Introducing One-OneThousand: A Midwestern Maker Community

Introducing One-OneThousand - a Midwestern Maker Community

We love meeting inspired entrepreneurs on a mission to put a spotlight on makers in and around our communities. We were lucky enough to be introduced to Sarah Artz, the Founder of One-OneThousand. One-OneThousand is a new organization focused on bringing together Midwestern makers with workshops, markets and other events.

Learn more about Sarah Artz and the mission behind One-OneThousand below – we’re sure you’re going to love it! You can also visit One-OneThousand here.


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At One-OneThousand, we’re working to build a community around handcrafted home and lifestyle goods and the people that make them in Madison, Wisconsin and the greater midwest. Right now we do this through helping professional makers hone their skills, sell their goods and build their businesses and helping hobbyists develop their creative skills and get access to buying well-made handcrafted goods. We host creative workshops, biz labs, pop up events and market and sell hard to find supplies and products.

Around seven years ago I started learning upholstery – I fell in love with the tactile, problem-solving, physical aspects of the work – it felt empowering and gave me a creative release I didn’t have at my day job. The functional side of furnishing my home with things I made with my own hands was very fulfilling and as I delved deeper into the craft, I looked for an artisan community to connect with. What I found was that there were many talented people exploring and making beautiful, practical things right here in my city but that they were isolated and disjointed. I knew other cities were building thriving handcrafted communities and building strong local economies around the niche and I wanted to create that ecosystem right here and connect it to the movement happening in the greater midwest.

The name One-OneThousand is meant to evoke a sense of anticipation. It’s a nod to the childhood counting game, one-onethousand, two-onethousand, three-onethousand, etc. It’s people counting down to something big together – building momentum, gathering energy and looking forward with excitement. And while we do serious work, we don’t take ourselves to seriously so I wanted the name to have a sense of playfulness to it.

One-OneThousand hosts a Shibori dyeing workshop at Wonder Studios in Madison, Wisconsin on March 5, 2016. The workshop was lead by Cara Moseley. Beth Skogen Photography - www.bethskogen.comWe’re winding down on events for the summer and we will have a busy fall. We’ll have a couple of events happening in July including a Floral Watercolor workshop, a drop in Weave & Sip, a drop in work day and a Beyond Shibori workshop in August. But we’re busy ramping up for a release of fall programming.


There’s so much to come – the pop up events have just been a taster. This summer we launched membership, which included a professional maker level and a hobbyist level. We’re also actively searching for a space to set up a permanent home base to expand our events, create a drop in workshop and have private studio rentals. We’re also working on creating some custom product lines from maker collaborations. Come fall, we’ll have a complete line up of creative workshops, biz maker labs, pop up events and our holiday market announced.

The best way to learn about what we do is by visiting our website at and signing up for our email news – we email twice per month and occasionally for special announcements. You can also find us on Instagram or Facebook.


























Share Your Talent: Teach on Skillshare and Earn Money!

Skillshare Share your Talent- Teach on Skillshare and Earn Money!

Have you heard about Skillshare? If not, you NEED to get to know this special platform where you can teach and learn a variety of skills. We partnered up with the Skillshare community to offer this special opportunity just for you! Get to know more about Skillshare and this awesome opportunity to share your craft below.

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Skillshare is an online learning community of over 1.5M creators. Take thousands of online classes focused on improving creative skills like Design, Arts & Crafts, or even teach a class yourself. We’ve seen your amazing Crafts skills & we want you to share them!

As a teacher on Skillshare, you’ll build your brand and reputation as a crafter while earning money for every student who enrolls in your online class. No prior teaching experience or special equipment is needed. To make a class all you need is your talent, passion and a computer. Skillshare will help with the rest!

Click here to get started. If you publish a class by September 30th, you’ll be eligible for a $100 cash bonus.

Have a question? Feel free to reach out to the aftcra team and we will get you in touch with the members of Skillshare.


