I’ve been meaning to write my thoughts about Craftcation, but it’s been hard. Life happens and soon your to-do list is longer than its ever been and you’re grasping for moments of time to get it all out.
For me, Craftcation was a getaway. I needed a chance to decompress and breathe in sea air. In Ventura, you can do that. The ocean is practically sitting next to you and the calm that comes with taking it in was worth the trip.
I was, admittedly, very excited to attend an event that was focused on the crafters, makers, and those who appreciate handmade in all its incarnations. I was also excited to hear, from the mouths of successful crafty bloggers and business folks, how to make my business better.
And I got some of that. To put a finer point on it, Craftcation didn’t meet all my expectations.
Some of the high points of Craftcation?
- Ventura! What a city! I fell in love with it. It’s super walkable and it’s regenerating. Restaurants, stores, and the beach make it a place worth exploring.
- The soap making workshop! I’ve been wanting to teach soap making, but didn’t know how. This workshop gave me some guidelines. Still, I might talk to the lovely people from Clean Getaway for more pointers – they are professionals!
- Gustavo Arellano‘s workshop on marketing yourself through media outlets. This was an insightful and eye-opening presentation that confirmed my belief that promotion comes more from having passion for what you do and letting that guide your path.
- The Ventura food tour! Not only was this a walking tour allowing me to become further familiar with the landscape of Ventura, but at each stop we got to taste cheese, chocolate, wine, olive oil, and pastries. We got to meet the fine small business owners of Ventura that take a shared, unique pride in making their city amazing. Definitely inspiring to see people making their dreams materialize.
- Sé Reed. This lady! Holy moly! A phenomenal presentation on SEO from the perspective that being honest and creating content for your community is better than taking shady shortcuts. I would love to see Sé speak again about all the other amazing work that she does! Follow her on Twitter or Facebook to connect with her!
- Evan Kleiman‘s cooking class. This impassioned class had me reeling! Evan is the most divine representation of simple cooking. Everything we made was easy – no foams or fuss. It was honest food that got my engines revved for cooking at home. As an aside, Evan is a delightful person who shared personal stories about her travels and family and that insight into her world endeared me to her forever.
Low points of Craftcation?
- Registration for classes was a bust. I was disappointed to learn that attending classes bore costs beyond the admittance fee for workshops that quickly filled up. As you see above, I got in to ONE craft class (the soap class) – and I wouldn’t have gotten that had I not had the time to jump on registering right when registration opened. I can’t imagine the number of people that were literally relegated to the leftovers , that might not apply to their interests, because there was no room for them in other workshops.
- Some of the presentations were disappointing. Presenters had a tough time staying focused on the subject matter, seemed unprepared, or they talked about something entirely different than what they were supposed to be presenting on. One class in particular disappointed me as it seemed more an opportunity for the presenter to share their new book than talk about their successes in the world of blogging.
I know it can be difficult to get up in front of a room of people and present, but most of the individuals that were attending Craftcation were there for what they deemed valuable information that they could apply to their own businesses. It’s a let down to expect expertise and get something else entirely.
Don’t get me wrong. I know it’s hard to plan an event of this size and I’m also deeply aware of the growing pains that come with the popularity of an event like this. I’m positive that the planners of this event wring their hearts and souls into Craftcation and there is no way that my experience is a sole representation of other attendees and their experiences.
That being said, I’m not sure I would go to Craftcation again. The experience, on the whole, was not life changing. But that’s just me.
I can’t leave out that I may or may not have experienced a ghost at my AirBnB. If you want to know more about that – Ask me!
I want to make explicit mention of my Denver cohorts during this trip – Ellen (Helliemae’s) and Lindsey and Mikel (Clean Getaway). These people made my trip tons more fun. We talked, ate, drank whiskey and without them…I wouldn’t have had half the fun I did. So, thanks to them!