Category Archives: handmade community

You’re Invited: Strange Folk Festival 2015


It’s that time of year again! If you’ve been following my blog for a while, you’ll remember Strange Folk Festival, the area’s largest indie craft fair that’s dominated my life each September for the last three years. In 2012 I visited it for the first time and was in awe, totally inspired to get my shit together and sell there one day. In 2013 I made that little dream come true and sold there for the first time. Last year I got to illustrate the promo artwork for the show and saw my most successful show ever. This year is a whole new ball game.

Long story short, the craft community is too strong to underestimate and take advantage of. The organizer of the Festival, Autumn, has split from her old venue and moved the event to St. Louis Union Station to take over a mostly vacant mall and fill it with artists and makers of all sorts, craft activities, live music, and amazing art installations.


What: Strange Folk Festival
When: Saturday, September 26, 10am-8pm
Sunday, September 27, 10am-5pm
Where: St. Louis Union Station
1820 Market St, St. Louis, MO 63103

Vendors are taking over old store fronts, kiosks, counters, and setting up table spaces throughout the mall. Every store and section are named with their own hashtag, so you can browse each vendor’s offerings and behind-the-scenes goings-on before, during, and after the show. How smart is that?

Creature Type can be found upstairs in #PollyClouds. You can follow our feed here and obviously on your social media platform of choice. Instagram is my favorite. ;)

See you this weekend! If you do come, please say hi! xo

How to Start Selling at Craft Shows


I’ve been selling my artwork and handmade accessories at craft shows around the midwest for 3 years now. Crazy, right? I remember my google frenzy in the months before my first show, trying to take in as much information as possible about what to expect and how to succeed.


1. Find your tribe.

The best thing about selling at craft shows, for me, has been participating in my local crafting community. Finding where local artists, crafters, and handmade makers are hanging out online and figuring out how to keep up with who’s who has been crucial for me to learn about which shows are the best fit for me and how to apply to them. Nowadays there are so many Facebook groups, Etsy teams, blogs, etc for craft communities, supply swaps, etc– you just need to find yours!

It’s really important to visit some shows yourself before trying to sell at one. Start a conversation with people whose booths you feel drawn to. Starting a friendly relationship with a few makers is a great entry point into the community! Remember that buying something from a vendor is a great way to show your appreciation and not come off like a mooch when you’re ultimate goal is information from them.

Some shows are invite/recommendation only or have short time windows for taking applications, so knowing who organizes which shows and hearing all the gossip about which are the best/worst is invaluable, especially if you’re thinking about visiting an out-of-town show and investing a lot of money in travel.


2. Match yourself with the right shows for you.

There are so many opportunities for selling your work in person! Art fairs, music festivals, craft shows, boutique trunk shows, conventions, vintage fairs, farmers’ markets… the list goes on. What you make and what your aesthetic is affects who your target audience is, which in turn affects the shows you’ll be most successful at. Who seems to love your work the most? Are you making things with a specific audience in mind? Where are those people most likely to go?

I have a friend who makes very on-trend apparel and accessories and although they’re handmade, she’s found much greater success at music festivals than craft shows. Her audience is a young crowd who loves to see live music, but might not think of attending a craft show, plus they can easily buy her accessories and wear them immediately at the show. I’ve strayed away from these kinds of shows because I doubt someone wants to carry around a delicate art print while they’re partying it up outside.

The kind of show you sell at also affects your costs and set-up. My aforementioned example of music festivals can cost $1000+ for a single vendor spot! That’s way out of my price league. Flea Markets on the other hand can cost as little as $15 per spot. The average cost for craft shows in my area seems to be $50-100 per day. I know in bigger cities such as Chicago, that average is closer to $150-250 per day. Those vendor costs reflect the price of the venue and the work the organizers put into the show. It’s easy to scoff at high vendor prices, but that often means that there’s a good marketing budget–websites, advertisements, and printed promotional materials cost money! Good marketing equals a bigger crowd of shoppers. You get what you pay for!

Selling at an outdoor show introduces more costs and preparation than an indoor show. You’re usually required to supply your own tent and weights (expect to spend about $300 total for those, even if you DIY weights) in addition to your other display pieces. I’ve spent some windy days chasing after prints and jewelry that flew off my display racks! I used to have to borrow my parents SUV to have the room to transport a tent, too.


3. Do your research.

Research as much as you can! We’re so lucky to be living in the time of the internet–you can find out so much valuable information if you just look for it. You’ll never be truly blind-slighted.

Research other vendors’ displays to figure out what works best for the items you make. Research costs for vendor fees and display materials. Research which shows are the most popular in your area. Research your audience. Research trends. Research everything!


4. Set a deadline.

I had been toying with the idea of selling at craft shows for almost a year when I signed up for my first one. Applying, getting accepted, and having an official deadline was the ass kick I needed to get prints made, sew some accessories, and experiment making new products. Don’t be afraid to sign up for a show before you’re really “ready” if you think the deadline will help your productivity.


5. Practice makes perfect!

Yes, research is important, but you know what’s more important? Just doing it. You can only be so prepared and it takes time to figure out some of these things, like who your audience is and what shows work best for you. Get yourself and your work out there as soon as you can! Waiting until everything is just right is a great way to never actually make it happen. Chances are you’ll never feel like everything is just right. I certainly never do! You’ll find yourself making stronger connections with your community when you start putting your money where your mouth is.

I’m looking forward to sharing more information and advice about selling the things you make. Talking shop with other artists and crafters is one of my favorite things. Hopefully this will help motivate any readers who have been thinking about doing this themselves!

My Weekend at Anime St. Louis

Anime-St-Louis-1Thanks to Living the Nerd Life for the photo!

I’ve been selling my work at craft shows for over 3 years now(!!!), but last weekend I sold at my first anime convention!

It was the artist alley at Anime Central in 2012 that really got me motivated and thinking about selling my work at shows in the first place. I even chose the name “Creature Type” because I thought it was a cute, quirky name that carried a subtle nerd reference and could easily cross over to selling nerd/fan goods. I love well-designed things that reference a tv show or video game. It’s like an inside-joke between you and other fans, plus it just looks better. :)


I was a huge anime nerd basically from ages 12-17. My interest in the shows themselves has kind of waned over the years–and my social skills have definitely improved haha–but I still love the wild aesthetics and strong feminine imagery. My friends and I go to Acen every year and let loose like it’s Mardi Gras, but one of my favorite parts is visiting the artist alley. I love buying accessories from artists and handmade vendors that are totally unique! I love that girls there just totally indulge their obsession with all things cute.



I knew my accessories probably do well because of the cute girly vibes, but I wasn’t sure how people would respond to the fact that my art style isn’t overtly anime or that I don’t sell much fan art. I didn’t want to churn out tons of fan art prints just for one con and then be stuck with them, unable to sell them at future craft shows. Plus cons are way harder to get into than craft shows! You need to watch out for applications sometimes 6 months in advance and know the right person to email. Spots fill up super fast and sometimes they’re first-come-first-serve.

I finally got into Anime STL, which was perfect. A local show was so easy! I had a fantastic time. The crowd was busy all weekend, but never overwhelming so. I met so many adorable people! Nothing warms my heart more than a teen girl’s excited face when they see my table. Everyone was seriously so so nice. I honestly expected more cringe-worthy experiences. Creepy dudes lingering around, tragic nerds telling me about their fan fiction for an hour… hey, I’m a nerd myself and grew up around them–I know my people. But I only met really sweet folks. I had crushes on all the nerd girls and we all cooed over how cute everyone was. :)


My friends came by on Saturday night, so we got a hotel room and enjoyed the con after hours. It was so fun to have a little Acen pre-party and play games, karaoke, and visit the rave. Seriously, you guys. The Lion King dub step remix gave me life. Anime raves are hilarious and basically my favorite thing.

I ended up having an amazing weekend in terms of sales! Second only to last year’s Strange Folk Festival! It was super encouraging and I’m really looking forward to expanding my biz and doing more cons. I wasn’t even super well prepared or overly-stocked. All of my favorite, quirky things that don’t go over well at craft shows sold out at Anime STL! That was so fun to see. Anime kids get me and my taste. I feel a lot of potential and it’s exciting!

I’m a bit late to get on board for other cons this year–most take place over the summer–but I’m definitely going to try and do more around the midwest in 2016! Do any of you guys go to cons? What are your favorites? xo

Green With Indie 2015














Green With Indie is one of my favorite local craft shows! It has an eco-friendly focus and always features a great group of vendors, plus it’s located in Webster Groves which attracts a wonderful crowd of shoppers. Webster residents love any arts and culture event and they really show up, which is awesome! :) The weather was lovely and I had my most successful GWI yet!

Over the winter, I was kind of hoping to hide away in a creative cocoon and emerge at GWI (my first show of the year) as a fabulous crafty butterfly with tons of new items and a beautiful new display. While I wish I would’ve gotten more sewing and jewelry making done, I did debut my paintings and several new prints–including that fancy gold foil one! So shiny! Haha. I also got my pegboard display figured out and looove the way it turned out! I’m definitely feeling more inspired by the way my booth looks.

This year I’d love to narrow my focus a bit and concentrate on products that represent my best. I know I spread myself a bit thin now by doing too many different things at once, but hey, this is my creative outlet where I encourage myself to try new things and see what sticks.

Unfortunately, that means I spend money on lots of different supplies for different things. I don’t just buy illustration supplies, but jewelry making tools, and sewing supplies. I don’t sell tons of any one thing, so my profits don’t do much more than break even because I can’t buy huge quantities of supplies. I’d love to get more serious about the business side of things in 2015. I finally caved and bought a bookkeeping service and it’s already motivating me to focus on the decisions I’m making in more practical way.

I’m going to try and take photos this week to do a big remodel of my Etsy shop, so look for new prints and jewelry soon! I’d also like to set up a new, independent e-commerce site this Spring. I’m definitely on the “Etsy is a giant bummer now” train and I’d like to start distancing myself from them.

Small Business Saturday



Hi guys! I don’t usually like to make excuses for lapses in blogging–I’d rather continue on with good content when it exists to be shared–but I’d be remiss if I didn’t acknowledge that the grand jury decision in the Mike Brown case pretty much zapped any desire I had to share happy thoughts online last week. Blog posts and instagram photos seemed pretty fucking silly and even insensitive at the time, so I just sat back and tried to be a good ally. Listened. Grieved. Shared the smartest opinions and insights I could find and most importantly, spoke up in situations where victims wouldn’t feel safe to.

While I’m reserving my anger for the corrupt police system and the real victims in this situation, I still mourn the losses of local businesses to rioters and want to help rebuild any way I can. This year’s Small Business Saturday felt especially important to me, so I wanted to share the little tour I took of my favorite STL shows and shops.


113014_01 113014_02 113014_05 113014_06 113014_07 113014_08 113014_09 113014_10

My first stop was the Rock and Roll Craftshow! This local favorite has been rockin’ for 11 years and is the second biggest handmade shopping event in the area after Strange Folk Festival. The show is curated by organizers department store style, so shoppers collect all their goodies at their leisure and check out at the end all in one stop. It’s always a really fun, inspirational show–I feel like I always discover new makers and artists and am constantly seeing things that make me go “OMG! Why didn’t I think of making that?!” Unique items like swings made from old skateboard decks, tea wallets, handmade cat toys, clever upcycled jewelry… the list is miles long.

113014_11 113014_12 113014_13

If you’ve been following the protests and riots in the STL area, the second neighborhood you’ve probably been hearing about (besides Ferguson), is South Grand/Shaw. There was a second shooting there in early October that brought similar feelings and desires to protest, so it’s become another hotspot for protesting activity–this also means that sometimes things get out hand, people get angry, and shit goes down.

I have a few friends with shops on South Grand, so that was my next stop. Thankfully, broken windows were the worst they had to deal with–besides fear of the rowdy crowds on their doorsteps. Wonderful volunteers have been painting and beautifying the boarded up windows all week–how cute is the little dress form mural at Parsimonia?! My favorite vintage shop still looked adorable and lively on the inside, just a little more dark and cozy. :)


Autumn at the Upcycle Exchange is a creative genius always and decided to turn her boarded up, broken windows into a faux food truck! You could buy coffee, warm cookies, or make a $10 donation and get one of each, plus a $5 gift card! Is that not the best?

113014_15 113014_16 113014_17 113014_18 113014_19 113014_20

My last shopping stop of the day was West County Mall to finally check out the new Foundrie location! You guys. It is so pretty. And sparkly. You’d never know it used to be a Claire’s. UPGRADE!

I hope you guys are using Cyber Monday to not just score some sweet deals at big box stores, but throwing some love to small businesses, too. Plenty of amazing artists are running promos on Etsy–get out there and try to throw some money at some hard-working people who really deserve it!

Also, I tried to throw in lots of helpful links if you’re interested in learning more about the situation in STL and why people are so riled up. It’s weird to live here right now and I’m feeling so many feelings. I’m frustrated at our present but optimistic for our future and happy so many people are sharing my feelings of anger, but also of generosity and hope. Black lives matter. xo

Strange Folk Festival 2014


strangefolkfestival14_06How amazing is it to see your work on a billboard?!











St. Louis Overalls Mafia


Strange Folk Festival honestly gets better and better every year! I had so much fun and met so many amazing customers and vendors. All my Strange Folk merchandise sold out and my inventory is totally wiped out! Definitely a great problem to have.

Thank you so so much to everyone who stopped by to say hi or buy things. I really had the best time and feel so lucky to be able to sell my silly drawings and handmade stuff, not to mention getting the chance to hang out with the coolest kids in town which also happen to be the most generous, welcoming, and fun. Here’s to an even craftier 2015! xo

P.S. How amazing did those Jamberry nails turn out?! They printed so beautifully and the colors are so bright and saturated. You can still order some for yourself here!

You’re Invited! Strange Folk Festival / STLFW Kick-Off Party


It’s that time of year, folks! My favorite event, Strange Folk Festival, is finally THIS WEEKEND! Haha, are you sick of me talking about it yet? ;)

If you live anywhere close to the STL area, I promise you it’s worth the trip! The weather should be really great, too. It’s the perfect weekend to walk around soaking in the autumn awesomeness with delicious food and drink, listen to fun live music, and shop 150 handmade, vintage, and art vendors in a lovely park. It’s a blast and I’m so excited!


Before the craziness of Saturday and Sunday, the STL Fashion Week Kick-Off Party and Fashion Blogger Awards is Friday night at Grand Center! This event is also a part of STL Design Week and includes the awards, cocktail celebration, shopping, and DJ Trash Talk spinning tunes. It’s going to be a fabulous time! I can’t wait to dress up and see everyone.

Click here for more info and to buy your STLFW tickets!

Doin’ Work.









This has been the landscape of my nights and weekends since we got back from vacation. For once in my life, I’m trying to build up a big stockpile of handmade stuff rather than have stressful rushes of work the week before a big show. I’m adding all kind of new goodies to my shop this month–coin purses, tote bags, pillows, and new jewelry! It’s so fun and exciting to try new things and freshen up my displays.

I’m hoping that getting all my sewing and really hands-on work out of the way will give me longer stretches of times to concentrate on adding more paper goods to the shop. More designs for prints, postcards, and greeting cards. Will this be the year I finally get my shit together and make some Christmas cards? I can only hope. 0:) Wish me luck! xo

100 Etsy Sales!


This week I finally reached the exciting milestone of 100 sales on Etsy! To celebrate and say thanks to everyone who has ever bought anything from my little ol’ shop, you can use the code “YAY100” through September for 25% off any order! :) Click here to shop!



In 2008 I opened my Etsy shop with a single postcard on sale for $2. Haha, my shop stayed pretty vacant until 2012, but traffic and sales have been growing steadily over the past year. I’m really proud of my progress and it’s a goal of mine to really ramp up my activity on Etsy in 2015. I’ve never had more than 20 listings at one time and I have a few new prints that I just haven’t gotten around to photographing. Also, it can be difficult for me to stay organized enough to realize which pieces of jewelry I have listed and which I’ve already accidentally sold at a craft show. Oops!

Meet the STL Craft Mafia


During our last St. Louis Craft Mafia meeting–my first as an official member!–Michelle of Green Wall Studio stopped by to take some classy mug shots for us and they turned out a-ma-zing. Can you tell the mafia has been obsessed with Orange is the New Black? We met at Mad Art Gallery, which is located in an old police station. We got all up in that vintage jail cell!


We came up with “prison names”… haha, I’m so bad at coming up with witty names! I’ll stick to drawing.



We did some small group shots–these are the illustrator/photographer folks! Left to right, skipping me (obviously):
Mary of Unicorgi | Evil Little Girls | Jane of Jane Linders Photography | Jeffrey of Handmade Family


Elizabeth of Just Liv


April of Riley Construction


Courtney of My Vintage Addiction


Courtney of My Vintage Addiction | Stephanie of Ruby Francis Rags | Holly of South City Studio


Renee of Strung Out and Wired (with bad ass tattoos by yours truly ;))


Lauren and Renee of Strung Out and Wired | Kara of Irie’ Elements | Shelah of The Foundrie/August Abroad | Melissa of Villa Design


Melissa of Villa Design


Cristin of Cristin Rae Knitwear


Phil of Belle Journee | Kathleen of Buddha Bath and Body | Alecia of Senora Muertos | Beth of Belle Journee | Kayla of Ghost Cat Studios | Amanda of Sprouted Designs


Not going to try and ID each pretty face here, but shout-outs to all the other members!

 Beqi of Beqi Clothing | Eleanor of Scarlett and Maria | Andrea of Zenbot Design | Mary of Pairabelles | Rachel of Sew Good and Trendy | Suzanne of Suzanne Shenkman Designs | Amy of Stick to Your Knittin’ Kitten

Just a side-note here that ironically just after blogging about how impressed I’ve been with my cycling skills lately, I got into a bike accident on Friday. :( Haha, figures. I’m a mess. It was totally my fault, but I ended up flying over my handlebars and into the street face-first. Not cute. I’ve been laying low and whimpering and hobbling around ever since. I’m okay–just all scratched up and sore. Still ready for my little roadtrip this weekend and looking forward to partying with my favorites girls even more!