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Meet the Maker: Chris and Jason of American Bench Craft

American Bench Craft - Meet the Maker - American Bench Craft - Custom Designed and Handcrafted Leather Goods

We wanted to highlight a maker doing some really badass work this month, so we decided to showcase the artisans behind the aftcra shop American Bench Craft. From beautifully crafted leather wallets to handmade leather herringbone manly bracelets, they’ve got everything covered at American Bench Craft. And we’re sure you’ll find something amazing here for the man in your life for Father’s Day! We also really love Chris and Jason’s story behind their shop.

Let’s get to know Chris and Jason and the story behind American Bench Craft (aftcra shop’s here)!

Hello, we are Chris and Jason Angelini of American Bench Craft (aftcra shop). We created custom designed and handcrafted leather goods and accessories, including wallets, cardholders, belts and other high end, ultra durable gift and personalized specialty items.

We have a workshop, offices, storage and fulfillment center in downtown Reading, MA.

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What is your background? How did you two get started in leatherwork?

My brother Jason went to school for engineering and has been designing and creating things since he was young. He used to make furniture for my parents when he was a kid. He began working with leather when his wallet fell apart and designed this wallet that was ultra durable and pretty unique to anything that was on the market. My background is in marketing and film production. We both eventually quit our jobs, and my brother started making these wallets and I started making videos about the wallets and selling them online and that’s how we started the company.

How long has American Bench Craft been around?

My brother designed the original Hammer Riveted Wallet that would build our company in 2013, which is also when we quit our jobs. It took us several months to design a Web site. We officially started selling the Hammer Riveted Wallet through a successful Kickstarter campaign beginning of 2014.

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How did you come up with the name of your shop?

We knew our name had to have American and Craft in it, since all of our products would now and always be handcrafted in the USA. Before we could afford a workshop and warehouse for our company, we were actually making all of the Hammer Riveted Wallets we were selling out of our parent’s garage using an old tool/work bench my brother had made when he was younger, so American Bench Craft seemed appropriate at the time and the name stuck.

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As a small business owner, what is one piece of advice you would share with other small business owners?

You really have to spend money to make money, but make sure you’re getting something of value for your hard-earned money. I was doing marketing for other companies before American Bench Craft and I saw how companies that spent good money on marketing were generally bigger, more successful and profitable than companies that were always pinching pennies and looking for the cheapest option. So, I knew we’d have to spend money to remain competitive. The problem is you have to make sure your getting something valuable for the money you’re spending and that’s tricky trying to decipher between who’s calling to sell you something legitimate, and who’s calling just to make a sale without any thought or consideration for you or your company. There was definitely a slow learning curve there and because we bootstrapped our company with no outside investment money or capital, it was a challenge and setbacks were difficult. We learned how to be smarter about business and that along with our products which have always been some of the best on the market has been what I attribute most to our success. We know our customers expect the best products and we strive everyday to put out the best products on the market. And therefore, we expect the best from the people we work, be it companies that supply us with raw materials or provide us with necessary services to operate our company.

How do you create your products?

When we get an idea for a product, we first design it using a CAD program. Once we’re satisfied with the design, we begin prototyping it to see if the design works. Usually, the design needs to be tweaked a few times before we get it right. Prototyping is usually a long, tedious process. However, once we have something that looks good, we test it out for a few months to make sure its functional and we make adjustments along the way. To bring a new product to market is a long arduous process, but crossing that finish line is always worth the time and effort.

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What is the inspiration for your work?

Solving problems and being the best. The first wallet my brother designed and created was done so to solve the age old problem that eventually your wallet will fall apart. My brother had no interest in a metal or plastic wallet, as nothing really beats leather, but he was sick and tired of his wallets falling apart so quickly. We continue to design and create products that solve problems, so that consumers can keep our products forever.

What does “handmade” and “handcrafted” mean to you?

We design and create all of our products entirely by hand using only simple hand tools. Even our 8 Ton clicker press runs on good old American muscle, no electrical power. Everything from the cutting, stamping, riveting and finishing is done by hand. That’s what handmade/hand crafted means to us.

