a proud nation of makers. The added benefit to this is personal interaction and connection. Spending your hard-earned money in a physical shop or at a craft fair provides a more personal connection to the work. You build relationships, you expand your social circle, and you’re out of the house! I hope that’s where we’re headed.
Can you share your favorite time management tip with us?
To be perfectly honest, my time management could use a lot of work! I’m a terrible procrastinator, and I tend to get distracted by shiny things, especially with the Internet at my fingertips. (Tabbed browsing is both a boon and a challenge!) This year I’ve really seen the benefits of better focusing my efforts, and using technology in my favor to help. It’s really the little things. Full screen apps (in Mac OS X Lion) help keep my eyes on the prize. Tracking my time spent through Harvest allows me to mentally block out distractions from other projects. Calendaring is really helpful for keeping my eyes further down the road, and keeping a handwritten to-do list draws a physical connection between the tasks I need to complete and the hands that will do th