In 1998 we joined an organization that totally changed our business. We joined the CRAFT Retailers Association and met other gallery owners from across the country.
We had never before had anyone to talk to about our business who really understood the challenges of running a gallery featuring hand crafted items, made in the USA working with artists, and so on.
Through the years these folks have become like family. We see each other as much as 5 or 6 times a year (unfortunately more than I see my own family). I ended up on the board of the organization and converse with one of the people I met through CRAFT every week on one issue or the other 16 years later.
Our group started a week long celebration throughout the US celebrating American Craft. This will be it's 5th year. It's called American Craft Week.
Our group presents educational workshops at shows across the country. I've done presentations on blogging and other topics, as well as set on panels addressing issues we all have running a gallery.
I helped set up our organizations website, wrote a monthly newsletter, and so on.
We would share artists with each other, be available to assist with issues, share rooms at shows.
I got a nice award from the group for my contributions.
So thank you to Sandra, Anna, Karen, David, Anne, Diane, Donna, Don, Deb, Laurie, Rani, Bob, for your ideas, commaradry, encouragement, selfless sharing, lending a shoulder, and everything else. You have all helped us make Carolina Creations better.