We had the good fortune of connecting with Nicole Stevenson and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Nicole, where are your from? We’d love to hear about how your background has played a role in who you are today?
From a young age, I knew that the corporate world wasn’t for me. Nearly everyone in my family is independently employed and our family ethos of entrepreneurship and creativity was ingrained in me early. I’m not cut out to sit behind a desk under fluorescent lights just working for the weekend. Those types of jobs would always make me think about that scene in Joe vs. The Volcano where he’d finally had enough with his oppressive office job and launched into a big speech about how short life is. Like Joe, I knew that I didn’t want to sit at a desk, working for “the man”. I wanted to make a living doing something artful, purposeful and filled with passion. I’m Nicole Stevenson, writer, designer and CEO and Creative Director of Dear Handmade Life.
I can’t recall a time in my life when I wasn’t creating. I spent many childhood afternoons combating only-child boredom by scrawling poetry and drawings on the inside of my closet door where my mom couldn’t see my own private ‘art gallery’.
When I was nine, I DIYed my first ‘business cards’ with Mr. Sketch scented markers and Mrs. Grossman’s stickers for my first ‘business’: a handmade stationery shop housed in a refashioned refrigerator box in my front yard.
In fifth grade, I snuck into the teacher’s lounge to self-publish my first short story on the mimeograph machine.
In high school, my love of making continued when I almost got kicked out of my Catholic girls’ high school for submitting nude sketches for the student art show. (No regrets.)
Fast forward to a post-undergrad summer spent on the Venice Beach boardwalk hawking my paintings to tourists that led to nearly a decade designing prints and imagery for my clothing line in my twenties. I juggled running my clothing line, teaching art and crafts to hundreds of children and adults in my own brick and mortar workshop space and other schools while getting a master’s degree in English.
Creating has been not only been present but is the driving force in everything I’ve done over the course of my life.
Then in 2007, Dear Handmade Life began on a Southern California backyard patio over margaritas, first emerging as a tiny, holiday craft festival called Patchwork Show that my aunt and I put together. The show drew huge crowds and proved that a dose of creativity and community was just what the world needed.
Over the next decade, Patchwork Show evolved into a multi-city, biannual festival. In 2011, the Craftcation Conference was launched, giving small-business owners and creatives support and education through four magical days of craft, business and wellness workshops at the beach.
With the additions of a blog, podcast, online shop and workshops, as well as a thriving virtual community, the brand became Dear Handmade Life in 2013.
Today, I work alongside Team DHL a group of badass, creative women and together we curate events, education and community for creative misfits, passionate small-business owners and DIY devotees.

Alright, so for those in our community who might not be familiar with your business, can you tell us more?
Dear Handmade Life is more than a business, it’s a family of creatives that support and encourage each other. I’ve know some of our Patchwork Show vendors since they first started their business and were juggling weekends of craft shows and a 9to5 job – and when they’re finally able to take that leap and make their passion their full-time profession, I feel honored to have been a part of their journey.

Being my own boss for over two decades, means I’ve seen some lean times. 2020 almost took me down. But, we’ve rethought how we can serve our community of creatives and are bringing them Camp Dear Handmade Life this summer. Camp Dear Handmade Life is an at-home summer camp experience for creatives featuring a six-week goal-getting online course with custom-matched virtual accountability “cabins” for support and a 3-day virtual business, craft and wellness summit.

Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.

LUNCH: Sausages at Wurstkuche
AFTERNOON FUN: A puppet show for my one-year old son at Bob Baker Marionette Theater
DINNER: GenWa Korean BBQ
LATE NIGHT TREAT: Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams (The Savannah Buttermint is unbelievable)

*If I had a time machine, I’d pop into Babes & Ricky’s Inn in Leimert Park for the best blues and Sunday Supper of greens, fried chicken and cornbread, I miss that place! Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
Even when I dropped out of grad school to pursue a life in the arts, my parents were supportive. They taught me to work hard AND smart, celebrate my individuality and that the best way to spend a Sunday is BBQing in the backyard and floating on a raft in the pool.

Website: https://dearhandmadelife.com/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/dearhandmadelife/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/dearhandmadelif

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/dearhandmadelife

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