February 16-17, 2021

The Craft East Digital Retail Forum provides an opportunity for retailers to network digitally, share their experiences, and access new information that will help guide them in the year to come. Over two days of webinars, a variety of topics will be covered, including:

  • Industry trends
  • Tourism
  • Pivoting retail operations
  • Re-thinking your approach to entrepreneurship

Through this, we hope to provide the retail community with the tools needed to plan for a successful year of retail operations.

Enter for your chance to win a $250 wholesale order

As part of this Craft East Retail Forum, we are offering an incentive to buy from one of the 50+ producers on the Craft East Virtual Marketplace. For each order you place from a vendor by end of day Feb 17, 2021, your shop is entered in a draw for a $250 wholesale order.


Digital education seminars are the focal point of the Retail Forum. The following topics and speakers will be featured during February 16-17. Pre-registration will be required via Zoom for each seminar.

Tuesday, February 16

9:30 AM
Keynote with Retail Consultant Wendy Batten: The ROI of thinking like a creative CEO!

In this session Wendy Batten will be covering WHY it’s profitable for retailers to shift their mindset from just “creatives running a retail business” to creative CEO’s running creative retail businesses. She will not only share the WHY, but share implementable how-to strategies and examples of good habits that successful retailers possess and how it will affect their bottom line and get them where they want to go this year!

11:00 AM
5 Ways to Improve Your Web Presence presented by Alison Knott – Alison K Consulting

This session is jargon-free and filled with free and low-cost tips to help get your online presence in order. By the end, you’ll have a clear understanding of which tactics are best for your business and how to take immediate action. In this session, Alison K will review the following tactics:

  • Google My Business
  • Google Analytics
  • Newsletters
  • UTM Parameters
  • Website Auditing
1:00 PM
Consumer Mindset Trends on Travel in Atlantic Canada: Brainstorming Actionable Items for the Tourism & Retail Industry

Presented by MQO Research Consultants and followed by a discussion panel from industry members in Atlantic Canada. This session will present the key findings from a recent report exploring the impact of COVID-19 on tourism to Atlantic Canada, as well as regional travel within the region. A panel discussion will follow, exploring what this means for craft retailers and how we can use the findings guide us moving forward in seeking new opportunities.

2:30 PM
Where is Retail Going? Moving Forward in Uncharted Territory – Retail and Product Trends with Wendy Diltz (Atlantic Trade Winds)

Retailers across North America have had to find new ways to sell during the pandemic, using a combination of e-commerce, emerging media, and new product trends to entice their audiences. How can you cater to your local consumer by offering them alternative buying options? Which buying trends are temporary, and which ones are bound to remain even after the world recovers? In this presentation, Wendy Diltz will share insights gained from surveying retailers across the Northeastern USA, sharing their success stories and lessons learned to help inform our approach to retail in 2021 and beyond.

Wednesday, February 17

9:30 AM
The 5 Part Marketing Framework for Retailers presented by Wendy Batten

Marketing is the engine that keeps our business going. It’s easy to get overwhelmed with all the things we feel we SHOULD be doing to get sales! Wendy has good news… it’s not about more social media, rather a full eco-system working together.

It’s about figuring out what will work best for OUR business. We don’t have to be everywhere all the time. Learning to attract new customers, engage and nurture them, serve and wow them. This all takes strategic planning – social media is just one of the tactics, not the whole plan! Wendy will share a simple framework for retailers to decide what’s best for them and their ideal customer!

11:00 AM
Creating Conversational Experiences with your Customers – Mary Jane Copps (The Phone Lady)

The key to powerful retail experiences, especially in terms of unique artisans products, is communication. Too often visitors/shoppers are left on their own to browse without the necessary conversation, education and enthusiasm to help them appreciate and enjoy the products, and help them make buying decisions. This session will aim to provide small retailers with a wide range of skills to create a memorable shopping experience for visitors, even during a pandemic! These skills will allow retailers to sell more product, increase referrals and support greater customer loyalty.