What is your next new exciting project?

We’re currently working with our local fire department to design a new, ultra durable holster for their radios, which we are really excited about.

What is a quote that you personally live by, or you have shared with others for inspiration?

“Don’t Count the Days, Make the Days Count” – Muhammed Ali

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Why did you choose to join aftcra, and what do you enjoy about the community?

Aftcra seemed the perfect match for us “Crafted by American Hands” so it was an easy decision to join the Aftcra community and being apart of something that focuses solely on handmade goods is what’s most enjoyable.


Get regular updates from Jason and Chris and their shop American Bench Craft! Connect with their social profiles here:

Instagram: @BenchCraft


Pinterest: @BenchCraftUSA

Twitter: @BenchCraftUSA



Want to get featured on aftcra’s homepage! Interested in becoming aftcra’s Featured Store of the month? Send an email to and we will send you the requirements. All requests will be considered to become the next aftcra Featured Store.

Have you checked out aftcra yet?  Discover handmade goods from American artisans at aftcra.


American Bench Craft - Meet the aftcra Maker- American Bench Craft - handcrafted Leather goods, wallets, belts, riveted leather bracelets, and luggage tags


























From $0 to a Profitable Product Line – Introduction to The Handmade Seller Magazine

From $0 to a Profitable Product Line - Introduction to The Handmade Seller Magazine

You’ve probably seen ads for the Handmade Seller magazine pop up once in awhile or noticed other sellers talking about it on Facebook, but I bet you didn’t realize that this particular magazine isn’t actually about showcasing products, but about helping you learn how to become successful with your own product line. For example, in April we started a detailed video series showing you exactly how I get 20,000 targeted Instagram followers every 6 months. In each issue readers progress to the next lesson and eventually will complete that entire course, but that isn’t all they get. At the same time we have a series about starting a blog for your business, another one about getting exposure to your website, several about creating copy that sells, and many more helpful columns geared towards showing you how to be successful with an online platform. We even do keyword research for you and include those downloads in the magazine. Don’t take my word for it, though! You can check out our free sample here!

From 0 to a Profitable Product Line: Proof Inside - Handmade Seller Magazine

Hiii! J My name is Dani and I’m the CEO of theHandmade Seller magazine. First off, I’d like to thank Aftcra for inviting me to share the magazine with you! It’s been a pleasure working with them and getting to talk to all of you. Their platform gives you a great opportunity to get exposure to more online traffic, which everyone is a big fan of.

$52,930.45 From One Product Line.

I share these numbers to show you that the experts behind the magazine are experienced in selling online. I see coaches and courses pop up all the time from people who never prove they’re actually qualified to teach. The number above is the gross amount from one product line on Amazon that I launched in October, 2015. That’s after running out of inventory twice and I’m about to run out again because I can’t keep up with the demand.

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I personally have been selling online for 7-8 years (I’ve been so busy since that I can’t remember when I actually started, ha!) I still create product lines and my partners have all had/have successful product lines as well. Only qualified people contribute content in the magazine because we want you to have access to the best information there is.

Here is what our subscribers get access to each month:

1.     Monthly issues plus all of the previous issues

2.     55 – 65 pages which you can print out if you wish to

3.     Video tutorials (sometimes text tutorials just don’t cut it!)

4.     Resource links (we send you straight to the tools and resources you need)

5.     Keyword downloads (we do the keyword research for you!)

6.     Download guides and templates such as biography templates and trending colors

7.     Expert columnists in every field

8.     Knowledge to skyrocket your business

9.     Chance to have your story featured in the magazine or your product featured on our Pinterest accounts

10.  Letters to the editor (ask questions and get them answered)

11.  Featured stories from top sellers (learn from the best in your industry)

12.  Discounts on helpful products

If you’re interested in joining our family of subscribers, we’d love to offer you a gift for being a seller with Aftcra!

