She’s got a hot pink glamour tree in her front window, heavy metal playing in the background, and she’s cutting out Christmas stocking for newborns at the local hospital. Christin Sorensen is a sweetheart patron saint to upstart artists, and a eyes-on-the-prize entrepreneurial go getter. Last March, she opened up Crafty Goodness in Lakewood, Ohio, and this weekend I dropped in to talk to her about her newest venture.
We sat down in the back of the store to talk – and as it turns out, only I sat down. Christin was on the move: finding scissors, stacking fabric, checking to see who was at the door. At first I thought this was because she was a little a little nervous or uncomfortable about being interviewed. As time went on, I realized this was not the case. The woman simply doesn’t sit still. Case in point, check out the chronology of events leading up to her store…
- October 2009 – Participated in a small craft show (her first. ever.)
- November 2009 – Launched “Crafty Goodness”, Christin’s show for edgy crafters
- November 2010 – Hosted “Crafty Goodness II”
- Early 2011 – Opened Crafty Goodness flagship store in Lakewood
Wait a second… She did one show, then she started her own show, then she opened her own shop. It would take a different kind of woman years to take even one of those steps!
So what kind of person is Christin?
“Apparently, one who moves very quickly” she says. “I don’t like to wait around… I mean, yes, you need to plan. You just have to be realistic and see if it is something you can feasibly do, and if it is, you have to go for it. If you plan and plan and plan, I don’t know if things ever get done. You just need to be a doer. That’s the only way things happen.”
Before you get a picture of Christin that she’s a trail blazin’, taking no names kinda chick, I need to share something else I’ve noticed about her. She really likes people. Her store is filled with work from artists and crafters she’s met on her journey, and she acts like a mom and a teacher and a mentor to lots of the vendors in her store. She has a determination to see local artists have a place to show their wares. This extends to moms who are sewing at their dining room tables between meals, college kids who are just testing the waters of their creativity, and the occasional senior citizen who is a beast with polymer clay.
More than a Store
Since people are important to Christin, community obviously is too. This gets to the heart of two of the other ventures she’s led as a shopkeeper: Crafting for a Cause and See. Shop. Learn.
- Crafting for a Cause
Every month, Christin has collaborated with a local non-profit and local artists/ crafters/ regular-people-who-want-to-make-things to create items that are later donated or sold to benefit the non-profit. While I was in the store, several women stopped by to pick up stacks of cut patterns that they would take home to sew as gifts for Metro Health newborns. Earlier in the year, Crafty Goodness did a benefit for a women’s shelter, women diagnosed with cancer and an animal rescue. She’s come up with a way to contribute to her community, and to build community at the same time. I love it!
- See. Shop. Learn.
The idea that Crafty Goodness would not only be a store, but a gallery and a working studio space has been woven into its concept since the beginning. A variety of artists and makers come into the store and host “make and take” nights for groups of friends, girls scouts, birthday parties, etc. This is a highlight, says Christin, especially when her patrons are kids. “Some of the moms get alarmed (when kids are starting to paint their hands) but you have to let kids express themselves. I love that they’re not shy about their ideas.” Besides, moms, Christin is there to clean up the mess! Paint on!
Before I left Crafty Goodness and headed home, I had to ask Christin what she would say to other dreamers, schemers and makers who would like to take their passion to the next level. Her thoughts:
- “Do things as affordably as possible. Even if the idea is perfect, don’t run out and get in over your head for it. If you don’t have the capital, don’t do it right now. You don’t need a lot of money to get started… My store is eclectic. I don’t have a lot of fancy fixtures, and I really try to keep it affordable.
- Once you realize “I can do this”, you need to know that it’s something you enjoy. You have to be passionate about it – you’re doing whatever the idea is because you want to have fun, branch out, not do the 9-5 – so make sure you are having fun.
- Then just do it.”
If you’d like to check out Crafty Goodness, and meet Christin yourself, she’s at 15621 Madison Avenue in Lakewood, Ohio every day except Sundays and Mondays, starting at noon.