Rena Tom Rena Tom

Autumn Travel

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Summer is coming to a close. Some things of note that happened in my life: I was on two podcasts (Pencil vs Pixel and Fresh Rag), was invited to a dinner party in the redwoods, and I got to choose the Awards of Excellence at the American Craft Council’s SF show, which was amazing. I also found and explored Andy Goldsworthy’s Wood Line installation (see image) after driving past it every week for over a year now. Doh!

Things are not entirely peachy, however. Right now I’m fretting about lots of things – getting Ivo ready for kindergarten, the state of my bank account (sucks when you are spending more than you are earning), the live streams out of Ferguson, MO. And, always on my mind is how to better market Makeshift Society as people return to work after their summer vacations and settle in to be busy this autumn. Yes, it’s here already! I feel like there are only 10-12 weeks of good, solid work left this year before folks drift into holiday/end-of-year mode, me included.

Here’s my autumn update. There are so many things going on! I had to turn down some great things in Seattle and Nashville, sadly, due to overlapping dates, but I’ll get to those cities at some point. I hope to see you at one of these events, and I hope you are ready to go to work! Let’s do this.


I’m attending XOXO even though it is the sort of large, friendly festival-type gathering that sends me running for the safety of my room. I’m trying to be brave. If you are not attending but are in Portland, OR there will likely be low-key drinks on the 10th if you want to say hi.

On the 17th I’m trying something new at Makeshift SF – I’ll be conducting online shop critiques for up to 8 or 10 people. You’ll get time to hear directly from me as well as feedback from other shop owners. I think it will be enlightening, and will be early enough for participants to make tweaks before holiday really starts.

On the 19th, I’ll be part of a Gig Union Town Hall discussion put together by BAVC which is a superb organization in San Francisco. It’s free and at the very least, come to hear my illustrious fellow panelists speak about the big issues creative freelancers face every day, and what we can do about them.

The 20th is the Nearly Impossible conference in SF and I will be around all day, talking to makers and trying not to buy stuff (the setting is the gorgeous Heath Ceramics facility in the Mission district).

And then at the end of the month, I am pleased to visit Vancouver for the first time in 11 years! I’ll be talking at IDSwest on the 26th to the trade about Retail Readiness, and also teaching a more extensive version to the public at the new Poppytalk shop on the 27th. If I can sneak in a drinks night in Vancouver, there will be more details via my Twitter feed.

Whew. That’s September. Somewhere in there is my birthday, too.


We start with a bang on the 1st. I’ll be moderating a discussion with three awesome ladies: Betsy Greer, Leanne Prain and Kim Werker. The Booksmith in SF is the first stop for their Make Your Voice Heard: The Intersection of Craft, Creativity, and Activism tour and this is just up my alley. If you aren’t in SF, there are many tour dates across the US; check them out here.

The following week I head to Los Angeles for Adobe MAX. I’m teaching Retail for Designers: How to Take Your Product to Market on the 6th and sneaking in Korean food the rest of the time. If there is interest in a drinks night in Downtown LA, let me know.

There’s a tiny bit of down time and then I’m back in Brooklyn to close out the month. I’ll teach Retail Readiness at Makeshift BK on the 28th, hold office hours there on the 29th, and attend Nearly Impossible on the 30th. Oh yeah, and the monthly mixer at Makeshift BK is that night, so come by and say hi in Williamsburg.

Dang. And then it’s November, and I’m going to collapse. What do YOU have going on this fall? Anything exciting I should know about? Let me know in the comments!

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  1. This looks great, Rena! I’ll be at Nearly Impossible SF and look forward to seeing you there.

    I’m also speaking at School House Craft in Seattle, and the Oh My! Makers Retreat on Cortes Island this fall.

    Um, remember to get some rest!

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