5% Off Coupon Code: AFTCRA

Happy Selling!


daniLearn more about Dani Marie here:
Dani has been developing product lines and selling online for the last 11 years. This has lead her to become the CEO of the Handmade Seller magazine, a best selling author, and the VP of Flourish (a coaching community for handmade sellers). Through these three avenues she helps others find success with their product lines and marketing strategies!



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Welcome aftcra Guest Blogger: Danielle Spurge of The Merriweather Council

The Merriweather Council Handmade Shop Business Advice - Intro to Danielle Spurge

The aftcra team would like to extend a warm welcome to Danielle Spurge of The Merriweather Council as an aftcra guest blogger. Danielle will be joining the aftcra blog monthly to provide sellers with advice for their handmade shop. Before she starts whipping out her best practices, tips and tricks we want you all to get know Danielle, gain a little insight into her experience with handmade, and understand her passion for makers.

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The Merriweather Council was established in 2010 after my post college plans fell through at the very last minute, about two days before graduation. For five years The Merriweather Council focused on providing high quality custom hand embroidery. As my business grew, other makers would reach out to me for advice and I found that I loved chatting shop and strategy with others. In late 2014 I set out a plan for the new year that would allow for me to shift my focus from making products to supporting other makers. After five years of working alone, I really wanted to explore the things I had spent much less time on but loved just as much. My goal for this year is to empower creatives to share their work with confidence and the educate handmade shop owners on how to leverage and prosper.

Makers in business are a very cool and intrepid group, and they don’t have time to waste. I aim to provide clarity and insights from my five years of experience to help handmakers get more out of the work they are already doing -and have done- so they can spend more time doing the work they love.

The Merriweather Council Handmade Shop Business Advice - Danielle Spurge






















I have five years of experience selling crafts online. I’ve worked with national and international print and online publications, news media, bloggers and other influencers. My products have been sold wholesale, retail and on consignment as well as directly at shows across the country.

My approach to consulting is to provide clients with insights as well as viable personalized steps and solutions as well as tried and true tactics.

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Look forward to Danielle’s first post in July! In the meantime, you can connect with The Merriweather Council on the following social outlets, or send her an email.


Let’s welcome Danielle!


President and Co-Founder, aftcra

How to Attract Loyal Customers to Your Store, from an aftcra Seller


How to Attract Loyal Customers with Events











aftcra seller Rachael B. Winkley of Salvaged Studio & Gallery was recently featured on Storefront (an organization dedicated to helping small and large businesses find retail space). Rachael shared some of her tips and tricks on how to attract loyal customers to her brick and mortar retail space.

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Rachael opened Salvaged Studio & Gallery in Milwaukee, WI over a year ago. After a successful year, she was asked to share best practices with Storefront on how she has been able to attract loyal customers, and maintain them, by thinking outside of the box and hosting local events.

Some of the tactics that Rachael used were:

1. Strategically Planning her Grand Opening: Rachael planned the grand opening of Salvaged Studio to coincide with another local event taking place in her artsy neighborhood. By doing so, Rachael was guaranteed that foot traffic would pass by her shop. This also showed her commitment to the community/neighborhood. This tactic helped her to attract loyal customers that she may not have had exposure to previously.

2. Hosting Local Community Events: Another method Rachael has used to attract loyal customers is by hosting local community events. She hosted a Featured Artist Show, which promoted some local artists and their up-cycled and/or repurposed work (a niche Rachael carved out for herself). These events helped Rachael form solid relationships with her customers, be introduced to prospects, and even further cement her commitment to the artistic neighborhood.

3. Consistent Communication: Rachael started to immediately gather email addresses and contact information from individuals frequenting her shop. With these lists she could start a regular newsletter to share upcoming events, featured items, or updates on Salvaged Studio. This is a way to maintain her current customers.

Check out Rachael’s featured story in Storefront’s blog post: How Hosting In-Store Events Attracts Loyal Customers.



And a huge pat on the back to Rachael for being an awesome local artist!