Eight Creative Communities for Indie Businesses, Makers and Doers in Manchester!

Hannah Cox of Stag and Raven and betternotstop shares some of her favourite local communities – including EtsyMCR!

Photo Credit: Leona, Lucky Dip Club.

I’ve been a self employed business owner and blogger for years now and I still get overwhelmed when trying to prioritise my workload and decide what’s best for my business. I have been running my shop, Stag and Raven for three years. Since my business partner left in the Summer I have decided to really refocus my plans, and part of that has been seeking out support from other business people.

Running a creative business on your own is hard, which is why deliberately searching out a community that understands us is so important.

The benefit of finding our community is huge. We can feel supported, share ideas, work together and help us find whatever success means to us. We need a nonjudgmental, friendly environment to help us grow and succeed.

I wanted to share with you the best off and online communities that you can join now to find a group of people that understand you! This is a good start for you whether you run Etsy as a hobby, side hustle or are looking to grow it as a full time business.

 

Photo Credit: Etsy Manchester Facebook Group  

Etsy Manchester Meet Ups

I have only just started using Etsy as a platform to sell as I have been with Shopify for the last few years and found it to be a wonderful online platform for Stag and Raven.

However joining Etsy has already had a big positive influence through the community of people I have met at the Manchester Meetups. Our team meet once a month and have events structured around a central topic (last month was how to work with influencers) and then an opportunity to network.

Not only have I been walking away from these meetups with tangible ideas on how to grow my business, but also its been a great place to find people to collaborate with and help me with problems and issues I am facing.

If you haven’t made it to a meet up yet, please try and make it to the next one – I would love to meet you there! If evenings are just too hard, why don’t you make a effort to get involved in discussions online and asking questions to other business owners that way?

You can join the Manchester team here.

 

Photo Credit: In Colourful Company Facebook Group

In Colourful Company

As well as an active Facebook community, the main purpose of this group is to create real life connections.

They believe in living a creative live and highlight this through organising ‘colour walks’ all over the UK with upcoming walks in Manchester, Leeds, Margate, London, Liverpool, Brighton and Glasgow. These involve spending two – three hours exploring the city, taking photos and getting to know each other. All are finished with a shared meal together and an opportunity to make new friendships.

You can join the group here.

 

Photo Credit: Leona, Lucky Dip Club.

The Rollercoaster of Running an Indie Business

Joining this group was a game changer for me. Run by Leona from Lucky Dip Club, this acts like a virtual co-working space for indie biz owners to chat, collaborate and cheerlead. With over 2,000 members, this closed group is a safe space to discuss any business issues you may have, share information and help find a real sense of community.

Not only that, Leona has tons of live video resources on topics as varied as blogging, subscriptions, licensing and wholesale to help you with your own research and business development.

As well as running this group, Leonie also has a subscription based ‘Make It Happen’ group which goes really in depth with support and course work to help you grow your indie biz. Subscriptions for this are now closed, but signing up to the main free group will give you a ton of free resources and support to get you started.

You can join the group here.

 

Photo Credit: Kenny Clayton Photography

betternotstop

I started writing over at betternotstop.com five years ago when I was working in the Music and Events Industry and was trying to seek out other people with my values. I believe we should all enjoy everyday life through our work, friendships, travel, and adventure. We can make our lives better, we can help and support each other, and make the world a nicer place to be.

I also started meetups in Manchester and Liverpool to meet other like minded people through putting on talks, workshops and film nights. I am happy to say I met a lovely group of people I can now call my friends.

After returning to Manchester this year after a year of travel I decided to start my events up again. As well as running a monthly evening meetup, I also run what I call my ‘GSD Coffee Mornings’ every Wednesday. (Yes, it stands for ‘Get S**t Done’!).  These are a way for us all to meet other indie business owners in Manchester and help us all towards holding ourselves accountable for our business goals.

Join my Facebook group here.

 

Photo Credit: Darren Bullock on the OverDrawn Facebook Group Page.

OverDrawn

Head down for a night of live art, pound portraits, illustration showdowns and doodling on the tables! OverDrawn is an interactive art brand. They showcase local artists, drawing live under the lights & allowing the audience to get involved.

It’s always free entry and the art materials are supplied by CASS ART Manchester

Join the Overdrawn Page to see what’s on here

 

Photo Credit: Jack Kirwin on the Art Battle Manchester Facebook Group Page.

Art Battle Manchester

Taking place at venues around the City, Art Battle Manchester is Manchester’s most energetic art event. Each event has ten Artists who take centre stage and produce a piece of Art  within 30 minutes. The audience then decides who is crowned Champion. Not only that, the art is auctioned off at the end of the night and all money raised goes to charity.

A brilliantly inspiring event to go to as a maker or painter. Perhaps you could apply to take part yourself?

Follow Art Battle Manchester here.

 

Meetup

Meetup believes that getting together with people in real life is what makes powerful things happen!

I promote betternotstop through meetup and as an organiser it costs me £20 a month to put on events on this platform. However it is free to join and explore what is on in your city. Many groups run a mixture of paid for and free events, so it depends on the community you join on whether it costs anything to attend an event.

As a guide, most major cities in the UK have meetups for art classes, dancing, hiking, filmmakers, photographers freelancers and business owners. It’s also a great place to seek out building a community yourself. People who join meetup are actively looking to get together with people with similar interests. So if there is nothing on you fancy in your city, maybe you are the person to start it!

