Business of Craft Season 5 Episode 6 Creativity and Wonder with Jennifer Keltner

Business of Craft Season 5 Episode 6 Jennifer Keltner


Welcome to Business of Craft, a show designed to help entrepreneurs with fabric or fiber businesses become more successful. Our guests share best practices and teach effective marketing skills, that help crafty business owners learn to grow and scale. Let’s start crafting a better business together!

My guest today Jennifer Keltner has been a maker of things from a very early age. Her first truly independent crafting involved melting crayons in an Easy-Bake Oven. She’s passionate about all things fabric, quilting, embroidering, and sewing—always trying to squeeze a little “making” into every day.  As President and Chief Visionary Officer for Martingale, Jennifer leads an employee-owned company with 45 years of book publishing history, now producing 36+ new titles per year. 

Listen to the Show:

Listen to it on Spotify, iHeartRadio, iTunes, Stitcher, or Google Podcasts.

Thank you for taking the time to listen! If you’re enjoying the show, it’s safe to assume there are others out there like you who would also enjoy the show. Help them find it. Click here to rate and review the show on iTunes.

[6:15] Jenn, as creative people, our passion for making things is really the reason most of us got into the craft industry. And you were telling me about what a privilege that is for those of us who get to wake up every day and work in an industry that caters to other people’s free time. I totally agree with you but I’d love to hear more about why you see it that way?  

[8:30] One of the things you sent me that I thought was really intriguing is the idea that one of the routes to creativity is actually boredom. Ugh, that’s so depressing when I think about kids today–well and adults too– and how their devices really keep them from being bored. What does that mean for our ability to be creative? 

[12:05]And it seems that in the workplace, being creative is such a valuable skill. You can teach someone to do a skill but it’s harder to teach how to be curious and know how to think in a unconventional way. How do you advise business owners to screen for that when they’re hiring? 

[15:45] I see how very quickly, business owners can go from having the love of craft being the driving force of their entrepreneurial endeavors to feeling like they are drowning in the tediousness of owning a creative business. How can they tap back into that source and drink from the well of inspiration again? 

[22:20] When we were emailing I was really intrigued by something you said which was that we can train ourselves to tap into the beauty of ordinary things. Can you say more about that?  

[29:00] I’ve also tried a gratitude journal and taking the time to think about the things you appreciated in the day or things you noticed. I know some people do like an art journal and they include sketches or sentiments. Have you tried that technique to keep your creative juices flowing? 

[34:45] The other topic I want to explore further with you is wonder…I am a naturally curious person so I feel like I wonder to the point of being annoying, but let’s start with how you think about wonder? 

[36:40] Socrates wrote, “Wonder is the beginning of wisdom.” How does wonder make us wiser? 

[39:02] As leaders in our businesses we want to model the kind of behavior we want to see in our teams. So, if wonder is one of those characteristics, what can we do as leaders to share that spirit of wonder with others? 

[47:15] So, I’m curious about the trends in book publishing. What are you seeing as the future for readers in the creative business space? 

Key Takeaways:

  • Just remember to have that beginner mindset. Whether it’s when you smell that box of new crayons or you’re trying to be present in the moment, try to reclaim a sense of wonder with beginner mindset.
  • Intention intention intention: when it comes to your creativity and making time for passion. be intentional about what you want there.
  • Don’t forget that some of your customers might not know how to do the basics and don’t skip over it. Also try to encourage them before fear sets in and they doubt themselves.
  • Two ideas to involve your staff: 1) encourage them to take a class in something they don’t know how to do. 2) Project 48 – give them time in the day to be working on a project they can’t work on at home and only for an hour a week.
  • Think of creativity as a muscle, something that needs to be exercised consistently. When was the last time you did something for the first time? When was the last time you learned something new? When was the last time you worked on something for yourself that you always wanted to do?


Connect with Jennifer: Martingale | Facebook | Instagram | Pinterest | YouTube