New Craft Your Commerce Series Kicks off March 1

Courtesy of East Fork Pottery

The Center for Craft, UNC Asheville, and Mountain BizWorks announce Entrepreneur’s Workshop: Craft Your Commerce, a new pilot program to connect, elevate, and advance emerging and established makers/designers who have craft-inspired businesses.

Using research responses from over 300 area makers/designers, the series is designed to address top identified craft business topics, share insights from professional makers with strong sector experience, and foster peer-to-peer learning. Workshop pricing is accessible ($20-40) and is currently available.

The inaugural series includes three interactive workshops and a five-week course, all featuring nationally acclaimed presenters at the forefront of the craft field. Craft Your Commerce, the pilot series of the newly formed Entrepreneur’s Workshop program launches March 1 and runs through May 24. All sessions will be held at the Center for Craft in downtown Asheville (67 Broadway). Full details are available at www.craftyourcommerce.com.

“The collective experience of the presenters is exceptional,” said Stephanie Moore, Executive Director of the Center for Craft. “The series will address many of the key questions and areas of need expressed by area makers and designers. The pilot program offers a great opportunity to advance our region’s creative sector through our partnership with UNC Asheville and Mountain BizWorks.”

The workshops will be followed by a special Mountain BizWorks Alpine cohort for those interested in integrating the strategies and tools offered in the three workshops.

“Each session will be insightful and compelling on its own, but we’ve also designed the series to progressively build on each topic,” adds Annie Milroy Price, the Mountain BizWorks business coach facilitating the workshop series and leading the Alpine Course. “We encourage participation in the whole series to get the fullest Craft Your Commerce experience.”

A summary of the Craft Your Commerce series follows:

  • March 1 – Market Positioning: The Foundation of Your Business Strategy ($20)
    Featuring Regina Connell, former Director of Communications at Heath Ceramics. Positioning is one of the most important “business” decisions you will make. This workshop will cover why positioning is foundational for your business, how to do it, and how it will inform everything from your strategy to your brand, your pricing, your partnerships and your communications.
  • March 15 – Capture & Convey: Telling Your Story Through Images ($40)
    Featuring Nicole McConville, acclaimed Asheville-based photographer and craft publishing veteran. Images are an essential tool in conveying your perspective and standing out in our visually driven world. Use strategic exercises to determine your unique entrepreneurial story and learn how to communicate it through photography that best showcases you, your work, and your values. 
  • April 10 – Sustainable Growth Strategies: Exploring Creative and Profitable Maker Pathways ($20)
    Featuring the founders of Bloodroot Blades (Athens, GA) and Alex Matisse of East Fork Pottery (Asheville, NC). Artists and makers with a growing audience often wrestle with whether, when, and how to scale their operations. This panel discussion and workshop explore ways to align your business model and practices with your long-term vision, while remaining profitable.
  • April 26 – Alpine Cohort for Makers ($375, community scholarships available through Mountain BizWorks)
    Facilitated by Annie Milroy Price of Mountain BizWorks and Birds Eye Business Planning. This 5-week cohort experience will aid existing makers and creative entrepreneurs in integrating learnings from the workshops into their business practices. The course will guide participants through a comprehensive assessment of their experience producing and selling to date, while also addressing the opportunities and challenges currently at hand.

“Our students are working in all disciplines across campus to establish businesses and will greatly benefit from being included in this series of informative pre-professional workshops,” said Brent Skidmore, UNC Asheville Public Arts and Humanities Chair. “Many of these students start their prototyping of great ideas at the STEAM Studio.”

UNC Asheville’s STEAM Studio (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math) is an educational space located at the River Arts Makers Place (RAMP) that engages the next generation of makers, engineers, artists and entrepreneurs, who work side-by-side with faculty and staff experts experienced in all facets of the creative process. STEAM Studio brings together innovation, design, and fabrication with equipment for 3-D modeling, as well as water jet, laser, and plasma cutters.

UNC Asheville students are eligible for workshop scholarships. Interested students should contact Brent Skidmore: bskidmore@unca.edu.

Full details and ticketing information (including early-bird pricing through February 12) can be found at www.craftyourcommerce.com.

About Shelby Harrell
Shelby Harrell is the editor of the Biltmore Beacon, editor of The Guide arts and entertainment publication and is a staff writer for Mountaineer Publishing. Originally from Asheville, she has worked in journalism for seven years and currently lives in Clyde, NC.