Perhaps you want to start workshops or meet other knitters, sewers, bakers or photographers?

Find out what Meetups are on in your city here.

 

Eventbrite

Eventbrite is a similar platform to meetup as it allows event organisers and potential customers the perfect place to meet online. Membership for organisers is much cheaper, as it only charges you per event and takes a percentage of the ticket price.

I choose to advertise on both as it’s a good way to get a mix of people at my events, and it’s also got a better ticket platform (I can offer early bird pricing and donation only tickets on Eventbrite to make my events more accessible)

Like meetup it is free to join and explore what is on in your city. As it is cheaper it tends to be VERY busy and hard to navigate what is going on around you. It has a huge variety of events available. As a guide, when I was researching for this article in Manchester there were thirty different events to attend today, from bicycle repairs, networking, prosecco tasting and free walking tours. Although there is more to explore, I find it a lot harder to navigate when looking for things to do.

Find out what events are on in your city here.

 

Joining a new community and seeking out new friendships can feel hard, I know. What you need to remind yourself is that you can do anything, just not everything!

Any fears or problems that you have running your own business or creating your own art, is totally normal. This is why sharing with other people is a vital part of finding your community. I strongly encourage you to join any or all of the groups in this article that you feel align with your values. Join in the discussions, ask questions and decide which ones are right for you.

Hannah Cox

I run Stag and Raven, a UK Art & Lifestyle brand and betternotstop, a lifestyle site and events focused on building a life you love through meaningful work and adventure. Join my Facebook group here.

 

Etsy Made Local 2017

Etsy Made Local returned to Manchester, bigger and better for 2017!

Etsy Made Local: Manchester came back home to People’s History Museum from Friday 1st – Sunday 3rd , brought to you by the Etsy Manchester team.  Visitors who attended over the weekend found unique, personalised, one-of-a-kind Christmas gifts in a beautiful location from artisans and designer-makers who put their heart and soul into everything they make.  There were even more sellers than in 2016 and more visitors attended, too.  We had a fabulous weekend!

 

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Etsy: Made Local – Christmas 2016

The table cloths are now stored away, the festive music has fallen silent for now and the Etsy Made Local extravaganza has, for 2016 at least, become a treasured memory. But we’ll be back in 2017 for more…bigger, better and shinier than ever!

And that’s a wrap, people!

In December 2016, the Etsy Manchester Team hosted our first ever Etsy Made Local Christmas market. After months of planning, numerous team meetings and hundreds of social media posts, we opened the doors to People’s History Museum’s beautiful Engine Hall on the morning of Thursday 1st December and held our breath as we hoped for lots of visitors and sales for all our lovely stall holders.

We didn’t have to wait very long! Straight away there were visitors popping in to take a look around, stopping to look at each stall, having a chat and buying gifts, before heading off to explore the museum exhibitions.

On Thursday evening, People’s History Museum held their annual Winter Warmer event. Manchester’s SHE Choir entertained shoppers, museum visitors and the Etsy Manchester team with their heavenly singing.

Over the course of the four days, there were some sellers who were with us for two days, and some stayed for all four. On Saturday morning, we were joined by several new faces who set up their stalls for the weekend. We had a very busy Saturday and Sunday, as many determined shoppers arrived looking for those perfect gifts. Emily Dean from Etsy’s UK team came to visit us on Saturday and chatted to everyone, as well as picking out her favourite items.

Over the weekend there were also workshops run by members of the team. Visitors popped upstairs to make their own enamelled keyrings and felt Christmas tree decorations with Ruth and Laima.

After four days of hard work, our sellers packed down and headed home for a well-deserved rest! Thanks to everyone who took part, helped out, visited, and supported us in the weeks and months leading up to our first ever Christmas market.

Peace out, y’all!

Our heartfelt thanks to all who participates and helped arrange this fantastic event, from the incredibly accommodating and helpful People’s History museum staff, the SHE Choir, the energetic and highly creative sellers and, finally, all the wonderful shoppers, who let their festive curiosity get the better of them and came along to see us.

Take a look at a few highlights from the weekend! 

 

 

 

 

 

Manchester’s SheChoir entertained visitors at the Winter Warmer night!

 

Visitors took part in festive craft workshops too.

 

 

 

Creative Wedding Fair at The Whitworth Gallery

On 30th of April 2016, Etsy Manchester – in association with the Whitworth gallery – launched its inaugural creative wedding fair in Manchester! An event for people who want a wedding that is as unique as they are!

On (11am – 4pm) Etsy Manchester, in association with the Whitworth gallery, brought the Creative Wedding Fair to Manchester!

An alternative wedding show

The wedding show was for the alternative and quirky, for those that value handmade integrity and local craftsmanship. An event for people who think outside of the ‘big corporation’ box and want a wedding that is as unique as they are!

The Whitworth gallery, exterior front view
Exterior front view of The Whitworth Art Gallery, Manchester.

Held in the stunning Whitworth Art Gallery on the , The Creative Wedding Fair showcased the best handmade, individual and personalised wedding-related products and services. Organised by Etsy Manchester, which represents more than one thousand sellers, The Creative Wedding Fair was all about human relationships and interactions which shape and enrich the big day. Entry was free and 35 individual sellers – coupled with the ambiance of a lovely live band – helped to make a magical event.

Keep your eyes open for this event in 2017!

Pictures from the day