March 23-25, 2021

Join us March 23-25 for another round of free craft industry sessions – with a focus on digital engagement and creating new opportunities, these sessions are specifically tailored to help craftspeople gain a well-rounded depth of knowledge to help them move forward into the coming seasons with confidence.


Digital education seminars are the focal point of the Makers Forum. The following topics and speakers will be featured during March 23-25. Pre-registration will be required via Zoom for each seminar.

Tuesday, March 23

9:30 AM
Ellen Bragalone – Museum and Artists: a Working Partnership Best Practice Strategies for Manufacturers and Museums

Ellen Bragalone from the Museum of Fine Art Boston will present best practices on working with museums to develop products that will work best in their shops, including:

  • How to connect with museum retailers, details of product development, the development process, pricing, and various factors that inform buying decisions at museums.
  • How to sell to museums and important product highlights.  We will also touch on the various ways to get in front of museum retailers and some alternative venues through which they do product research
  • Highlight how to standout in the store and to make it easy for the retailer to properly merchandise your products.
11:00 AM
Terri Ryback – Recapturing and maintaining your buying audience

Terri Ryback, Product Buyer from the Salem Witch Museum, will address the uncertainly that has impacted non-essential retail in the past year. Terri found herself asking questions like: where do we go from here? How do we adapt to the ever-changing structure as we once knew it? How do we captivate our audience? What does buying from our vendors look like?

She will share her evolving strategy on engaging her customer by providing them with product choices that will compliment their museum experience.

Branding and custom product has become more important than ever. Retailers have limitations on the amount of time visitors can spend in their space, so they must capture their attention and give them quality choices.

Terri will seek to empower individuals, business owners, buyers and artists that have been, or may still be, faced with any and all challenges and difficulties due to the ongoing pandemic.

1:00 PM
Carolyn Edlund – How Artists Can Increase Income Streams and Enter New Markets

This talk will cover a variety of avenues artists can explore to reach new audiences, including online wholesale portals, art licensing, personal e-commerce and third-party online retail, social media sales, virtual retail events, and digital art & blockchain.

With a background as a self-employed artist and art business writer and consultant, Carolyn Edlund brings 35 years of experience in the industry to her work with creative entrepreneurs. She is the founder of the top ten blog “Artsy Shark” and has authored eight courses on art marketing, pricing, sales strategies and other topics. Carolyn has presented more than 60 live art business workshops throughout the U.S. and abroad and has an active private consulting practice.

2:30 PM
Alison Knott – 8 Step Traffic Growth Approach: leverage what you’ve already created to turn eyeballs into leads

Want to attract prospects who are already thinking about your products? Wondering how SEO, social media and newsletters work together to bring sales? In this seminar, you’ll will leave with:

  • A strategy to nurture captured leads into viable clients and customers. Lead generation doesn’t stop at the signup, after all…
  • Complete workflow: from content to setup to promotion. No need to start from scratch.
  • Tips, tricks, and treats to help generate new content ideas

Wednesday, March 24

11:00 AM
Savvy Simon – The Real Secret to Your Success

Amidst the constant effort for product development, making, marketing, and generating sales, there is an essential aspect of your business that falls down the priority list for many of us: You! Savvy Simon is a Mi’kmaq entrepreneur, motivational speaker and self-care expert who will guide you through some strategies to cut through the noise and stay mentally healthy and energized.

A stimulating presentation that will leave you feeling motivated and moving forward with a new bag of tricks to tackle obstacles in 2021.

1:00 PM
Identifying Resources & Opportunities for the Craft Sector

Join three sector support organizations (ACOA, CBDC, Global Affairs Canada, Women in Business NB, and Centre for Women in Business Nova Scotia) in this overview of the opportunities for business development support and exporting for craftspeople. Find out who you can reach out to for advice and to get connected to resources to help grow your business within each organization.

