Imagine: The year is 2012. You’ve got a big date this Saturday (or maybe it’s your wedding, your daughter’s first birthday, celebration of your big promotion…), and you need something to wear. Laughing as you recall your past-life mall-shopping, you jump into your solar-powered flying car (ha!) and head downtown to the indie shopping district where several seller-owned little shops line the streets. You find the perfect outfit the cutest little pair of earrings, and the sweet people who made them thank you as you head out the door.

Ask others in the indie community, and they’ll tell you: reality could some day look like this. “Where do you see indie in five years?” was one of my favorite questions in the interview series, but it often got pushed below the fold. I loved the answers so much, thought I’d recap them today.

Mallory from Miss Malaprop:

There are a lot of plans in the works to create a stronger sense of community within the indie craft scene and to work together more cohesively. I’ll be attending the Craft Congress (for indie organizers) in Pittsburgh in late March, and I hope that we’ll come out of there with plans to bring the community together and work to expand and reach the wider market. I hope that in five years time there are at least twice as many people making a full time living off of their art and that the indie movement is making national media and is on more people’s minds

Jena from Modish:

I think it’s gaining popularity and I hope hope hope that it will continue to grow and that in five years there will be more indie craft fairs throughout the country, more specialized indie specific boutiques (one of my own perhaps!) and just more indie resources available for the community at large to partake in. Farmer’s markets attract people to buy locally and organic and indie craft fairs and seeing more indie goods in cool shops will hopefully encourage people to buy indie in the same way.

Jenn from Indie Fixx:

More popular than ever! I see our efforts to educate the public about alternatives to shopping at big-box stores paying off. Shoppers are looking for more diversity and are turning towards small and local businesses for more of their purchases. I believe this trend will continue much to the benefit of the indie community.

Sarah from Awesome:

I think we’d both like to be doing something like Awesome full time in a few years, and have it be more interactive and be a greater resource for people beyond the indie community. I’d love for a site like ours to be a conduit for getting exposure to indie shops so they can make contacts for wholesaling and selling to national retailers. There’s nothing wrong with selling your stuff in Target, in fact think the future of indie designs is for lots of small companies to have the leverage to sell their designs in large stores with total control of the product and pricing module. It’d be awesome if we could help make this happen for people.

Danielle from Gold School:

I see indie crafters still working away. Hopefully we won’t be all the rage in the mainstream. I like our little community.

Jan from Scoutie Girl:

In five years, I believe the indie community will be perceived as less of a mainstream “alternative” and more of the mainstream itself. Hand in hand with that, buyers will be actively seeking out the indie designer. As the movement continues to gain positive exposure and momentum, we’ll be stealing market share and revenue from the big box marts in measurable amounts.

Anissa from IndieShopping:

I see it growing more and more. I look back to when I started in 2004 and things have already grown. There are more outlets for sellers like Etsy, more craft shows and events. I think it is only going to get bigger.

Liana from Mixed Plate:

Oh, it’s going to be bigger and better than ever. There has been such an indie movement recently in that folks are now becoming more aware of what the whole independent community is about. I believe there are many people out there that want to support true artists and designers and love handmade goods. Getting the word out via the world wide web and now with more and more magazines focusing on the indie styles will help the indie community grow stronger.

Where do you see the indie community in five years?


Chicks and Bunnies

Photo by Laura Crow. Plushies by Stephane at Little Birds.

Last weekend, I found myself watching the Chefography marathon on the Food Network. My favorite was the one for Sandra Lee from Semi-Homemade. If you’ve seen her show, you probably formed the same impression of her that I did. This woman is thin and blonde with breasts and personality both extremely perky. She seems like someone who’s lived a charmed life, spending her days throwing parties and entertaining, with no worry greater than the color of the napkin rings on her ‘tablescape.’

Her reality, though, was so different. Her teenaged mother was absent for most of her early years then appeared, married and depressed, in time for Sandra to act as mother to her siblings and step-siblings. Her adult life has been full of passion, sacrifice and complete dedication to her goals. I went from dismissing her to admiring her, simply by listening to her story.

And I think this is the norm rather than the exception. Though assumptions and stereotypes can help us navigate the world, people are never as flat as our brains would have us believe.

Which brings me to the challenge.

Yesterday, Angela was asking people what they do when they’re in a creative rut. My thoughts immediately turned to Keri Smith’s Wish Jar blog. It’s always full of ideas to awaken your creativity, among them challenges in the style of Learning to Love You More. And Sandra Lee’s story inspired me to come up with an LTLYM-style challenge of my own.

The challenge: Connect with someone you don’t know well (acquaintance, coworker stranger, etc.). Set aside preconceptions. Ask about their childhood, their hometown, their years in the military, whatever. Draw, paint, sculpt, sing, dance or craft whatever surprised you most, then come back here and share it with us. I think you’ll be amazed at the creativity that flows from the simple joy of human connection.

And have a joyful day!

Update: Serendipity strikes again.  If for some reason you can’t get out and make your own connections today, check out Common Ties.   Via Awesome!