Sunday, November 21, 2010

DIY Trunk Show

This past Saturday I had time before class to drop into a hotbed of craftiness, where well over 100 people were displaying their hand-made wares. As is often the case at tradeshows, some makers were sharing a space with others (I remember doing the same at ICFF in 2004).

The Chicago Craft Mafia has been holding the DIY Trunk Show for several years now, and the energy and crowd at the event - considering it's far from the only craft fair this season - is quite impressive.

After chatting with a couple people I knew, such as Stephanie Keller, I mustered the courage to finally chat up someone new, and as it turned out, it was Cinnamon Cooper, one of the Mafia founders. She pointed me in the direction of Rebeca Mojica and Beth Cummings, and told me I needed to have words with Gapers Block, who was sitting there next to the DJ on stage.

To my great surprise, none of them bit my nose off, nor shooshed me away. In fact, they seemed eager to be interviewed for my research, and each got one of my 12 tiny business cards that I churned out an hour before arriving.

I clearly needed about ten times as many.


  1. Nice write-up on the DIY show. Whether you knew it or not, you came to the perfect place for your research. The Chicago Craft Mafia is an all-volunteer group of independent crafters/artists/artisans whose mission is to support and nurture the local crafting community. They organize the DIY Trunk Show, they organize quarterly "Craft Rackets" where budding crafters can learn about everything from supplementing their sales income with teaching opportunities, to how to use social media to reach new audiences and strengthen customer relationships, to how to deal with the business end of being an independent crafter. They also organize a special spring event at which crafters can sell surplus or otherwise unneeded craft supplies at good prices to other crafters who might be able to use them.
    The Craft Mafia and the DIY Trunk show is mission-driven, not profit-driven, and the only people who benefit financially are the crafters who are invited to participate.
    Knowing this, of course you would find that everyone with whom you spoke welcomed your interest and would be more than happy to help you promote and nurture the local crafting community. If you didn't happen to see it on the DIY Trunk Show website, take a look at the Chicago Craft Mafia "Craftifesto" at
    Craft is powerful.
    Craft is personal.
    Craft is political.
    Craft is possible.
    I, along with Cinnamon, Beth, Rebeca, Corrine, Lindsay, Katie, Amy, Brandy, and Richelle, am very proud to be a member of the Chicago Craft Mafia.

  2. Very nice new blog, Carl!
    I like the pics here that you start with. Good to read about your interviewing people!

    I can only imagine just how very hard it would be to try to make a living on what I could knit and sell on etsy. I think I would have to knit during all my waking hours and still it would not be enough.

  3. Hey, Edgewater!

    Glad you like the post. And thanks very much for the extra info. You were just one of the dozens of nifty makers I got to meet at the show!

    Looking forward to getting some interviews up!