Sweet Interview: Schoolhouse Craft in Seattle

Last year, I was a speaker at the amazing small business conference Schoolhouse Craft in Seattle. Well, I no longer live in Seattle, but I sure do love that conference. It's a fantastic resource for small business owners and those who want to start a small business, full of workshops, panels, and classes designed to help get things going. Ready to buy a ticket for the event this year, Sept 21-23? Click here. And below, get to know the organizer, Kristen Rask:

Schoolhouse Craft, part Deux! How does it feel? It feels good. It is always stressful during this time, getting attendees, making sure the schedule is up and correct, making sure everyone has what they need but I am really excited about the program so that helps!

I'd like to get it out of the way, so let me ask--what kind of sweet treats will be on hand this year? Hahaha yes of course! We have Trophy Cupcakes coming, Half Pint Ice Cream one night and Theo Chocolate. Amoungst other sweet treats I am sure. MailChimp is also sponsoring our happy hour social so that means all drinks and food is on them. How AWESOME IS THAT??

Let me ask--who goes to a conference like this? Who can get something out of it? Man, it ranges from brand new folks who aren't too sure what Twitter is or Blogging to seasoned professionals. I love the range. The common denominator is that the attendees are mostly women. I think we had one guy last year?

What are some of the conference highlights? I think Getting your Crafty Idea Published is a great class! You not only get to hear about the world of publishing BUT at the end of the class you can pitch your book ideas to editors at Sasquatch Books (CakeSpy's publisher!) which has published some amazing books. One of our attendees last year got a book deal. I hope we have another success story again this year. I really think the schedule runs the course so if you are a newbie, classes such as Blogging 101 or Social Marketing for your business will be highly beneficial. Old hats may find Bookkeeping or Wholesaling more of interest. We have it all!

What has changed since the last conference? We did notice that were more newbies at our last conference so this year we really tried to get classes for all ranges. We kinda broke them up into elementary to advanced. I think we have a much larger range this year than last.

If people are coming to the conference from out of town, what do you suggest to do/eat/see in the area for after or before conference hours? Oh man. There is so much to eat: Trophy Cupcakes will be at the event but Jennifer has made such a great place that you should go check out one of her shops as well. The cupcakes are to die for. Salumi is a great place to go if you can get in and like meat. Hot Cakes is awesome in Ballard. I am currently obsessed with Crumble and Flake. So amazing! There is absolutely no shortage of amazing restaurants. Sitka and Spruce is my favorite and if you get the chance, you must eat there! For things to see/do: I think what Seattle is special for is all the great neighborhoods. You could spend hours just walking around the various spots such as Capitol Hill, Ballard, Fremont, West Seattle, etc. The parks are also so amazing such as Lincoln Park, Denny Blaine, Seward Park, etc. I took my friend to Highland Drive in Queen Anne for a sunset when she was just visiting. That view is amazing and makes me love where I live! We now have The Wheel or whatever they are calling it. If you have a large enough party and it's nice out, it could be a nice view. Kayaking is great here or getting on the water somehow, a ferry ride to Bainbridge is fun and inexpensive. There is a lot to do here.

Sometimes I feel like going to events like this, I get REALLY overwhelmed with all of the ideas and inspirations and don't know what to do with it all! Any tips for getting the most from your conference? Take lots of notes and take breaks when you feel overwhelmed. We have spots where you can just network or relax. I do think it can get overwhelming but I feel so inspired my brain feels like it could explode! And in a good way. You just gotta take the breaks when you feel like your brain might explode in a bad way.

Anything else we should know? I have been in business for 8 years and been doing crafty businesses for 18 and I still learn new things and feel so inspired. It's also a great way to network which is crucial to a successful business.