We are continuing our interview series about local people and companies that are helping the maker and handmade communities. This week I had the honor and pleasure of meeting up with former Jersey Girl, Christina Loff - marketing guru and current awesome employee of SF Based CreativeLive (We met on this rooftop!) Christina and SFEtsy have an exciting meet-up planned for next week (read about that at the end of the interview).
We are so very lucky to have several local amazing and supportive small businesses here in the Bay Area and I continue to be impressed with how open and welcoming these companies are to our team.
Enjoy this interview and if you want to come to CreativeLive on Thursday - sign up here!
Photo credit: DearHandmadeLife
1. Can you tell us a little about yourself?
My name is Christina Loff. I have an Etsy shop called Tweet Sweet that I opened in 2007 but I haven't sold on Etsy for at least 5 years. I'm more of an Etsy shopper than seller these days!
I've been doing marketing for creative companies since 2005 and quickly realized that I liked marketing makers and creative companies more than I liked having my own craft business. I currently work in the marketing department at CreativeLive which means I get to do fun things like invite SFEtsy to come hang out with us and watch our craft classes.
I have lived in SF for 17 years but grew up in Jersey. You can find me everywhere as @tweetsweet (instagram, Pinterest, Twitter).
2. How did you first get involved with makers and the handmade community?
I first got involved in this awesome community by making and selling jewelry and anything you could imagine made out of duct tape. There was no shortage of craft fairs and stores to sell handmade goods to when I started my business in SF in 2003. And I was lucky enough to have a lot of friends who showed me the ropes and introduced me to store owners.
3. What do you find most exciting about working with makers, entrepreneurs, and artisans?
I'm endlessly inspired by the makers I get to meet. One of my favorite jobs was working on craft books when I was at Chronicle Books. I was so lucky to meet so many amazing and talented artists who I still call friends today. And it was so much fun to help get there work out into the world.
4. What do you find most challenging about working with makers, entrepreneurs, and artisans?
The thing that has always surprised me about working with creative people is how hard it is for them to promote themselves. I also do freelance pr for makers and artists and even the most talented people I work with don't always feel confident talking about their work. The best advice I can give is to always be putting your work and yourself out there, you never know who you might meet when you're talking about what you do.
5. Tell me about a special maker/artisian you’ve met in your travels?
There are too many to pick just one! I made a lot of great friends selling at craft fairs but I was also lucky enough to work with some amazing makers while I was at Chronicle. One of my all time favorite people from that time was Julie Jackson of Subversive Cross Stitch, she had some wacky and wonderful ideas and it was great fun working with her to promote her books. Working with Lotta Jansdotter was also pretty special and getting to throw events with her in her beautiful space in Brooklyn was really fun.
6. How did you learn about SFEtsy?
Pretty sure the first time I found out about SFEtsy was at a craft fair where you were all selling together!
7. What is one of your primary goals for 2015?
I do some work with SF Bazaar and we've got some fun things brewing for 2015.
8. What’s the one online tool you’ve discovered that can help makers propel their business?
I'm still in awe at the power of Pinterest for sellers. When I worked at Hello!Lucky Pinterest was one of our biggest traffic drivers. It's all about having a pinnable site and taking beautiful photos of your products that people will want to pin. But make sure to title your photos so when they're pinned your name shows up!
9. Do you have any words of wisdom to help makers in their businesses?
Photo credit: DearHandmadeLife
Thanks again Christina for your time and showing off CreativeLive's amazing space! As promised, we are excited to announce that CreativeLive has invited SFEtsy members, friends and family to come out and enjoy a very special meet-up. Next Thursday, March 5th, CreativeLive will be taping two Etsy classes and YOU are invited to attend either or BOTH!
Longtime Etsy team captain and organizer of Seattle Handmade, Marlo Miyashiro will be teaching from the CreativeLive Seattle studios and they will do a special live broadcast just for us!
The first class of the day will be Marlo's Etsy 101 class that will be from 9am - 12pm. Breakfast will be served starting at 8am. We will be mingling and socializing before the class begins. Maybe you feel you are past Etsy 101, but Marlo is super smart and is a wealth of knowledge and it will be fun :) Sign up here.
The second class will begin at 12:45 - 4pm with breaks and Marlo will be teaching SEO for Etsy. You can arrive for this class at 12pm and we will have lunch and snacks (and socializing of course!).
BONUS: If you come and attend the meet-up (either class or both) you will receive both of these classes (and all the materials) for free ($58 value)
We have room for up to 50 people at this meet-up so I hope to see you there! RSVP here.
If you made it to the end of this post, you are now rewarded with a cute kitten photo: