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Posts Tagged ‘Isaac B Watson’

Hello Etsy Behind the Scenes – Keynote Address

Friday, September 23rd, 2011

I have so much to say about Hello Etsy PDX!  I don’t even know where to begin.  First and foremost I’m still so honored and grateful to have been asked to co-chair the event along with Rebecca Kerr.  It’s hard to have perspective when you organize an event in some ways because there are so many steps required to see any one aspect through to fruition.   The role of event planner keeps you so busy it can be hard to gauge at times what the response is from the public was.  This was not one of those times.  You could feel the energy in the air.  Ideas were flying all around the room and you could see people lighting up with enthusiasm.  There’s too much to really say, so I thought I’d share the part of the day that I feel was very successful – the keynote address.

I love how things come together.  One person has an idea and then it grows and other people add to the idea, which grows and becomes something else that’s better and bigger than any one person could make.  On the back end this is my perspective of the Hello Etsy PDX conference.  It started like this, I had this idea for the Keynote . . . it was born out of a Facebook post from months ago in which I posted about Stumptown Coffee procuring investors.  I was surprised how many people were coming down on Stumptown and it was Rebecca Pearcy of Queen Bee who said in Facebook thread, “Growth isn’t always a bad thing.  Business people have to weigh out many different scenarios  to sustain their businesses and growth is some times the answer.”  When Rebecca, Isaac and I were in the early planning stages of the event we were looking for a dynamic keynote address and I thought of this Facebook post.  From there we thought it would be incredible if we presented a few different ideas around intentional business growth. One where we profiled a business that chose to grow large and one that felt they could be more viable by staying small.  We really wanted the bigger business to be represented by Stumptown and the smaller  by Queen Bee.  The idea seemed too crazy to happen for real.  How could we get Duane Sorenson from Stumptown to even pay attention to us?  None of us had a connection to him.  And would Rebecca Pearcy want to talk about staying small?  We had a few businesses in mind to represent the big and small businesses and cast our net wide.  Surprisingly we heard back from almost everyone, including Duane Sorenson!  Next we needed to talk with Duane and explain our vision for the conversation.  I have to admit that after doing some reading online I had a sense of a message I was hoping to send.  I felt as though Duane Sorenson was being raked over the coals for bringing in investors to Stumptown Coffee and selling out, but I really didn’t feel he was a sell out after reading how well he was taking care of his employees and the coffee farmers he works with.  I think it was at least part of the reason he decided to do the Keynote, because he could tell we were interested setting aside biases and presenting the whole picture.

Next we needed a moderator for the keynote and we were lucky to have Diane Gilleland who did an amazing job!  I had some insider information on both Duane and Rebecca because I had researched Duane and spoken with him on the phone.  Rebecca and I are friends, so I wrote up questions and sent them to Diane.  Diane did her own research about Duane and came to the same conclusion I’d had.  She felt that Duane was being accused of something that he wasn’t, a sell out.  In her graceful style, Diane tailored the questions, but kept the underlying message:

Bigger local businesses and small local business are a matter
of choice and equally necessary in a local economy.

A small business isn’t doomed to fail if they choose to stay smaller
and a large business isn’t necessarily selling out
if they choose to grow larger by taking on investors.

Just to give you a sense of the amount of work it took to schedule a meeting to review the questions that would be discussed during the keynote between Duane, Rebecca and Diane,  I believe it took 2 phone calls, 5 emails and 2 texts to set up that meeting.  Duane is a really busy guy.  More busy than I knew.  I learned that he has a wife and 4 kids!  Not to mention the 200 employees and all of the coffee shops he has sprinkled around Portland, Seattle and New York.  Phew!  That’s a lot to juggle.

I felt Isaac would do the best job introducing the keynote and in typical Isaac B Watson style he totally exceeded my expectations.  I really enjoyed this part of Hello Etsy PDX so much because it was informative, funny, it shed light on some iconic Portland businesses as well as it helped dispel some myths about bigger businesses by telling a different story.  One of making the best choices for the business and employees, like Stumptown Coffee.  It also reminded all of us about the incredible viability and success possible for small business, like Queen Bee.

