Braid Workshop Scholarship

I was recently talking with my good friend Dave about the struggles working artists face. I would describe my friend Dave as a catalyst and dot-connector and, aside from my sister, he is my very favorite person to talk shop with. He is philosophical and aspirational but also rooted in what’s real. He describes himself as a skeptic but I’ve found his worldview to be nothing short of inspiring and optimistic.  So we were recently chatting about “the starving artist” when he described a triangle of three components that make up the culture and a new kind of capitalism for working artists.


Creativity: This is the “genius” that moves through artists and compels them to write, draw, design, make music, take photos, craft jewelry, sew, dance, etc. Sure, artists can experience painful “creative blocks”, but this corner of the triangle is usually the most natural place for them to hang out.

Society: If we don’t have the courage to bring our art to society then we’re doing ourselves, and our community, a disservice. But it can be scary to put your neck out there – to show up and be seen.

Marketplace: The marketplace is the part most artists struggle with the most. This corner of the triangle is where you get paid for your work. The starving artist is a concept I’d like to put to rest already. Art is not only valuable – it’s an essential component to a thriving society.

This triangle got me thinking about what Tara and I have chosen as our higher purpose – the meaning behind our work – which is to help creative entrepreneurs live what they love. We do this through the lens of branding. But the “why” behind good branding is so these creatives could better share themselves and sell their work. Soon the “why” began to dominate our attention. We love good brand identities and brand stories but we also recognize that an authentic brand comes from the inside out and is so much more than a kickass logo. That’s when we started sharing 10-minute brand exercises, developing our Braid ECourses for creatives and now a workshop.

So our Braid Workshop is going to specifically address the two corners of this triangle that can feel scary, icky and overwhelming: sharing yourself to society (that’s what we call personal branding) and selling your work to the marketplace.

Braid Workshop Introduction from Braid Creative on Vimeo.

The International Arts Movement (IAM) has generously sponsored the Braid Workshop and is giving one creative entrepreneur the opportunity to attend for free. IAM is a non-profit arts organization that is dedicated to inspiring a global community to create work that is “rehumanizing” and re-imagines what the world “ought to be.” You can learn more about International Arts Movement here.

To apply for this scholarship simply comment answering these three questions: 
1. What is your art? (I use the word “art” loosely – this can apply to everything from writing to photography to graphic design to crafting to even something more service based like life coaching).
2. For you, what is the scariest part about sharing yourself? 
3. For you, what is the hardest part about selling your work? 
Be sure to include your email with your answers and confirm your availability to attend the workshop in OKC on May 4th, 2013. This scholarship is worth $500 and can only be redeemed as your workshop fee. This scholarship does not include the cost of travel or accommodations. Tara and I will review the answers and pick a scholarship attendee by next Friday, April 5th.


If you enter this contest and don’t win but still want to attend, I will honor early bird pricing of $425 for you through April 8th. After that the workshop price goes up to $500.

If any of you are interested in sponsoring a creative entrepreneur to attend the Braid Workshop contact me for details at 

  1. Hi Kathleen!
    Thank you so much for offering this scholarship competition. I love your efforts in helping creatives fine tune their offerings and their businesses.

    1. Painting/Illustrations and Design. I create original artworks, do a few freelance/commissions and design my own line of paper goods and giclee prints.
    2. The scariest part for me is…growth. On the surface, my work appears to have a pretty consistent aesthetic. And for the most part, this has been a conscientious effort in maintaining a brand image. But sometimes (and in the past) I want to play with new themes, new aesthetics or even…gasp! darker imagery…and these tangents aren’t often well received because they don’t follow my established aesthetic. So, for me, the scariest part of sharing my work is sharing my ever evolving growth without disconnecting from my past and without turning away established fans.
    3. The hardest part is simply finding my customer and connecting with them. Art is such a specific commodity. It is so hard pinpointing who that person is and just how to find them…and then convincing them to spend the money. =P

    Thank you again. I am available May 4th. I will be traveling from Texas.

    – Lisa Chow

  2. sza

    Hi Kathleen thank you so much for this opportunity!

    1. Professionally I’m a graphic designer and a photographer but I’m also a succulent gardener, a cat whisperer and a cloud watcher.

