As I began to assemble the team that I wanted to surround and support me in this new Lucky Break venture, I knew I needed a brilliant graphic designer with style, spunk and pizzazz who could serve up ninja-caliber design skills on teeny weeny timetables. I searched Le Internet high and low, but my search stopped the moment I stumbled upon the great and mighty Jessika Hepburn. The amount of fabulousness that we created together can’t be contained in a single blog post, but God love Jess for trying. You can read the inside scoop of our branding extravaganza (and enter to win my book!) at her blog right this very minute.
Jess curates an amazing community of creative entrepreneurs over at the Oh My! Handmade site. She’s a mama to two sweet’n'spunky girls and branding guru who dwells in a charming Victorian village in Nova Scotia that looks like it was ripped from a storybook. Oh, and she managed to get herself engaged to a solidly handsome fellow in December. Squeeeeee!
Jess brilliantly articulated my branding vision for Lucky Break,. Then she served up a brilliant design for my just-published book. And now we’re plotting an exotic collaboration in a faraway land that can only be described as “swoon-worthy.” But more on that later… Jessika has graciously invited me to join her community of forty seasoned OMH contributors who serve up wit, wisdom and inspiration for entrepreneurs 365 days a year. I am over-the-moon excited and will be unveiling my first contribution later this month. In the meantime, I asked Jessika to sit for an interview so that you can get acquainted with my newest best friend and her amazing community of indie business goodness…
Tell me about the genesis of the “Oh My! Handmade” community- what was the inspiration for the project?
I bought Oh My! Handmade in 2010 from Sarah Tams of sarah + abraham with the idea of promoting my little handmade and marketing/design business. When I took over the site we had a handful of contributors and I threw myself into connecting with them and reaching out to other creatives that inspired me. Within a year I had left behind my own handmade business to follow my real passion which has always been building communities where creativity can thrive. Before embarking on my handmade adventure I had done everything from starting a summer camp for inner city kids, directing a rural non-profit resource centre, and being the driving force behind a number of community initiatives for children and families. Through it all I played with every creative toy I could get my hands on paint, Photoshop, felt, typewriter parts etc to keep my artistic heart happy. My intense work ethic has always pushed me to work longer and harder then everyone else so I shifted fully to more creative work when I had my first daughter so I would at least be home while I pursued joyful world domination!
I had thought running Oh My! Handmade would be a fun side project but it ended up being the piece that was always missing for me-somewhere I could combine all the things I loved most in the whole world-celebrating the magic we make with our hands, kind creative people, sharing knowledge + innovative ideas, collaborative leadership, and most important for me building communities where diverse creatives can come to find inspiration and support.
What types of people comprise the community and what binds them together?
This is the part that excites me the most! We come from everywhere and all over the place! We are all colours, shapes, sizes, abilities, backgrounds, skill sets, incomes, beliefs, and lifestyles. Some of us play with paint, paper, fabric and other tangibles while some of us play with words, pixels, media, codes and all things in-between. What ties us together is our creativity, our willingness to welcome and encourage each other, and the belief that we can make the world more beautiful by being kind, making awesome things with our hands, and sharing the adventure with each other. I like to think my cheerful over abundance of love has a little something-something to do with it all.
I’m continually astounded by the steady flow of creative goodness at the website. Please share with my Lucky Girls a little bit about the type of content Oh My! Handmade offers and how it’s delivered.
We currently have over 40 contributors and many guests who are just as diverse as our community-they are the real reason OMHG is so full of goodness! Every month we explore a new theme from entrepreneur ethics to DIY branding from our different perspectives and talents. In January we are kicking off 2013 with a Happy Healthy Year theme and having lots of fun with my 2013 Happy Healthy Entrepreneur Planner. We share original content at least 5 days a week on everything from small business tips and marketing to creative tutorials and handmade goodness with a focus on heartfelt insight and rock solid advice. I also lead a weekly #OMHG Twitter chat for creative entrepreneurs every Thursday from 1-2EST where we chat about our monthly themes, life, the universe, and everything.
What has been your greatest joy in leading this community? And the most important thing you’ve learned through the experience?
The greatest joy without question is the love, support, and friendship I receive from our community. Everything I put out I get back times a hundred thousand! The more I give the more I expand to have more to offer and the more I am fulfilled by the work I do. It is a perfect circle of awesome! There is no one most important thing that I’ve learned and if I tried to get it all out we’d be here until next week but all my truths about community building have been validated-if you create a space where people can support each other towards greatness we will dream bigger, work better, live happier and build a community/world that is truly welcoming and sustaining. The biggest struggle (you didn’t ask but I’m telling) has been making that community and all the love I/we pour into it sustainable but that is coming soon with our new site…
You’ve been flirting with your readers via a few “sneak peeks” of the bigger + better Oh My! Handmade website to come. What plans do you have in the works?
I’ve been more than flirting! The whole process of building the new website has been a collaboration between the community, the design team at Aeolidia, and myself so I’ve been sharing the process every step of the way and inviting feedback and ideas. OMHG had outgrown our original blog home and needed new digs where we could really connect and bring some of the ideas that have come up over and over again since we really started taking off. Our new site will hold all the content we share daily in addition to a members community where our community can support each other, chat, and collaborate. Another exciting new change will be a beautifully curated vendor marketplace of services and supplies for creative entrepreneurs (everything you need for your business in one place!). Finally we’ll have a new shop for books, classes, workshops and events + some new contributors coming on board!
What do you wish every creative entrepreneur could know?
ONE wish? You are a hard taskmistress! I wish every entrepreneur (heck every person!) could know their own unique and exquisite value + never doubt the infinite possibilities they contain. My Plan B back-up wish is for them to know someone or several someones to give them a big hug and a reminder if they ever forget or loose sight of it. I forget all the time but I am super lucky to have really amazing friends (like YOU!).
GIVEAWAY ALERT! Jessika has graciously offered up five (count ‘em: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5!!!) copies of her Happy Healthy 2013 Entrepreneur Planner to my Lucky Girls. To enter, leave a comment on this post and share how you’re planning a happy, healthy year for yourself and your business. Bonus points: I sweet talked Jess into offer us a discount of 20% off anything in her Oh My! Shop for my lucky ladies with the code luckygirl until January 22. Woohoo!
Jessika Hepburn has dedicated her life to the transformational power of community. She believes two hands can make the world more beautiful, four hands can start a revolution of goodness, and a hundred hands can be unstoppable force. Through generous applications of compassion and creativity she has spent a decade of in-the-trenches service building communities for everyone from seniors and inner city youth, to sex trade workers and corporate CEO’s . Through her work as editor and leader of the Oh My! Handmade community she has created a space where the diverse creative entrepreneurs of the world can connect to build the work of their dreams, figure out how put food in the fridge, and find a big hug when things don’t go as planned (and they never go as planned). Part cheerleader, part mother hen, and part rebel with a cause, Jessika is all about building communities where creativity can thrive.
“I know my two hands can make the world more beautiful, our four hands can start a revolution of goodness, and a hundred hands can become an unstoppable force. I have seen through over 10 years of community building that when we work together with intention anything is possible. My life purpose is to make that possibility reality. Through my work as editor and leader of the Oh My! Handmade community I have created a space where the makers of the world can connect to build the work of their dreams, put food in the fridge, and find a big hug when things don’t go as planned (and they never go as planned). Part cheerleader, part mother hen, and part rebel with a cause, I’m all about building communities where creativity can thrive.”