Making it on my own

jennablog2

This is a BIG week for me! It’s the first time I have ever organized a Make It show solo. If you have been following my adventures for the last couple months, you know that in February I bought my brother Chandler out of Make It. We were biz partners for over 8 years, but mutually felt it was best for me to take over the business. Now it’s all happening! Gulp.

I feel very fortunate to have received such amazing support since making the announcement. In the beginning I didn’t know how people would react, but it’s heart warming to know that the community is so excited to see what the future holds for Make It. This is a time of massive growth for the show and I know the future is going to be very bright.

Some of the challenges I have been facing are health related. I had pneumonia for almost 6 weeks, followed by stomach flu and then last week I had a minor cold. I also dislocated my toe skiing! It’s like my body is figuring out how to adjust and recalibrate. I have been pretty frustrated with my sicknesses, but I know the only thing I can do is surrender and let go of that which I cannot control. Not the easiest thing for an A-typer like me, but I’m learning!

Even though Chandler is no longer involved in Make It, I still have lots of help. My exhibitor coordinator Brigitte is absolutely amazing and I don’t know where I’d be without her. I also recently hired Diana who is the co-founder of CraftedVan and a proud Makie. She’s a ball of joy and has been cranking out all the pretty graphics you have probably been seeing on social media. We’re a tight little team of 3, and have some major plans of craft fair domination!

Make It starts this week at the Enjoy Centre in St. Albert, and Vancouver follows 2 weeks later. There was a time recently where I was feeling totally overwhelmed and stressed out. I let all the pressure get to me, and woke up several times in the middle of the night with panic attacks. It was awful and I felt helpless.

Then after a really good session with my coach, I realized I only can control a portion of the outcome. I can control how much we promote Make It, but beyond that I have to let go so I can trust and believe the shows are going to be awesome. Because they are! This was a big realization for me and immediately took a lot of weight off my shoulders.

I think part of the reason I felt pressure is because I feel a lot of responsibility for all the Makies. I have so much loyalty, respect and love, and want nothing more than for them to have an amazing experience at the show. This is my first priority in everything I have done, and continues to be.

Because Make It has gained a strong reputation as a fun, positive and lucrative experience for Makies, the application process has become absolutely insane! Since we allowed exhibitors from the last show to put a deposit to guaranteed acceptance, we only had 80 booths available in Vancouver. Over 350 applications were submitted for these spots! My job as a curator was excruciating.

Seeing this is ridiculously exciting. It means more and more people are going for their dreams and doing something that lights them up. To be able to serve and provide a platform for the creative community is one of my biggest desires in life. I think when more people are able to do what the love there will be transformational benefits all around.

This means there’s a lot of work ahead for me. Once the spring shows are done, I’ll be revamping my online business program, Make It University. It’s something I have been wanting to do for a very loooog time. We also are FINALLY redoing the Make It website, which is also loooog overdue.

I’m also going to look at expanding Make It to other cities. I know I need to be very strategic with this, but with all of the demand it feels like it’s time. The outstanding response from shoppers is also confirmation of a shift in consumption. People are more conscious now of what they buy and want to know the story behind it. I think this is a huge reason that Make It has been booming.

Tomorrow Brigitte and I head to Edmonton. A few weeks ago I was super nervous about this trip, but now I’m feeling confident and ready. I feel like I’ve go this. I also know that all the Makies have been working hard to promote, and I’ve been able to get a lot of great PR for the show. I’m so excited to see how many early bird tickets have been purchased too! If you still need to get yours you can do that here for Edmonton (April 8-10) and here for Vancouver (April 22-24).

Wish me luck :)

Jenna_Signature

Comments

  1. I love your honesty! I wish you all the best with Make It this year. I am so excited to be a part of your Holiday show and know it will be a success and loads of fun!

  2. You are awesome Jenna and the show will be awesome! Looking forward to being a part of it again this spring! Safe travels and see you in a couple days!

  3. Hi Jenna,

    I have been wanting to comment on your blog posts lately, but kept forgetting! I just want to say, that I am so so happy that you have chosen not to sell Make It and keep on trucking along. I get so many comments from friends that they love come to Make It. I absolutely love being a part of the Make It community. I love how personable and upbeat you are. When I am part of these shows, I feel like all the makies are a part of a big family. Like I said, I’m absolutely thrilled you are going to keep going with Make It and don’t ever quit! And I think expanding the show to other cities is brilliant!

  4. If you need help for the Edmonton show I would like to volunteer. I host small markets in Edmonton and Drayton Valley and I am A handmade vendor myself. I don’t want a thing, just to be there for what you would need.

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