    2. The scariest part is feeling vulnerable and putting myself out there. See, I’m excited because I turned 40 last month and quit my full-time secure government (soul sucking) job to focus on my art and being a happy soul. So even though things are really good at the same time I find myself in workout clothes all day and piddling around instead of really focusing on the next step and moving forward. I’m stuck and I’m trying to figure out where do I start? How do I tie it all together? I’ve got some really great ideas cooking but I’m unsure how to get to the next step.

    3. For you, what is the hardest part about selling your work? I’ve always had the idea: either they like it or they don’t. But I realize that’s just a cop out and the truth is that I don’t really know how to explain the decisions I’ve made as a designer. It also just makes me super uncomfortable – selling my ideas/work/art etc … I want to jump this hurdle – please help!

    I am able to attend the workshop in OKC on May 4th, 2013.

  3. Hello Braid! This is exciting stuff, thanks for the scholarship opportunity.

    1. I’m a writer. I prefer novels right now, but I write everything from humor to noir, ad copy to blog posts to full length novels.

    2. The hardest part is always just putting the finished product out there because you know somewhere, somebody is going to hate it. No matter how hard you work, no matter how good you think it is, no matter how well you’ve taken and applied the critique, you can’t please everyone. And some of those people who aren’t pleased get MEAN and VOCAL.

    3. Indie/self pub is so new as a viable enterprise that I’m not sure there are any actual rules or even rules of thumb. Did that thing work or was it just lightning in a bottle? It makes even solid marketing thinking feel shaky, and that’s a hard place to live all the time.

    I am able to attend the workshop.
    Joshua Unruh

  4. Firstly, allow me to say that this workshop looks amazing. And secondly, I’m really excited for the opportunity to win a scholarship.

    1. I’m a ghostwriter and editor, as well as a blogger. I do freelance writing of all kinds, and most recently I’ve been working on a mystery novel series for a client who wants to donate the proceeds to charity. My goal is to support myself on writing alone.

    2. Writing, as cliché as it may seem, is bleeding on the page. The scariest part of sharing those pieces of myself is that it leaves me wide open for public scrutiny. Even the freelance work I do for others comes from a highly personal place. Writing is like falling in love. As you slowly reveal more and more of yourself, the deeper and more involved you become. And your audience will either accept you as you are or reject you, sometimes in the most painful ways.

    3. The hardest part of selling my work is finding the balance between having to tell a client no and spreading myself too thin. In the past, I have taken on too many projects at once, overwhelming myself. But the other side of the coin is that I’m not a millionaire, and I was raised to believe that you’re never too good to work. So it’s hard for me to turn down a job. I fear that the further I go in my career, the harder it will be on me and that I will never find that balance, and the more I will ignore my own projects in favor of those that pay immediately.

    I will be available to attend the workshop on May 4.

    -Marisa Mohi

  5. Helen

    1. I am a professional photographer and own a photography company with my wife. I run both a photography blog for our business and a personal blog for all sorts of projects that do not fall under the heading of strictly business. I also have a degree in creative writing and wrote a book of poetry as my thesis. I love experimenting with different art forms, but business-wise, I am a photographer.

    Until very recently, I did not consider myself an “artist.” I knew I was creative, certainly, but my mother is a former graphic designer and current art teacher and my sister is a painter and sculptor. Both of them are incredibly talented, and for most of my life, that is how I defined art. In the last several years, however, I have come to realize that art comes in many different forms and what I do is art as well.

    2. In the past several years of building our business, I have worked hard at developing our style and the type of work we are known for. As we have gotten busier, I have struggled to retain enough time for the pursuit of personal creative projects. I believe part of sustaining artistic passion is allowing ourselves to try new things and make art for ourselves, not just for paid clients, although that is also very obviously important. Since I love the work I do so much, I have a hard time not putting everything I have into building the business without leaving any behind for personal growth.

    My wife and I met when we were both theatre students in college, and although I ultimately pursued another course of study, I feel that my theatre background has greatly influenced my creative spirit. I have a love for “out-of-the-box” photography projects and am sometimes unsure how and when to mix that love with our more mainstream work.

    3. My biggest problem with selling my work is that I so often want to give everything away for free! I want people- both friends and clients- to have beautiful things and so am often tempted to do creative work for free or next to nothing. I certainly value my talent and time a great deal, but need to learn how to firmly value those things financially as well.

