RSS Feed

Monthly Archives: May 2012

Even Howard: where little dreams become string

Posted on

Weave sat down with Even Howard of Nadene to find out how this creative maven manages her business, yoga instruction and personal life while on the go.  Even is a bit of a pioneer in the world of online sellers. She can claim the fame of having joined Etsy first!  As she states  “I’m the ‘oldest active‘ Etsy member other than the CEO.” Weave team found out about how this Montana native found her creative niche in the SF Bay Area and continues to inspire fellow entrepreneurs through her local Etsy street team.

Tell us a little about yourself and your business?
I’ve always been a maker; I sometimes like the term renaissance woman. It’s how I grew up. I sold my first original design when I was 10. I started doing shows when I was 17 and I was hesitant to open my ideas up to a larger audience, but I gained confidence from the community and buyers and I’ve been creating and adapting to my materials, location, and customers while growing my own ideas ever since. With handmade jewelry, it’s a challenge to create work that is both innovative in design and sustainable business-wise. I returned to crochet after several years in beadwork because I realized that crochet work has been the longest thread running in my creative ventures.

What attracts you to crochet &  jewelry making? 
I’ve always loved textile art and I noticed that when I pursued the ‘fine arts’ that textile art has unique challenges even beyond executing great ideas with skilled technique. Somehow I wanted to help out this underdog of a medium to be seen for all its range. Crochet has undergone its own mini revolution following that of textile arts in general. It is no longer seen as just one technique for housewares or odd clothing, but as a tool from which can be achieved any artistic idea. I like being part of that. Also, the way I create now is very portable for the most part and I love the idea that my works are a message from the place they are made, be it Ocean Beach, SF, beside the creek in Montana, or on the bow of an Alaskan fishing boat. 🙂

You have this awesome handmade business but what other things do you do?
I teach Bikram and Hatha yoga; I especially enjoy working with people who have occupational rehabilitation needs. Artists, especially those of us with online businesses, really need daily back and wrist care. I’ve been very active in online education and educational community non-profits. I now use those skills to offer fantastic childcare and consulting when I can.

You’ve been using Weave for several months. How would you describe the app?
It’s a todo app especially for small business crafty types. That’s my short version. Then I usually tell people about the features where one can add expenses/income to keep track of business projects. I tell people to try it and give feedback because the (Weave) team is very receptive and wants to make a great tool for us.

How does Weave help you with keeping organized?
I usually sit down once a week with a cup of tea and think through my goals and ideas and then Weave helps me break those down into specific todos and project outcomes. I find that I’ll spend about 20 min inputing everything even that process helps me think through priorities and what steps should come before others. Big projects I have going now are expanding my private yoga sessions in outdoor locations, hosting SF Etsy team craft nights, and working on my autumn jewelry line. I think using Weave helps me keep focus too because I have one place to look at my ideas and their steps and decide what really is important to me, either in process or outcome. As a small business owner I think it’s as important to decide what to do as what not to do!

In what ways is Weave helpful for people who are starting a creative businesses?
Making use of the income/expense tools will be great for those looking to understand what aspects of their business are sustainable and which need some help. I think that the share feature will help people feel like their process is part of a larger community, which can be very motivating. Also, it perhaps goes without saying, but as small businesses are held to the same standards in customer service and professionalism as any experienced large business, it’s essential that someone just starting out keep track of commitments and Weave can help with that.

Has the share feature been helpful for you?
It answers a lot of the challenges by creating a way to mimic knowing your neighbors and all your neighbors being crafty too.

How has Weave has helped you keep track of commitments?
Some of my todos are to prepare specific presentations and catalogs for wholesale clients. It helps me breakdown these accounts as projects and then use my customization ideas as todos. This way, I can feel success when I achieve a small todo, even if I have more to be done to complete a slightly different version of the larger projects and my clients get what they were promised. Once they are Weave users too, I could see using Weave to check in with them along the way– by asking for confirmation on custom designs and orders before they are complete.

