Saturday was the Hello Etsy: Portland conference focused on small business and sustainability. I was so glad for this day to finally be here!
As you know, I put all of the program journals kits together for this event. I didn’t sleep at all the night before the conference, because I was so worried something unexpected would go wrong and the journals would be a disaster. Thankfully, this was not the case. I was happy to put them out on a table and to let go of this project.
During the opening hour where folks ate food, mingled, and made journals, I helped folks thread their needles and steered them in the right binding direction. Collage had another table set up with pens and rubber stamps, so folks could personalize their journals. People loved this craft! Even the non-crafty folks jumped right in and enjoyed this DIY project.
During the opening comments, Jen Neitzel, co-chair of Hello Etsy, talked about gratitude. I got so much from her insights. It helped to put into perspective what I was doing here and what I wanted to get from this day. Jenna from Modish led the sold out crowd in a breathing exercise to help clear our minds and to get ready for the long day ahead. While these things might sound out of place at a conference about small businesses; it really helped pave the way for an amazing day.
Right before lunch, we heard from keynote speakers Rebecca Pearcy of Queen Bee Creations and Duane Sorenson of Stumptown Coffee. This talk, moderated by Sister Diane, was fascinating. First, Duane was very funny which kept the topic light and friendly. When asked if he could time warp back to the past, keeping his present knowledge, what would he do differently, Duane answered, “I would have gotten a perm”. On a more serious note, he is extremely passionate about his employees and creating a better life for them is his main driving force to keep expanding Stumptown. I could relate to Rebecca more, simply because she makes things and I make things. It was interesting to learn how her business has grown and how it has changed her life. After their talk, we went outside to get lunch from Koi Fusion, one of the food carts on-site for the conference. Each attendee received a $5 voucher towards lunch.
There were 3 break out sessions with 3-4 different instructors to choose from during each session. I must say, it was really hard deciding what to check out. All topics were very relevant and top notch. My sis was also attending the conference, so we split up during each break out session, so that we could get the most information we could. We will sit down soon and discuss what each of us learned. While all of the presentations I saw were excellent, my favorite of the day was Jackie B. Peterson’s talk on Better, Smarter, Richer: Seven Business Principles for Solo and Creative Entrepreneurs. Her no nonsense approach was a great wake up call for me. I have some work to do! I think one small thing I’m going to start soon is tracking my time for at least 2 weeks. I think seeing how I spend (and waste) my time will be a great exercise to find ways where I can be more productive.
After the conference, all attendees were invited to Hobo’s for an after party. Hello Etsy even paid for the first round! This and the lunch voucher made the $20 conference fee very affordable. It was so nice not to have to worry about where to eat lunch and they really made socializing and networking a big part of the day. It was great to reconnect with my crafty friends. By the end of the night, I was exhausted in a completely joyful way.
I will definitely need a few weeks to absorb everything I learned. I will use many things I learned in my future business endeavors and also in my life in general. I’m so grateful to Hello Etsy and to I Heart Art: Portland for creating this event. Videos of most sessions will be on I Heart Art’s website. I can’t wait to see all of the presentations that I didn’t get to see and to learn even more wonderful things.