First off, I want to take a moment to thank you for all your kindness, support and love after my last post when I announced that I was buying out Chandler from Make It. I felt a little nervous sharing the news because I didn’t know what people’s reactions would be. To get overwhelmingly supportive feedback felt incredible! I’m SO grateful to everyone who sent me a sweet message or note on social media. It really means so much
I’m writing this on a plane flying back to Vancouver from Edmonton. I was asked to be the keynote speaker at the Alberta Farmers Market Association (AFMA) conference. A few of the Makies were organizing, and I thought it sounded like a good opportunity to share my message and connect with a new community. I want to do more speaking so whenever I get an opportunity, I say YES!
When I first walked into the room I was a little apprehensive because it was filled with real farmers and market organizers from all over Alberta. Many were much older than me too. Typically I speak to bloggers, artists and creative entrepreneurs who are around my age. My slides contain sparkles, kittens and lots of pink! I wasn’t sure if the farmers would appreciate or find my girlie presentation useful.
I luckily had a good hour and a strong wifi signal before I spoke, so I spent that time rejigging my slides. I knew my message would be the same, but I wanted to serve my audience as much possible in a way that resonated with them. Making last min changes was a bit stressful, but I felt good about it too.
The venue that the AFMA ironically was where I organized my first ever craft show almost 9 years ago. I let that sink in before I stepped in front of the microphone. Then I channelled the energy that I felt as 26 year old Jenna running around that same space with her big dream…that eventually came true.
It was surreal and emotional. When I first agreed to be a keynote speaker, I had a moment where I second guessed if this was an opportunity that I really wanted to do or not. I’m crazy busy at the moment with Make It less than 1 month away, and I’m trying to only say yes to the things that I actually want to do. When I began to speak to the farmers I knew that I was absolutely meant to be in that room to serve them, but also to remind myself of how far I’ve come in the last 9 years.
When my friend Ally and I organized our first Stop & Shop (pre Make It) in 2007, our goal was to create a craft fair that our friends would want to come to. We knew it was going to be awesome, but I would have never imagined that idea would have grown into what Make It is today. Giving my presentation allowed me to reflect on why I continue to do what I do.
Although I had a good idea of what I was going to speak about, I had a few transcendental moments where I said things that effortlessly flowed from my lips. I was in a flow and energy that gave me clarity and certainty in my message. It felt freaking awesome and I it was one of the best speaking gigs I’ve ever done. I also knew I was born to speak on stage and deeply desire to do more of it.
The reason I feel Make It has grown into what it is today boils down to a few core ideas and beliefs we developed in the early days. At the time they came naturally, but now I realize they’re the pillars and standards that the business is built on today.
7 reasons why Make It has made it:
1. Get people excited about why you are doing what you’re doing. When Ally and I came up with the concept for Stop & Shop we basically just wanted to create a craft fair our friends would want to sell at and attend. We told everyone our ‘why’ and they were excited because we were. Our buzz created more buzz.
2. Develop a story that touches people on an emotional level. When I tell the story of how I started Booty Beltz and later Make It, I talk about how I felt and what I experienced emotionally. It wasn’t always pretty, but there were some exhilarating highs along the way. I’ve been able to tell my story in a way that makes me feel what a felt in the moment. This transcends and is effective for getting press, partnerships and raving fans.
3. Create a community that’s fun and lively. I don’t even know when we first used the term ‘Makie’ to refer to our exhibitors, but it’s been such a perfect way to define the Make It community. It feels friendly, personal and welcoming, which is why I think it’s caught on. Plus, it developed very naturally and organically.
4. Always come from a place of service and the rest will fall into place. I’ve mentioned this many times, but about 6 years ago the fabulous Danielle LaPorte coached Chandler and I and told us if we treated our exhibitors like rockstars everything would work out. I never forgot those wise words and still think about them constantly.
5. Energy is everything. Since the beginning, I’ve be conscious that Make It’s differentiation factor is an upbeat, lively and FUN experience! The focus is always on good vibes. This attracts and repels the perfect people for us.
6. Collaboration is the new competitions. This is a new and modern way of thinking and doing business. I will never look at other craft fairs as competition and always see them as allies. It’s us against mass production, box stores and malls. When you flow you grow, and there’s nothing flow-y about aggressive competition.
7. Appreciation and gratitude everyday. I freaking LOVE our Makies and the community that surrounds them. They’re my tribe and I’m thankful to be able to build a platform to help them thrive and do what they love.
Thank you from the bottom of my heart for all your continued support! If you want to apply to be a Makie for our upcoming holiday shows you can do so here. If you want to come SHOP at our spring show in Edmonton April 8-10, grab your early bird tickets here. For Vancouver the show is April 22-24 and you can get your tickets here.