Thursday, November 29, 2007

"No Coast Craft-o-Rama, No Coast Just Craft"

This is an article written by Gerri Jo that was published today on Etsy Storque. Thanks Gerri!

In a state that boasts some of the coldest temperatures in the US and where a typical winter day involves trudging through a foot of snow, it becomes obvious why Minnesota is home to so many wonderful artists and crafters. Helping to support that talent as well as crafters that live beyond Minnesota’s borders, the No Coast Craft-O-Rama has gone from a small affair to one of the largest craft shows in the Midwest in just three years. This year’s show features over one hundred vendors (including over forty etsians!) and is expected to draw a crowd of over 8,000 shoppers.

So how did this little craft show become one of the largest in the Midwest? What goes into making a large craft show so successful and run smoothly? Kristen Himsl (, member of Crafters Local 612 and cofounder of No Coast, was kind enough to take a moment out of her busy crafting and promoting schedule to answer some questions.

How and why did No Coast Craft-o-Rama get started?

No Coast Craft-o-Rama started because a bunch of Twin Cities crafters were craving a craft sale the likes of Bizarre Bazaar and Renegade, etc. These sales all seemed to take place in coastal cities and so we formed a group and named our sale with Midwest pride “No Coast Craft-o-Rama”. Tracy Parker of Pumpkin Girl was the one that really came forward and organized the group and got the ball rolling. We’ve had a few people come and go since then but maintain a good sized core group of volunteers. We wanted an identity as organizers so we decided on the name “Crafters Local 612” the 612 referring of course to the Minneapolis telephone area code.

How has the show changed in its short history?

The show began in 2005 with about 50 vendors at the Columbia Manor in NE Minneapolis. This was a smaller venue, off of a golf course- very cozy and had a fire place. I remember not knowing what to expect and we all agreed that if we got 500 people to come throughout the day that we would consider it a success. Well, the Star Tribune (the largest Twin Cities newspaper) ran an article about us a few days before the sale and we had over 2000 people through the door. Some of our vendors were nearly sold out by noon! The second year we anticipated as many people and tried to find a venue big enough to make sure 2000 people would be comfortable shopping. At the 2006 sale, we were blown away when we clocked over 8000 people coming through the doors. Now, our 3rd sale will be held at the same location, but with even more vendors and space in which to shop around.

Photo by Tracy Parker

What are some of the challenges of running a craft show? What are some of the rewards?

There are so many challenges and rewards to run a craft show, I know it helps to have such a great group of people to organize it. We basically work all year to put on the No Coast Craft-o-Rama. I would say the single most difficult and simultaneously rewarding part is choosing the vendors. We have so many amazing applicants that we want everyone to have a chance, but we need to keep a good selection of products as well as craft quality. It’s always exciting to see what new things vendors come up with each year, but it’s hard to have to tell some people “no”. It is really satisfying to be able to provide talented crafters a place to sell their items as well as to see the shoppers so happy at finding unique gifts.

What are you most excited about for this year's show?

Variety. This year we have more vendors than ever, and a lot of new people with crafts never seen before. I also think that shoppers are fed up with buying mass market toys for their loved ones only to have them recalled a few months later, and so we’re extra excited to feature some amazing vendors that craft high quality children’s toys and clothes.

Why was the Midtown Global Market chosen as the location?

Location is always a challenge when planning a craft sale. We never wanted to be the kind of sale that takes place in a gymnasium or a bland conference hall. The heart of our sale is Twin Cities pride so we want to help show off some amazing parts of the Twin Cities. Midtown Global Market has been a wonderful venue with a lot of space, and they have permanent food vendors from all over the world as well as a stage and seating areas so that shoppers can really make a day of it if they choose.

For more information please visit

What: No Coast Craft-O-Rama

When: Friday November 30th 3pm-8pm

Saturday, December 1st 9am-5pm

Where: Midtown Global Market

Lake Street and Chicago Avenue, Minneapolis, MN

Admission is free

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Debbie Stoller to Appear at No Coast Craft-o-Rama!

That's right! Debbie Stoller from BUST magazine and the Stitch 'N Bitch book series will be signing copies of her new book "Son of Stitch 'N Bitch" on Friday, November 30th from 4pm -5pm at No Coast Craft-o-Rama. Stop by to see her and bring a book for her to sign, or pick up a copy at the Crafty Planet booth!