The keynote for Hello Etsy  is really a microcosm of the overall event.  It took a lot of people, specifically, it took the I Heart Art Leadership Council members and some pretty amazing volunteers all really pulling together along with Etsy who footed the entire bill.  The fact that Etsy had this vision for this incredible conference alone is HUGE.  People have asked me, “Why do you think Etsy wanted to have this international business conference for makers with such a big picture, educational perspective?”  I know it wasn’t any type of monetary gain, because they spent more than they earned from the conferences.  I think they must have had a vision for international good will and an education revolution for the universal maker community.  The internet adoration was their payment.     I received an email from Kimm Alfonso who works at Etsy in NYC.  She told me that there were over 4,000 tweets with the Hello Etsy hashtag.   I think this conference was truly beneficial for all involved.   Thank you, Etsy for making this day possible!

etsy on Broadcast Live Free

by: jen

Rebel Craft Rumble 2011!

Monday, June 20th, 2011

Last Wednesday night was the Rebel Craft Rumble, hosted by Scrap.  In case you aren’t familiar with what the Rebel Craft Rumble is all about, think Iron Chef with crafts.  Like Iron Chef, competitors have specific items that they must work with and then they compete side by side to see who will become the winner or in this case the “Craft Master.”  Sister Diane was the champion last year so I was excited to see what sort of “craft muscle” the other contestants would bring to this year’s competition.   Alyssa Kail did a great job as “The Ringleader of Reuse.”   Richard and I were asked to be judges along with Julie Sabatier, from Destination DIY and Lindsey Newkirk, from Junk to Funk and oh, what fun we had!  The contestants were amazing!  There was Bridget Benton, Miss Demeanor, Sister Diane, Aurora Owen and Chelsea Badding.  The last two contestants I wasn’t familiar with, but they were great crafters and totally entertaining.

There were a few different bouts: such as detailing and tricking out a chair from a thrift store.  In the next round they made puppets.   Chelsea created superior puppets, but Aurora did voices and named her puppets in an excited 5 year old kinda way so she totally won that leg of the competition.


Photo by Mike Harper

Aurora had a huge fan club at the event.  Even, Isaac B. Watson from I Heart Art was getting in on her fan club by waving a huge sign that said, “show us your cleavage.”  If you know Isaac you know how funny and out of character holding a sign like that is for him.

Photo by Mike Harper

One of the many fun elements of this event were the bribes that contestants brought for the judges.  Here you can see Richard and Julie fighting over who will get the hand altered “Hans Solo” created by Aurora.  I’m pretty sure Richard was screaming something like, “I’ll cut a bitch for Hans Solo!”  But that’s what happens when you go to a rumble.  Things can get pretty ugly.

Photo by mike Harper

Another cool element of the Rebel Craft Rumble  was that contestants could have secret weapons.  Miss Demeanor had caution tape, which she used to weave a chair.  She also did sexy, yet almost threatening dance moves that were totally entertaining.  Check out the picture above and you’ll see what I mean.

Photo by Mike Harper

Here you can see Isaac in “jail” again.  Throughout the night many people spent time in jail.  Sometimes for running around and acting like a nut, as in Isaac’s case, others were jailed for not bringing the craft cop a beer or other acts of “doing nothing,” but no one spent as much time in jail as Isaac.  He was so rowdy.  Screaming and waving signs to Sister Diane that said things like, “Marry me!”  It was pretty awesome!

Photo by Mike Harper

I think this guy was jailed for doing nothing.

Photo by Mike Harper

As the night began we were legit judges as you can see in the photo below.  We were carefully thinking it through and weighing out our options.  But we kept getting drinks from contestants and from the audience, after awhile it became more and more challenging to judge people based on their projects.  The bribes, booze and entertainment of each contestant began to weigh more heavily.

Photo by Mike Harper

Here’s a link to a quick iphone video of a drink that was delivered to me.  Diane didn’t purchase this drink it was purchased by an audience member on Diane’s behalf.  I couldn’t get a good photo of it because it had been written on all the way around the cup, so a video seemed like the best idea.    Notice in the photo below the water has barely been touched but the beer cups are getting stacked up in the middle of the table.  We are also being presented with the whiskey shots at this time.

Photo by Mike Harper

Here are Bridget and Diane competing in the chandelier redux portion of the evening.  Bridget’s hot glue gun died, but Sister D was kind enough to share hers.

Photo by Mike Harper

Crafters came and competed hard!  After a few black eyes and copious amounts of hot glue Sister Diane came out victorious once again.  It’s hard to beat divine crafting.  Even the Chinook Book sign couldn’t handle the intensity of the rumble.  Look at it, trying to fall down for mercy and crying for it’s mama.

Photo by Mike Harper

All in all this is one of the most fun events I’ve been to in some time.  I highly recommend it to anyone who likes crafts, supports reuse, is a fan of friendly competition or really anyone who likes affordable fun!


by: jen