1:00 PM
Beyond Social Media: The realities of marketing online every business owner should know – presented by Alison Knott – Alison K Consulting

You’re ready to bring traffic, leads and sales to the online portion of your business. Or, you’ve been ‘promoting’ for a while but haven’t seen the results you wanted. In this session with Alison K, find out what marketing online is REALLY all about – ‘cus we’re not just talking about social media here, folks! Topics she’ll cover:

  • The importance of multi-channel marketing
  • What those channels are, and which are right for you
  • Examples of low cost/setup time ways to market your business online
2:30 PM
Atlantic Canada Craft Awards for Excellence

Join us as we celebrate the recipients of the 2021 Atlantic Canada Craft Awards for Excellence! Awards will be presented in the categories of:

  • Excellence in Product Design
  • Industry Leader/Supporter
  • Outstanding Retailer
  • Outstanding Exporter


Wendy Batten, Retail Coach and Mentor for Creatives
Simplifying Retail for Creatives!

Wendy Batten is a business coach for creative shop owners who prides herself on helping retailers uncomplicate and simplify their retail or creative business. Wendy, a creative-first herself, ran a thriving DIY Studio and retail business in Moncton NB for many years before franchising her business to devote her time to coaching retailers to find the business success they originally dreamed of. Wendy helps creatives go from being a creative running retail businesses to becoming the confident creative CEO running successful creative businesses. Wendy works with industry leaders, creatives and shop keepers all over the globe with her business courses, group coaching and consulting programs, all from her tiny crooked cottage by the sea in Blue Rocks, Nova Scotia where she lives with her photographer husband John.

Wendy Diltz, Atlantic Trade Winds

Wendy Diltz has been a professional International Trade and Marketing Consultant since 1988. She believes in maintaining a positive mindset, creating partnerships with a purpose, and always striving for significant outcomes. With Atlantic Trade Winds, she specializes in International Trade Project Management for the Atlantic Provinces with a focus on assisting artisans seeking to export into new areas. She has headed the U.S. buyer recruitment program for Craft East Buyers’ Expo (previously ACTS) for over twenty years. She remains well connected with gift and craft retail galleries across Atlantic Canada and New England, always scouring for connections for Atlantic Canadian artisans.

Mary Jane Copps, CEO, Telephone Talent Inc.

Mary Jane Copps has been writing her own pay cheque since 1985, first as a freelance journalist and then launching a North American marketing company in 1987. She embraced her alter ego – The Phone Lady – in 2006 and has worked with over 700 clients training over 14,000 individuals how to communicate more effectively and grow their income.

She has been profiled as a communications expert by the Wall Street Journal, National Post, The Globe & Mail, CBC, CTV, Global as well as other publications, television, and radio outlets throughout North America (including a very silly skit on This Hour Has 22 Minutes!). She is also the author of: The Phone Book: Essential Telephone Communication Skills, and writes a weekly blog on all things… phone!

In May 2016, Mary Jane was awarded the national BDC Mentorship Award through Futurpreneur Canada for her work with young entrepreneurs, helping them grow their businesses and maximize their impact on the economic growth of Atlantic Canada.

Leanne Sarson, VP & Director of Evaluation, MQO Research

MQO Research is a leading Atlantic Canadian Market Insights company, with headquarters in St. John’s, Halifax, Moncton and Charlottetown.

MQO Research were commissioned in 2020 to conduct an Atlantic Canada Tourism Study, the aim of which was to provide early insights into what will almost certainly be an evolving and enduring existential shift in the consumer mindset. This study will also contribute to the foundation for a go-forward plan to advance through a recovery phase.

Alison Knott, Alison K Consulting

Alison began her career in print design, but, ever curious and unstoppable, she found herself taking on marketing tasks for clients as well. The beauty of working for small teams is the variety of roles and skills you acquire. Through this, she felt the pull of web design and development, struck by how it brings people, opportunities and ideas together.

Today, Alison helps SMBs and NPOs turn their brands and websites into ROI machines. She also runs meetups, Facebook Live shows, speaks on stages internationally and mentors emerging female and non-binary designers.

When not elbows deep in the ‘biz, you can find her at home with her two annoying-but-too-cute-not-to-love-em parrots, PeeWee and Birdie.