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Keeping Up with Artgoodies

Artgoodies is all over in the Press this month! Check them out on Etsy as well as in the following magazines:

-Real Simple Magazine Nov. nest towel page 216
-did you fly American Airlines in Oct? American Way Magazine- deer towel page 36
-swallowtail butterfly towel graces the pages of Oct. Better Homes and Gardens
-chickadee apron in Premier Edition Nov. Make It Mine Magazine
-Natural Health Magazine - Dec/Jan - deer towel page 89
-CraftySynergy Blog

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Zeichen Press back in the News!

This time as one of Minnesota Monthly's "Best of the Cities" picks!

Greeting Cards

Truth be told, Zeichen Press owners Fran and Jen Shea didn’t start a letterpress intending to be the next Hallmark. Sure, Zeichen can be sweet, but when you’d rather be honest, borderline snarky, Zeichen’s notecards are refreshingly blunt. The 30-something sisters-in-law have backgrounds in design—Fran formerly an art director and Jen previously worked as an interior designer—and both had been stay-at-home moms prior to starting the press. The Shea sisters use an antique press to make bold, new statements such as “I’m glad you’re having a baby and I’m not.” If it’s true, why not say what you feel? www.zeichenpress. com

Friday, November 16, 2007

Not Your Granny's Craft Sale? I Think Not!

Here at No Coast Craft-o-rama planning headquarters, we are heads down, feverishly putting the finishing touches on the big event -- ordering tables, passing out postcards, getting ads ready for VitaMN and City Pages and generally just running around like chickens. And I'm sure all the vendors are even more so, cranking out all the goods we can't wait to get our hands on!

I thought I'd take a moment to reflect on why I was motivated to get this group of people together to plan this event, and hopefully dispell any rumor that this craft sale harbors any ill will toward crafting grannies. Let me tell you what I mean.

In 2005, my mom retired. She has always been crafty, in fact she is my inspiration in that arena. So, I thought I'd plan a craft sale she could participate in, and it would give her something to do with all her new free time. Fast forward to now. My mom, also a "granny" (In fact her business name is Granny's Closet), is a big seller on Etsy (six hundered and thirty some odd items sold...wah hoo!) and also No Coast Craft-o-rama. This week I did an interview with her on my blog. I think it's kind of cute.

My point in all this? Granny's rock, and we love them as much as we love Cricket Syndicate and his handmade underwear, or Rar Rar Press and her "F that S" postcards! Truth be told, a granny might be our very reason for being!

Monday, November 12, 2007

Zeichen Press Featured in the Strib!

Okay, okay, I know it's over 3 months old, but there was a great article on our very own Zeichen Press in the Strib August 8th. I've never met Fran and Jen, but I imagine two witty and sarcastic women, feverishly pressing out billions upon billions of letterpress holiday cards for the No Coast Craft-o-rama. Personally, I am looking forward to picking up this one, and sending it to my friend Jen. Good work, ladies. Looking forward to meeting you in a matter of weeks!

Papered Together

We were excited to see that Papered Together, one of our new vendors this year is featured in the December/January issue of Mary Engelbreit's Home Companion as well as getting noticed in the upcoming December issue of Minnesota Monthly, the Holiday Gift Guide.

Way to go Krista!

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Great Gifts for Daddio, Boyfriend, Gramps and Bro

We here at No Coast headquarters think long and hard about how to ensure that our shoppers can find things for everyone on their holiday shopping list at our sale. One of the toughest to find is good gifts for the male species. After all, not too many men in our lives are big fans of knitted tea cozies or smelly candles. This year, I really think we did a good job in sniffing out some fantastic crafters of good gift ideas for guys. Here are a few of my favorites:

• For the boyfriend, how about a fantastic pin-up calendar or cityscape calendar made by poster artist Adam Turman?
• For your little Anglophile baby bro’ -- a totally hip Union Jack shirt from Charlie and Sarah!
• For dad, a clever film canister by Marti Nelson.
• Great for all the hot rodsters on your list, a cool vinyl art piece by Nate’s Custom Sewing
• What I want to send my husband, the punker: a sweet punker postcard by Rar Rar Press.
• Another great boyfriend gift, a set of coasters featuring “social don’ts” from Zeichen Press
• For dad or grandpa, a beautiful Japanese woodblock-inspired stained glass window by Green Lantern Glass

Monday, November 05, 2007

2007 Poster

And the postering begins! This year's awesome poster is designed by Adam Turman. A downloadable copy is available on the No Coast Craft-o-Rama website. Print one out 8x11 or handbill sized.
Thank you Adam!