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What is the Craft Industry Alliance?
Well, first of all, it’s an organization which has the abbreviation “CIA”, so once you join you can legitimately tell people that you’re in the CIA…which I do…quite often. OMG- we need a CIA pin! Ok- back on topic.
But it’s obviously so much more than that! The CIA is an organization of creative professionals seeking support and feedback, offering sound advice, and asking hard questions about the industry. It’s headed up by two of the smartest business owners in the independent craft world, Abby Glassenberg of While She Naps and Kristin Link of Sew Mama Sew
Why Did I Join?
Point blank: I joined because of Abby. I found out about the CIA when she announced the launch on her podcast, which is also called “While She Naps”. Abby’s blog and podcast interviews have been a constant source of information and inspiration for me as SewHere.com has grown and evolved. I took her Email Marketing Jumpstart course, and I knew when she announced that she was heading up a trade organization it would be useful and relevant.
Like a lot of makers and online business-people, I can feel isolated and unsure about the ever-changing nature of online business. How should I use social media vs. email? How will Facebook’s new algorithm affect my business? What in the ever-loving-world is GDPR?
Instead of just sitting alone, hunched over my computer asking these questions, I’ve got a community of people who are on the same page as me to bounce ideas off of and ask questions.
What Do I Get from the CIA?
My favorite thing about the CIA is their webinars. Recent topics include “Showcase Your Brand on Instagram with Planoly” with Priscilla Castro (I’ll be watching that one this weekend, because I missed it live), “Innovative Ways to Diversify Your Craft Business” with Vanessa Vargas Wilson, and “Making the most of MailChimp” with Maeri Howard.
It’s great if I can make it to these sessions when they’re live, but I also love it that they are recorded and added to the library. If you join the CIA today, they’ll all be waiting for you!
A close second to the webinars are the Coffee Klatsch meetings. This is where a bunch of members join in a Zoom session and talk about recent projects. You never know what you’re going to learn! I set up my phone in my studio and listen in. You never know what kind of gems you’ll glean from these conversations
It’s Worth It
CIA membership is $69/year for individuals and small businesses (about $5.75/month), which is an excellent value for the content that Kristin and Abby curate. They just sent out an update that they’re looking to expand membership to larger companies in the crafting space in order to facilitate relationships between businesses large and small- I’m excited to see what’s to come!
There’s No Bullshit
One of the most annoying and challenging aspects of running an online business is all of the crap that people try to sell you. Ads like, “Make a million dollars by running a webinar!” or “Live on a private island while running your online business”.
Running any business is a challenge, and getting advice from experts and people with a lot of experience is priceless. Whenever I get to read, watch, or listen to content from the CIA, I feel like it’s something I can trust, and I think you’ll like it too!