You’ve used Weave to organzie a recent SF Etsy event, right?
It’s a crafty computer night at my house. It was invented by Katy Atchison. Anyone can host one; it’s a chance for online sellers to get together and work on listings, photo editing, and share ideas. I wanted to offer treats, wireless, a comfortable atmosphere and some resources (online and printed). I broke these down into todos over a few weeks so I’ll be prepared on the night itself. For future versions that are potluck or involve shared supplies, I’ll use the share feature to coordinate. We try to make some fun from what is often a ‘last on the list’ todo. Anyone can join, we send invites through the SFEtsy google group. The SFEtsy blog has a calendar, that’s where people can find out our events easily.

Has Weave changed your way of doing things in your business?
I think it has allowed me to recombine my personal and professional todos. I moved away from that for a while because I didn’t have a good way to manage both. Weave feels more like a representation of my life as a whole and that’s a reflection of what I want my business to be. It’s really a lifestyle, not just a job, and it’s really encouraging to see tools built for that. It’s hard to balance both aspects of one’s life when you are a freelance professional

What advice would you give to people who struggle with balancing life and creative work like yours?
You’re not alone! I think there is a tendency to make it black and white about whether we are succeeding. There’s an ideal of a lone craftswoman making it big in her spare time. Instead, look at the spectrum of success as wide and self defined. Part of a creative life is making your own principles and being true to them. When we hear from those who are ‘successful’ it’s easy to think that they have some kind of magic element. That magic element was probably persistence over many failed attempts! My amazing high school art teacher taught me that it’s not always the most talented artists who succeed, it’s just as often that it’s those who are persistent, constantly learning, as well as faithful to their creative ideals. If you have trouble with any area of business or creative life, ask for help~ we’ve all been there and that’s how we got here!

What would you imagine the ultimate version of weave could be?
I imagine it to be a sleek combination of feature-full and visually uncluttered. I want to be able to organize, motivate, and collaborate without being overwhelmed. I would like to see the ability to archive projects (so they no longer appear in the main list, but can be accessed or exported) and the ability to repeat todos with a specified time period so that repeating tasks can be pre-set.  I am very excited about FB connections, even though I’m not a huge fan of FB, it is where ‘everyone’ is.

Quickfire Session
Every interview we ask a few short answer questions to get some insight into how our users work and live, with a little advice too!

Why you love your current career?
The ability to adapt each day to the weather, needs of friends and family, and my own level of energy.

What is the drink of choice for an entrepreneur like yourself?
kombucha with chia 🙂 (that’s probably only me)

First place people should go when they’re ready to start online selling?
I think it should be the Etsy Seller Handbook (a collection of blog posts) even if they are not selling on Etsy.

When you’re leaving the house what are the essentials for work on the go?
Phone, Ipad, Crochet String Box, Camera, Moleskine, Mini Colored Pencils, Snack Pack, and often slippers because I get cold easily.

What’s your mantra when you feel like giving up?
I go back to why I do this~my values about how the world can be and how we can treat each other are pretty high. I see handmade industry as the closest I can get to living out this ideal.  …it’s important to know what you are willing to sacrifice and what you are not. Just keep true and keep trying for the opportunities that bring you closer to your ideals.

Anything else you want to tell people?
I have a great studio space out on Ocean Beach and we are always growing there. I’d like to solicit submissions for our Window Gallery and get together summer sidewalk receptions. Also, I love pop-up shops and there’s a great opportunity for that in the Inner Richmond.

Finally, I’m excited about sharing my studio and home spaces for meet-ups, including non-business ones. When’s the last time you made something for yourself in the company of friends? Let’s do more of that!

You can catch up with Even on her Facebook, Blog or Twitter

Even is the author of a new blog column on the site called Asking Even ~it’s an advice column for all things crafty – emails are anonymous and can be sent to Ask away or better yet….share a question with Even through your Weave account!