    Pricing-wise, our photography is consistently among the least expensive of those in our area because I want people to be able to afford professional photography. Although that is an idea I want to stick with, I also think it is important to learn how to balance our experience and creative talent with how we sell ourselves.

    Although we adore (nearly) all of our clients, I personally find that I go above and beyond for the clients that are working with us because we are US, not because of our prices. I want to learn how to advertise for and attract these clients as well as balancing financial needs and personal passion while selling my skill and time.


    Thank you SO incredibly much for the opportunity to apply for this scholarship. I am honored by the chance and thrilled by the possibility of attending the workshop! I am available on May 4th and would be traveling from Arkansas.

    I have built incredibly helpful relationships with many creative professionals in our area, but I thirst for more conversation about developing one’s passion into a thriving business.

    Helen Chase (photo) (blog)

  6. This is exciting!!! I would really really really really like to be a part of this workshop.

    1. My art. Well, it’s slightly confusing, which is why I’d love to be a part of this workshop. I was trained in architecture, so I love building/designing things. But I left that because I couldn’t get close enough to projects/clients to make myself excited and feel connected everyday. So I left and started my own business. I am a self-taught graphic designer, with a tiny branding/marketing business, and I can wrap building things into that. I have small, mostly creative clients and I really want to help them live better lives, more in tune with their brands, and sometimes build some cool installations for them. And I’d like to get bigger clients. I have this disconnect between working how I want to work and meeting the perceived needs of my clients. They sometimes think they need a website, yet really what they might need is a better solution to connect with their audience. But it is hard for me to explain that and it’s hard for them to grasp that and pay for that. I am good at what I do, and I’m just trying to find a way to present that authentically, and even get better at it.

    2. The scariest thing about sharing myself (and this is putting it to the test) is being really “seen.” So I say I’m a designer, and you (someone I admire) head over to my blog, and maybe you’ll proclaim, “Your website sucks, or how can I take you seriously when you don’t even know what type of blog you want to run.” I am a little intimidated by really successful people, because I want that, too. I want to be really good at what I do, and it scares me to be less than that. I want to be authentic and confident and know that I’m on the right path. And I want to help people and be humble enough to learn from my mistakes. But it can be scary to put yourself out there and potentially fail.

    3. The hardest part about selling my work is really being clear about what I offer, and getting my clients to understand that it’s valuable. I end up underpricing my work, and getting hired to create a website, but then under that premise, I can actually do what I want, which is consult for their business and come up with creative solutions for them. Getting them to understand that there is value in my expertise, rather than just my services/end products is difficult. Maybe I’m just not attracting the right clients?

  7. This scholarship opportunity is amazing – thank you!

    1. I am a graphic designer. I yearn to quit my in-house 9-to-5 and follow my dream of breaking out on my own and starting blog.

    2. The scariest part about sharing myself is the fear that I have nothing new or compelling to contribute.
    I have access to the same words, tools and resources as everyone else. Is it really possible to combine these things in new ways that represent something unique and ME? If so, how the heck to I figure out what that formula is? And once someone interacts with what I’ve put out there, I’m afraid that it won’t resonate with them, inspire them or encourage them. I am afraid that sharing myself will not make a difference; that I”ll be just another fish in the sea.

    3. The hardest part about selling my work (besides my fear of putting myself out there!) is finding clients who want the kind of work that I want to sell! Lots of people need graphic designers but I deeply fear leaving the safety of my job only to be forced to hustle design work that I don’t believe in, in order to pay the bills. To me, this would be no less exhausting than my current experience working in-house. Perhaps if I can overcome my fear in #2, I will be able to extend my reach and find clients who truly connect with my point of view.

    Thank you, Kathleen, for the opportunity!

  8. This is such a great opportunity! I live in Toronto Canada but if I won I would find a way to be there!
    my email is erin.e.ackerman(at)gmail(dot)com

    1. What is your art?

    I want to help people get what they want out of the online experience and present themselves in the best way possible.

    Right now I am (21) days away from finishing my diploma in Web Design . I feel its important for me to work in a small to medium sized agency after I graduate to continue learning and make new connections. My dream job would be to work in a creative environment and be a digital media producer. I see it as a professional list maker and task organizer, prioritizer and facilitator. And thats the kind of stuff I love to do. I also want to work for myself and start doing freelance work as often as possible. Ultimately, I’d like the freelance work to be able to sustain my income and time in the long run.

