In the late fall I was working on a really important story. It was a story that came to me, via an anonymous source, and I knew it had the potential to make an immediate difference in the lives of dozens of women in the quilting industry as well as a longer term implications for teacher pay rates at national quilt shows for years to come.
I’ve worked on important stories like this before (this one about Aurifil threads, this one about Etsy, and this one about RJR and Moda), but up until this fall those stories always appeared here, on my blog. I love my blog and I love my blog readers. I’ve learned so much here and plan to continue to write important stories here for a good long time to come, but over the past few years I’ve come to realize that there’s a fundamental problem for me when I write as a blogger: I’m a lone voice. I can strengthen my voice with research and by building relationships with trusted sources. I can strengthen my voice by striving for objectivity and by publishing consistently. But in the end, I am just me. It’s easy for the powers that be to write off a single voice.
This dilemma was a big part of my motivation to form an Craft Industry Alliance, an organization which brings our voices as craft business owners together. Whether we design sewing patterns for stuffed animals or knitwear, create jewelry or pottery or papercrafts, we are all invested in building thriving businesses in the craft industry. We all negotiate and sign contracts, we all write magazine articles and books, we all speak and teach, and we all want to be treated well and turn a profit and feel good about what we produce.
When I was working on that big story in early November (it was this one about pay rates at International Quilt Festival) all of the work that my co-founder, Kristin Link, and I had put into forming Craft Industry Alliance came to fruition for me for the first time. We published the article in our Journal and, although it was authored by me, it was part of a collective voice of many hundreds of people. A single post on a blog is like a whisper. An article in an industry journal is like a shout into a megaphone.
And it worked. For the first time in 17 years IQF raised teacher pay rates.
We’ve published 14 issues of the Journal to date and I want to highlight some of the pieces that stand out to me as especially important. These articles share perspectives and information that isn’t available elsewhere in the craft world:
- Melanie Falick shared why she feels it’s still worthwhile to write a craft book.
- Grace Dobush revisited the VATMESS 1 year after VATMOSS
- I explored how to bring your spouse on to work in your business part-time or full-time.
- I talked to the acquisitions editors at major online class platforms to find out how to pitch.
- Jaime Jennings at Fancy Tiger Crafts explained their diversification strategy.
- Kristin showed us how to develop a contingency plan for our businesses if we should die suddenly.
- Lawyer Carol Sulcoski explained the difference between an independent contractor and an employee.
- Agent Kate McKean deciphered the parts of a book contract…
…and there are so many more. A third of our articles are available to the general public. The rest are for members only, and the discussion continues in our online forums and webinars.
We have over 750 members now including Nancy Zieman, Spoonflower, C&T publishing, the leadership at The Modern Quilt Guild and Craftcation, UPPERCASE, and so many more than I can name including designers, makers, suppliers, publishers, brick and mortar shop owners, and bloggers.
There is strength in numbers. I hope you’ll join us.