Crafting for a Cause: Supporting #VenturaStrong

By Lyza Fontana

This week in Ventura, California (north of Los Angeles), fires have been spreading and affecting the serene little beach town. Nicole Stevenson, maker and co-founder of the Craftcation Conference and Dear Handmade Life, quickly launched into action to support relief efforts with her craftiness.

 #VenturaStrong enamel pin $10 (click image to visit website)

#VenturaStrong enamel pin $10 (click image to visit website)

 #VenturaLove enamel pin $10 (click image to visit website)

#VenturaLove enamel pin $10 (click image to visit website)

Within days of the initial fire outbreak, Nicole reached out to her Craftcation network for recommendations for pin manufacturers, and created two designs for enamel pins with 100% of the profits going to support the relief efforts. In their first 48 hours they raised $6000, and they have currently sold 900 pins!

The designs for the pins are a delightful celebration Ventura's beachy vibe – the two designs are: #VenturaLove and #VenturaStrong.

When Crafters Unite

Craftcation has held it's annual makers conference for the last few years in Ventura, where crafters come to share their love of creativity. It is heartwarming and inspiring to see these crafters pull together so quickly to support their tight-knit community - offering supplies, temporary housing and encouragement. 

As a creativity coach, I’ve heard from many creatives who seek to discover how to use their creativity for support in times of need, yet aren’t sure how. Nicole’s story is a great example of one approach. (Thanks, Nicole!)

Nicole's Inspiration

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"I was in the heart of the devastation of the Northern California wildfires this year. I’d never experienced anything like the constant state of fear and uncertainty of being in the middle of a natural disaster. I felt powerless as I watched my town burn. Then my friend Angie (who is also one of our Dear Handmade Life staff members) lost her house and all of their possessions. I knew that I had to find a way to help. 

Running my own business means working 70+ hours a week, I didn’t think I could make time to help, yet when it hit so close to home, I somehow found the time. I ended up raising over $10,000 for Angie and her family to begin rebuilding their lives.

This week when the wildfires ravaged Ventura, my home-away-from-home and the site of Craftcation, the conference I produce with my aunt and business partner Delilah, I knew that once again I needed to find the time to help. At the suggestion of our friend, Elizabeth, who works for one of our Craftcation Conference sponsors (Dharma Trading Co.), I got to work designing enamel pins to benefit the victims of the Ventura fires.

From the time Elizabeth and I began brainstorming ideas to the moment that the pins were up on our website and ready to order, less than 48 hours had passed. I have no idea how I worked so fast except that I fueled by my need to help.

In the first 48 hours after the pin fundraiser went live, we sold over 600 pins! I hoped the fundraiser would go well, but it has already far exceeded my wildest expectations.

One of our Craftcation attendees reached out and connected me with a local Ventura non-profit who is going to distribute the funds to those who are the most in need." - Nicole Stevenson

Ways you can help:

To purchase the enamel pins to support Ventura (100% profits go straight to relief!), to share their story on Facebook, and learn more about Craftcation or Dear Handmade Life, visit:

P.S. Do you know someone else who’s using their creativity for a good cause? Reach out here to share their story with me! And, to receive email updates and exclusive blog posts, join the CreativeHowTo mailing list here.

In joy and creativity, 

Lyza