Knoxville Makers Use KnoxCrafts to Market Maker City Businesses

Carol Z Shane

As is often the case with successful businesses of all types, the two women who run KnoxCrafts – which brings craftspeople and fans together for on-site workshops in a variety of local locations – have a good synergy.

Taylor Bento, which markets its eco-friendly and sustainable handmade bags as Bags by Bento, has a background in corporate finance. She is well versed in a financial spreadsheet and is an expert in online marketing.

Macrame Momma’s Victoria Walsh found her calling in the gnarly arts during a college internship, providing art therapy to patients in mental hospitals. She is people-oriented, with a rich history of teaching workshops and community events like the 400-volunteer Yellow Ribbon Project she led in support of veterans in her hometown of Orlando, Florida. Florida.

Taylor Bento and Victoria Walsh, pictured on Tuesday, June 7, 2022, lead KnoxCrafts, which brings craftspeople and fans together for on-site workshops at a variety of local venues.

Together they run an agency where makers, small businesses and craft enthusiasts all benefit.

“I think a lot of people are looking for community, especially after COVID,” Bento says. “It’s still there, but people are starting to come out again. And many are looking for creative outlets.

KnoxCrafts’ unique offering of people + places + projects began when the two women met after they had both “dived headfirst into the Maker community,” says Bento.

The city of creators:Knoxville Named #2 in the U.S. for Crafters, and Makers Say It’s a Boost

“I was teaching workshops in Orlando,” says Walsh. “I moved to Knoxville, started teaching at the Trailhead Beer Market, and made a lot of friends. Taylor and I met at Maker City Summit last year. We noticed that there were a lot of good creators, but maybe they weren’t good at marketing. We are trying to fill this gap.

When the two held a series of cooperative crafting events, the fire was lit. “We did a few crochet circles at a local brewery and it was a lot of fun,” says Bento. “The more we did, the more we realized we could help our friends and see their work better.”

And how are you ? “We have already sold all the workshops we have done so far. We are ramping up very quickly. »

Broom making, macrame and crochet are among the many workshop topics offered by KnoxCrafts, which brings crafters and fans together for on-site workshops at a variety of local venues.

The two women take care of all the details needed to set up a craft workshop in a small local business: choosing the location, working with the artist who will lead the workshop, setting a time and of a date, management of rental fees and ticketing, choice of a package to offer to participants.

Walsh says, “We have our artists ride bikes around our various locations — it also gives them the opportunity to experience a place they’ve never been before. We’ve added one event per month and one venue per month and we have more artists we hear about all the time. Small business communities, small business artists – we connect the dots for it.

Got a big idea? :Knoxville Entrepreneur Center is here to help | Chris McAdoo

Pictures:These local entrepreneurs are ‘Made for Knoxville’

They also organize corporate events, having recently completed a macrame plant hanging workshop with Asen Marketing & Advertising Agency. “It really provides a really nice environment for teams to socialize that you don’t get in a cubicle,” Bento says. Both women say the workshops are filled not only with new learning, but also with laughter and fun, creating fond memories that strengthen friendships in the office.

The two give a big thumbs up to Maker City and the Knoxville Entrepreneur Center (KEC) Co.Starters, a 10-week business program that helps aspiring entrepreneurs put their ideas into action. Bento says, “We’re on track to make sure the artist benefits, but we’re also able to keep the business going.”

Taylor Bento, left, and Victoria Walsh, right, share a laugh in their studio on Tuesday, June 7, 2022. Bento and Walsh run KnoxCrafts, which brings together crafters and fans for on-site workshops at a variety of local locations.

And, of course, it helps that the two founders of KnoxCrafts hit it off right from the start.

“I really love Taylor and my relationship,” Walsh says. “It’s yin and yang; she’s very business oriented and it’s great to have a business partner who can play devil’s advocate. Deep down, we just want to make crafty friends. We both have two kids — these workshops are a way to get out and meet people and form our own tribe. The people attending the classes seem to have the same intention and it snowballs from there. You can’t go wrong finding someone to share a hobby with.

Visit knoxcrafts.co and instagram.com/knoxcrafts.

The Maker City is the largest community of makers, artists, creatives, small makers, and supporting entities in the Knoxville area. Under the leadership of the Mayor’s Maker Council, we facilitate partnerships, programming and collaborative opportunities with the goal of creating a sustainable creative community. For more information, visit us at http://themakercity.org/.

Comments are closed.