By Alicia DiRago, Guest Blogger
Hi! I’m Alicia DiRago, founder of Whimseybox, and we help people Stop Pinning + Start Making*! When I learned about the cre8time movement at the Summer CHA Show a few weeks ago I instantly realized that we were talking about the exact same thing. Here’s why I’m passionate about helping people discover the DIY and craft:
I grew up in a really crafty household- the kind with a designated craft table, a sewing room and parents who made everything themselves from the deck to the decor. Throughout childhood I remember constantly making things myself too, at least up until I left for college. Then I majored in chemical engineering and almost instantly saw my time and energy left for creative pursuits disappear. After graduation I worked as a chemical engineer for about 8 years, and had some great experiences. The best part of the job was traveling around the country and seeing first-hand how things are made. It was great because I learned how everything from light bulbs to pharmaceuticals to dog food to tires are created. It was like living inside the show How It’s Made, except louder and while wearing tons of safety equipment!
When you watch the process first-hand, it takes the mystery away. I know that if I want to make a light bulb I can do it. I’d need some equipment and a little time, but I’m confident that I can figure out how to make pretty much anything. It’s just one step at a time. That is incredibly empowering, but unfortunately not many people feel the same way. Does it matter- are they really missing out? I think so. I often say that exercising myself creatively is just as important as exercising myself physically, and when I don’t do it I suffer. (Visiting factories was the worst part of that job as well, because all the travel and the 24/7 nature of manufacturing left me with little time to do any making of my own. I suffered.)
Fortunately fate stepped in and relocated my husband’s work (and therefore us!) to another state. I left my engineering job with every intention of getting a similar position in our new city, but I just couldn’t bring myself to write the cover letter asking for a job I didn’t want. Instead I started to teach DIY craft classes in local bars and restaurants, and then I started to blog as well. (Mostly to support the resume leap from engineer to craft instructor!) I named the blog and business Dismount Creative, which is a really clunky name with good intentions. The idea was to create a place for people to step outside of their normal, busy lives (aka dismount, a word I liked because I was once a gymnast) and enjoy the experience of making something. In the last two years I’ve taught everything from small classes to large events with hundreds of people and watched time and again how the making things delights the human spirit. (Even, in fact especially, the self-declared ‘not creative’ ones.)
It’s the desire to reach even more people and share my love of DIY and craft that led me to start Whimseybox late last year. We ship a monthly box of craft products directly to your doorstep to make it as fun and easy as possible to embrace your creativity. We also create and share inspirational and educational content online and will soon be rolling out some exciting new features. The last few months have been a wild ride as we grow rapidly to try and meet the demand, add team members and even move to Chicago for the summer to learn from the great business mentors at Excelerate Labs. It’s a non-stop learning experience and we’ve only just begun, but what motivates us is knowing that every time we figure out a new way to do our job better we help more people experience the joy of making. That’s cre8time.
*PS- We don’t have anything against Pinterest. We love it, actually! It’s just that sometimes we love it too much.
Become an official CHA Blog Guest Blogger!
The CHA Blog is currently seeking guest bloggers and blog posts. Any CHA member can submit a post! Basically, a blog post consists of either a video or photo of an event or experience and a short blurb. We want you to tell your story: what current trends do we need to know about? What is the one thing you look forward to the most at CHA shows? What crafty community service project are you involved with? If you’re interested, please submit your post idea, blog post, name and contact information to firstname.lastname@example.org.
All guest blog posts are the sole responsibility of the authors. They do not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of the Craft & Hobby Association (CHA), its staff members, sponsors or exhibitors. The inclusion of a link or reference does not imply the endorsement of the linked site by the Craft & Hobby Association (CHA).