My name is Jenna Herbut and here is my crafty entrepreneurial story:
It all started with a belt, a Booty Belt actually! In 2002 I was so fired up about my idea, that I decided to write a business plan for one of my University of Alberta marketing classes. Booty Betlz became a reality upon graduation, and I was soon selling my fabric sash belts to 120 boutiques all over Canada, USA and Japan. It was a total thrill growing my biz and it allowed me to experience and learn so much. I also became a pro at PR, and was able to get my Booty Beltz in numerous magazines, newspapers and on TV.
After a couple years in, I had a new line called Bootyfly Bags that was selling a lot better than my belts. Around this time I was also starting to feel burnt out from wholesaling and wasn’t enjoying my business nearly as much. A fellow artisan asked me if I would be interested in selling some of my old Booty Beltz stock at an outdoor street festival. At first I was skeptical because I thought it was a step in the wrong direction but something inside of me thought it would be really fun, so I went for it! What I discovered from that experience changed my life.
Selling to the end customer was exciting, gratifying and fun! I soon started schlepping my goods around Canada and selling at as many festival and craft shows as possible. It became my main focus, and slowly I had less and less wholesale accounts. I didn’t care because selling direct customers allowed me to be myself and not have to worry about all the things I used to dread like catalogs, consistent stock and cold calling buyers. Plus I was profiting well over six figures a year! Another great aspect of selling at shows was meeting amazing crafty entrepreneurs from all over the country. I loved hearing their stories and would absorb their knowledge like a sponge.
Because I have a hard wired marketing brain, it didn’t take long for me to realize that craft shows needed to revamp their branding. I was in my mid 20’s and I knew they did not appeal to any of my friends. They did not realize that there were actually some really cool stuff sold by young, hip artisans. This was around the time Etsy launched, and I saw huge potential in the growing DIY movement. So, what did I do? Started my own show!
The inspiration for Make It was to create a show that I would want to sell at. Why not make a craft show more like a party?! Add some booze, live music, DJs and presto! Our marketing was fresh and appealed to a whole new generation who had never been to craft shows before. Make It is over 5 years old and has been growing like crazy every year.
So now I have launched Make It University because I want my fellow crafty entrepreneurs to bump up their biz skills and be super successful doing what they love. What I am teaching is the stuff I wish someone told me back in the early Booty Beltz days. It is simple, clear and practical. Helping you live the life of your dreams is what lights me up. I know what it feels like to be so passionate about an idea that you eat, sleep and breathe it. I also know how damn good it feels to make a lot of money doing it. It is a feeling that I want to share with you.