Ready to take your craft business to the next level? Well, the conference designed for makers by makers is back. Craft organization CraftNOW, makerspace NextFab, and gift shop/design studio LaserPhilly present the third annual Tools of the Trades, a three-day hybrid conference focused on connecting artisans to business resources in Philadelphia and beyond.
After welcoming over 500 attendees over the past two years, the third annual Tools of the Trades conference returns, bigger and better than ever. From March 20th to 22nd, join hundreds of like-minded makers and connect with industry experts, peers, and valuable resources. Dive into virtual talks on digital marketing, funding your passion project, and getting into retail shops. Gain practical skills through hands-on workshops at the NextFab makerspace, covering topics like gallery representation, product photography, and pricing strategies. Tools of the Trades is your chance to learn, grow, and network alongside industry leaders, fostering creative success however you define it.
Accessibility and growth go hand-in-hand at Tools of the Trades. Thanks to partnerships with the City of Philadelphia’s Department of Commerce and Square, this year’s conference is affordable and approachable for all, with scholarships available for all ticket levels. Ask any question, share any challenge, and find the support you need to take your creative venture to the next level and contribute to the thriving ecosystem of Philadelphia’s makers and businesses.
Virtual tickets for $25 grant you entry to 10 insightful online sessions, such as “P&L and the Big Bad Spreadsheet (and Other Business Beasts),” “Authenticity over Algorithms: Social Media Trends,” and “Retail Readiness.” For the ultimate experience, grab an all-access pass for $100 and unlock additional perks: hands-on workshops at NextFab on March 22nd, such as “Getting into Galleries, Retailers, Wholesalers,” “How to Price Your Work,” “Taxes for Creatives,” and “Sales for Introverts.” Top it off with an exclusive Happy Hour and networking event, surrounded by art gallery owners, business leaders, and industry experts – the perfect opportunity to build valuable connections and propel your creative journey! To foster learning and growth outside the conference, each ticket includes a Digital Toolkit filled with resources, promos, and exclusive mentor consultations. Early-bird tickets are available for a limited time.
“CraftNOW is excited to once again partner with NextFab and LaserPhilly for the 3rd year of Tools of the Trades,” CraftNOW Executive Director, Emily Edelstein says. “This is not just an opportunity to learn practical skills, but to make connections with other makers that can offer insight, community, and collaboration opportunities. We are especially excited to partner with the City of Philadelphia this year and have their support in developing the creative economy of Philadelphia.”
“We’re thrilled to expand our conference again this year to include more mentorship opportunities and in-person connections,” continues Rebecca Ledbetter, Marketing Director at NextFab. “Making can be siloed, so welcoming creators of all skill levels to connect and collaborate is essential, and we’re excited to make that a reality again this year.”
The third year of Tools of the Trades will offer a variety of programs led by professionals from LaserPhilly, Felt+Fat, PxP Contemporary, CERF+, Kontan, 3pts, Philadelphia Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts, Zindzine, CraftNOW, and NextFab.
“As someone who’s transitioned from a hobbyist maker to a business owner who now employs others, I’ve navigated some of the complexities that come with growth,” Sharif Pendleton, founder of LaserPhilly says. “I’m eager to share lessons learned to help others on a similar path. And, I’m thrilled to use this year’s conference, in part, as a platform to introduce Retail Readiness, a new program designed to equip makers with invaluable retail experience, giving insight into how to market and showcase their products effectively, and significantly boost their chances of success in retail environments.”
In the coming weeks, CraftNOW and NextFab will announce additional speakers and presenters and scholarship opportunities for attending Tools of the Trades.
Tickets: All Access: $100 ($85 early bird discount from February 5th – 29th) In-Person Workshops Only or In-Person Happy Hour Only: $50 ($42.50 early bird discount) Virtual Event Only: $25 ($21.25 early bird discount) Tickets are available for purchase HERE.