2014 Schedule
Interactive: March 7–11  •  Film: March 7–15  •  Music: March 11–16

Navigating the New Handmade Economy

#sxsw #Handmade


The handmade economy is a vibrant and growing sector, with increased online and in-person platforms to help makers and creatives build their businesses and sell their work. As events like the Renegade Craft Fair and Marker Faire and markets like the Brooklyn Flea draw hundreds of sellers and thousands of audience members and online platforms like Etsy, Ravelry, and BurdaStyle draw thousands of new users each month this panel investigates the emerging, nuanced challenges and opportunities facing handmade entrepreneurs. It will focus on: building a lasting business support network; distinguishing oneself on crowded online platforms; scaling up and building profitability while staying connected to the handmade community; and protecting one’s intellectual and creative property. This discussion between four experts who are makers themselves will put a spotlight on the innovative solutions DIY business owners are developing to navigate this quickly changing economic landscape.



Courtney Klossner

Digital Content Consultant


Librarian, band adviser, digital content manager, technology trainer and a lot of other things.


Eleanor Whitney

Program Officer, New York Foundation for the Arts, Freelance Writer

Eleanor Callott Whitney is a strategic partnerships manager and creative programmer who is passionate about art, creativity and entrepreneurship. She is an entrepreneur, writer, rock musician, and educator raised in Maine and living in Brooklyn. She is the author of Grow, a practical field guide for starting a creative business, released in 2013 by Microcosm Publishing. For over a decade, Eleanor has worked with world-class museums and creative companies to plan events that connect audiences with art and the company’s mission, identify and manage national strategic partnerships, facilitate professional development workshops for creatives, and devise and implement strategies for content creation and presentation. She is currently a freelance project manager and fund raiser who is learning back-end web development and very inspired by New York City’s vibrant, startup scene.


Rena Tom


Makeshift Society

I am the founder of Makeshift Society, a coworking space for creative freelancers in San Francisco and Brooklyn. I am also a strategist and matchmaker for independent business owners, designers and developers, guiding them through the intricacies of small-batch manufacturing and boutique retail. And, in my spare time, I am Market Editor at Anthology Magazine and a columnist for UPPERCASE Magazine.


Sharon Fain

Co-Founder of the Academy of Handmade Artists & Supporters, Owner at Right Brain Pr

Academy of Handmade/Right Brain PR

Sharon has worked with handmade artists through her public relations and communications agency Right Brain PR. Former clients have included Make.Shop.Live., CRAFTED at the port of los angeles and Fruition. Together with KC, she organized and promoted the second largest Etsy Party in 2012. She has been helping creatives with writing (having herself contributed to Design*Sponge), strategy and media relations since she was in college.

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Music sponsor

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Interactive sponsors

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