2:30 PM
Craft Sector Funding

Each provincial government has dedicated funding resources to offer the craft sector for business development, digital strategy (website building, SEO, marketing, etc.), hiring talent, creation and more. Representatives from each province’s cultural (or equivalent) department and arts funding organizations will offer an overview of their relevant programs for craftspeople.

Thursday, March 25

9:30 AM
Duane Jones – Building an Art-led Business

In this talk, Duane Jones (Art Pays Me) will discuss how he developed his own platforms, including the successful Art Pays Me podcast, in response to being positioned as an outsider in the creative industry due to his race, culture and personality. Duane will share his journey and explain how he prioritizes diversity, inclusion and honesty in his business, even at the cost of potential revenue.

11:00 AM
Mary Jane Copps – Rules of Engagement

The foundation of all business and revenue growth is … conversation! Join Mary Jane Copps to: learn invaluable insights into a buyer’s journey to “yes”; ways to create memorable experiences virtually, on the phone and in person: and essential skills to find your “voice” – your ability to inspire conversations that build relationships and increase sales.

1:00 PM – 3:00 PM
Panel Talk – Online Platforms

The shift to online platforms for selling was accelerated in 2020, with the wholesale gift industry witnessing a continued increase in digital spaces to distribute and discover products, whether through temporary virtual shows or static ordering platforms available year-round.

Nova Scotia Business Inc. will present their guide to virtual trade events in the first part of this session, followed by a panel of industry members will discuss their experiences and insights into selling in the digital sphere in this two-part discussion, on virtual shows and platforms (Ex: NY NOW Digital Market, Faire, Brandwise, Craft East Virtual Marketplace).


Ellen Bragalone

Ellen Bragalone is the Director of Retail at the Museum of Fine Arts Boston where she coordinates the multiple layers of the museum’s retail business. She provides direction for the product assortment and development process with the buying team to create three unique stores that align with the museum’s brand. Focus has been placed on product development derived from the collection, opening new marketing opportunities for creating new store concepts and increasing sales. With product development as a strength, she has created assortments based on the encyclopaedic collection as well as over 30 unique exhibition shops. As a retail professional, Ellen has worked in the for-profit sector at Jordan Marsh Co., Talbots and Town and Country Fine Jewelry before joining the Museum of Fine Arts Boston. Ellen is a graduate of Stonehill College

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.

Carolyn Edlund

Carolyn is the founder of a top ten art business blog publishing artist portfolio features and articles on art marketing, sales and business topics. In that role, she works closely with artists as a business consultant, and has written eight e-courses on art business strategies. As the Sales and Events Director for The Clark Hulings Fund for Visual Artists, Carolyn works with a dynamic team dedicated to helping artists build strong, sustainable businesses. This includes presenting live art-business conferences, maintaining an online learning portal for working artists, and an intensive business accelerator program.

Duane Jones

Art Pays Me is a lifestyle brand and podcast founded in Halifax, Nova Scotia by Duane Jones in 2011. Duane is an Artist and Designer who moved to Halifax from Bermuda in 2000 to attend the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design. After graduating, he started a family and decided to plant roots in Canada. Duane’s motivation to start the brand came from years of frustration over the way that creative people are viewed in business settings. His mission is to motivate people to embrace their creative strengths to achieve financial and creative independence.

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.

Terri Ryback

Savvy Simon

Savvy Simon is an accomplished Mi’kmaq educator, entrepreneur, activist, mentor and entertainer who was named a Top 40 Female Change Maker in Canada. With a degree in Business Marketing, she did what most people do and began working as a public servant only to find out that the call to follow her passion was stronger than her day-to-day work. She stepped out of her comfort zone and decided to finally believe in her own passions and create her own company; Savvy UnLtd– ‘unlimited love to give’. She has been a TedX Speaker, WE Day Speaker, and now a Podcaster (Shift The Vibe); through these channels, Savvy leads her followers to reach their greatest potential. Savvy’s approach to sharing positive vibes in a real and authentic way has gained a following of over 45,000. Her love for life and bountiful energy captivates her audience and leaves them energized and motivated.