DIY MakersCon: What I Learned and Why You Must Go

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DIY Makers Con Recap

I spent the past weekend at the BEST conference ever! It was the highlight to my week and I’m still chatting everyone’s ear off about it who will listen. The DIY MakersCon was an inaugural DIY conference for women that celebrates, inspires and educates creative entrepreneurs, DIYers and makers of all levels.  It was a fun filled DIY day of making some really cool projects, shopping handmade goods in the market place and mingling and kiki-ing with other like-minded makers. I was in heaven. I made a candle, ate yummy goodies, connected with other badass women, got inspired from entrepreneurs, and gained invaluable skills. My hat goes off to the two creators – Terina Nicole Hill and Nneka Saran Mosely. The DIY MakersCon was so dope I’m looking forward to whatever else these two ladies have in store! Below, I’m chatting more about the conference, my takeaways and why we need more creative conferences like DIY MakersCon.

 

What to Expect

The conference was in Camden, NJ which is just outside of Philly. I rode the bus down and after a few snafus (i.e. missing my 6:00 a.m. bus and scrambling to hop on another)  I was on my way and rolling into Philly! I had no idea what to expect, but I was super hopeful. The morning kicked off with a breakfast and welcome from the hosts, which I missed, but my agenda told me so, haha. Then came the breakout sessions. The first two-hour breakout options included Fashion Upcycling, Jewelry Design and Woodworking. Workshop selections were chosen in advance with ticket purchase. Afterwards, lunch was provided during a two-part panel where we got to hear from creative entrepreneurs across a number of industries. The first panel, How To Make a Living Following Your Creative Passions, highlighted six entrepreneurs who shared their journeys of how they started their businesses, reached success and overcame challenges. The second panel, Elevate Your Brand focused on sharing insights to understand what a brand is, how to build a brand, and how to ensure you are adding value.  After lunch, two additional workshop breakouts followed. The first included: Candle Making and Furniture Upholstery and the remainder of the day participants could choose from Cookie Decorating, Painting and Sewing.

 

Why You Should Attend: My Takeaways

I was so blown away by the conference for multiple reasons. For starters I had a blast, okuurr! And secondly, I really learned something ya’ll! I walked away with real skills.   

Skills. Often times I have gone to conferences that were fun and inspirational, but left me desiring more. I appreciated that after the DIY MakersCon I literally walked away with real skills and knowledge which I can use to kickstart a new hobby, make gifts for friends and loved ones or even start a business. That alone is worth the cost of the conference and then some. The workshops were led by real artisans with plenty of years in the game who knew exactly the ins and outs of their craft. This was super helpful as I was able to ask all of my pesky questions about candle making from an expert.

  Learning how to up cycle pre loved fashions.

Learning how to up cycle pre loved fashions.

  A sweater and dresses transformed into a skirt.

A sweater and dresses transformed into a skirt.

  Makers building a side table.

Makers building a side table.

Network. I met a lot of other creatives too- gang, gang!  It’s always dope to meet like-minded women but even better when they’re crafty creatives like you. Let the craft hangouts begin! This was not just the attendees but the speakers and workshop facilitators too.  I discovered some pretty phenomenal creatives like Timisha of ToolBoxDivas who taught participants how to make a side table from a few pieces of wood, some screws and a drill. I met Corin Wright of ShoptSyleHaven who taught me how to make candles providing detailed resources, on not just how to make candles, but what to buy, and where. And then there was Jamila of Stitched With Style who led the sewing workshop where everyone made the cutest African print makeup bags.

  Cookie decorating underway.

Cookie decorating underway.

Fun! At the market place I was able to shop and explore all sorts of handmade goodies such as earrings, dresses, home goods, hair care and beauty products. I left with a bomb matte lippie that literally lasts all day.

  Learning how to tape off designs in the Paint workshop.

Learning how to tape off designs in the Paint workshop.

  Beautiful handmade jewelry at the marketplace.

Beautiful handmade jewelry at the marketplace.

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Mindfulness. Focusing on one task, such as decorating cookies or hammering brass for earrings gave the perfect opportunity to focus and to dismiss all of life’s distractions in today’s connected world. It felt great to zen out and give my attention to my craft project at hand. And it was really rewarding to walk away with something handmade.

 Fragrance oils and tools for candle making.

Fragrance oils and tools for candle making.

 Our candles waiting to cool and solidify.

Our candles waiting to cool and solidify.

Creative conferences like the DIYMakersCon are so necessary for makers of all skill levels and I hope there are many more to come!