About

What is my ultimate dream job? If I could do anything (work-wise) in the world, what would it be? Can I earn a living (or at least some extra cash) by making the most of my unique talents?

These are the kinds of questions many people ask themselves when taking the plunge to start a DIY business. There’s no hard-and-fast definition of what DIY business is. The movement includes millions of people, from handbag designers to poster artisans, recording engineers, Internet innovators, garden designers, and cupcake connoisseurs.

Being a DIY entrepreneur means different things to different people, but there are several common threads banding us together: creativity, passion, independence, and community awareness.

Hatched in the summer of 2010, the DIY Business Association is growing exactly as it should—DIY-style. The initial steps include assembling a diverse board of advisers, publishing a blog, setting up social networks, and connecting with the community that will shape the mission. The options are endless for the future of this community—an annual conference, local workshops, and multimedia programming are all possibilities.

So, as you can see, the DIY Business Association is a work in progress. The ultimate goal is to understand DIY businesses like no other organization. Help us help you.

Founder

Amy Schroeder founded Venus Zine and venuszine.com in her Michigan State University dorm room at age 19. After about a decade of growing the publication from a cut-and-paste fanzine into an internationally circulated magazine with a starting budget of zero, she sold the company to a new publisher and moved to New York. For her first year and a half in New York, she worked for inkpop.com and Girl Scouts of the USA. She now works full time for the DIY Business Association, organizing conferences and consulting with creatives to grow their businesses. Schroeder speaks about empowering entrepreneurs and freelancers, and occasionally writes for publications such as the New York Observer, Nylon, and Time Out.

Board of Advisers

• Sue Daly is co-founder and proprietor of the Renegade Craft Fair, a large-scale event featuring hundreds of independent DIY craft, art, and design artisans held in multiple cities around the U.S.  She also owns a small boutique in Chicago, Renegade Handmade, that carries the work of many of the artists who participate in the fairs. Daly got her inspiration to start the fairs as a crafter herself (under the name Timber!). She was looking to join arts and crafts fairs in her hometown of Chicago in 2003, but couldn’t find a marketplace that welcomed the contemporary craft movement that was so prevalent online. So, in true DIY spirit, she started her own. The store was opened a few years later, offering a place where people could sell and shop handmade anytime. When she’s not thinking of other cities to add to the Renegade Craft Fair tour or finding new artists to carry in the store, Daly likes to hang out with her husband, Mat Daly, travel, be outside, and make new things.

• Mauricio Garcia is the Fellowship Program Manager at The Financial Clinic, an organization focused on building the financial security of working poor families and individuals. A native Detroiter and corporate convert, he has been involved in the New York nonprofit community for more than five years, providing program development, grants administration, and financial-management services for the likes of Business Outreach Center Network, LISC, and The Financial Clinic. When not do-gooding, Garcia revels in eating and writing about fish tacos, talking Detroit, and trying to be like Mike on the basketball court.

Jenny Hart is the founder of Sublime Stitching, an embroidery design company she launched in Austin, Texas, in 2001. Hart is an internationally published artist, designer, and award-winning author of multiple titles for Chronicle Books (San Francisco), including 2010’s Embroidered Effects. She loves embroidery, naps, and travel. And embroidery.

Samara Kaufman is a nonprofit strategist, innovation junkie, idea generator, and change maker. She is currently the Business Process Improvement Manager at Girl Scouts of the USA. She has been working in the social sector for more than 12 years to help organizations like Big Brothers Big Sisters, Jumpstart, and the Girl Scouts grow, thrive, and innovate. She loves to be with her almost-husband Brian in the great outdoors (and indoors, too!) and drown herself in art and live music. Samara always has something creative up her sleeve, so stay tuned.

Dixie Laite, the Senior Editorial Director for MTV Networks’ TeenNick, has been working in (and watching way too much) television for over 20 years. Laite has put the “broad” in broadcasting for a host of TV and Web brands, including PBS, Oxygen, Oprah, AMC, WE, the MacNeil/Lehrer NewsHour, and Nickelodeon’s digital channels for teens and preschoolers. She works with producers, marketers, and writers on branding, scripts, promo copy, and the occasional song. (Laite created, and wrote most of the songs for, popular animated hosts Moose A. Moose and Zee.) In addition to her television work, Laite has also been (among other things) an elementary school teacher, an advice columnist, a Web Evangelist (sounds quaint now, huh?) and a freelance writer for various TV networks, Web sites, newspapers, and magazines. Laite is also a recognized authority on retro femorabilia and is often the go-to girl for vintage vixenry. She has written articles on classic cinema, retro style, old-school sex appeal, and new-school relationships. She has been profiled in New York Magazine, the New York Post, Atomic, Bust, and Apartment Therapy. Passionate about the personal and social benefits to living life with a “broad perspective,” Laite is working on a blog and book about The Lost Art of Being a Dame. But mostly she spends her time flea marketing and hanging out with her dogs, parrots, and husband. Laite also works as an editorial and social media marketing consultant, and is known to eat more pancakes than is humanly possible. (She’s no slouch in the pie department either.)

Ilya Perchikovsky is a design ethnographer and user-centered design evangelist. He advises organizations on creating strategies, products, and services from an understanding of the experiences and aspirations of real people. Perchikovsky is passionate about the DIY movement because, in addition to being really fun, it offers a vision of how individuals can address the problems of conspicuous consumption and environmental/resource scarcity. His DIY practice started in Moscow in the 1980s, where he made toy soldiers from acorns and toothpicks. He shares his thoughts and observations on life, design, culture, and ethnography at ethnomadic.com.

Laura Strom is an independent freelance art director based in Brooklyn, New York. Laura got her start at The Chicago Reader and Venus Zine before working for Time Out New York, where she art directed photo shoots, conceived covers, and collaborated in the overall redesign of the magazine. Strom’s recent projects include assisting in the implementation of the full-scale redesign of Latina magazine, which was recognized by the Society of Publication designers in 2009. She also has developed marketing materials for Travel + Leisure and Saveur, page design for Elle Decor, and packaging, album art, and environmental signage for clients engaged in arts and culture.

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  1. What is the best laptop for small businesses? « DIY Business Association - February 14, 2011

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