    I also really want to find the voice of my blog. Which really should have happened already because I have been blogging for six years and have always thought that it is completely possible to make it into something great. I’ve always been stuck between a personal hang up of sharing too much or when to share and how to market it as a place where I share my thoughts…and if thats even a marketable thing.

    2. For you, what is the scariest part about sharing yourself?

    I am thinking a long time about how to answer this question because I am not sure what my answer is. Small things come to mind…misspelling a simple word infront of a group of people, forgetting someones name when its impossible to retrace your sentence, having my dress tucked into my panty hoes (all things that have happened already haha).

    The obvious thing that comes to mind is rejection but I feel like pulling off a band aid. Its sharp and painful at first but it passes quickly. When you work in the creative field its important to remember just how many points of view are out there and not one of them is completely ‘wrong’.

    Being authentically me when I first meet people is very hard. I find I am very polite and smily and agreeable, and even though I do possess those qualities I feel like I’m a sugar coated version of myself. I’d like to come across more thoughtful, taking the time to construct my answers and replies before I blurt them out.

    3. For you, what is the hardest part about selling your work?

    Committing to anything really specific (I have the frequently Pisces ability to be able to see merits to both sides of the argument.) Or in broader terms I am easily swayed by so many options or possibilities that I end up having a hard time committing to one idea or style. I feel like I have so many interests and passions that its hard to say “___ is exactly what I want to do”. I’m feeling a little lost on what exactly is my strongest points, and what I will enjoy the most and where those things overlap.

    I often don’t defend my work as much as I should -I want to stand up for it more. Especially being in a classroom environment of teachers and students, I usually take the teachers advice and recommendations and make the changes…whereas others in my class have more defined points of view that allows them to passionately stand up for their work. I wish I could have more of that.

  9. Stephanie & Kimmie – be sure to get me your email addresses! I don’t want you to be disqualified because I don’t have your info.

  10. Gloria

    Wow, I am so glad you are offering this! When you first announced the workshop, I so badly wanted to go, but $425-$500 is not in the realm of possibilities for me right now.

    1. Defining my “art” has never been an easy task for me. I wanted to do it ALL. I still do. The only thing is, that’s not a a good business model. I didn’t want to call myself only one thing, so I didn’t call myself anything for a while, which is much, much worse. I just had a baby – scratch that, seven months old isn’t “just” anymore- I recently got used to the new reality that I’m a mom who still has hopes and dreams for myself. Those plans I had for my life didn’t die when I gave birth nor did I have to give them up. Having a kid actually solidified in my heart the desire to create and carve my own path outside of the “safe zone.” So… long story short, I am a graphic designer who focuses on event invitations. It is my most obvious first stop on my journey of entrepreneurship.

    2. I wouldn’t call myself a wallflower, but I’ve most definitely never wanted to be the center of attention. This is one of the biggest adjustments for me, being okay with people talking about me. It’s always been good things people say, but it makes me twitchy and I want to change the subject. I’ve been practicing on it by making it known what it is that I do and showing samples of what I’ve created. It’s actually very liberating.

    3. The hardest part about selling my work is putting a quantitative number on myself or seeing my value in numbers and then convincing others that it is worth it. I’m the kind of person who wants to just give things away, but a business can’t survive like that and I want to build myself in a way that I don’t have to depend on a corporate job.

    I live in Tulsa, so I would absolutely be available come May 4th! Again, I’m SO glad you’re offering this opportunity!

    Gloria Feeley

  11. 1.My art is stories. I’m a videographer and a writer (who dabbles in design and other art forms). I’m obsessed with humans and feel that everyone deserves to have their story told. My art is finding the wonderfully obscure, the beautiful everyday and celebrating it through words and moving pictures.

    2. The scariest part about sharing myself is that for about a year, I have been in an environment that consistently pushes the idea that me (and my art) are not worth much. My current 9-5 is wanting me to stay in a box that I wasn’t made for, and I am daily living in that discomfort. I have a passion, training, and vision, but it never seems to live up to the expectations of the people I am around on a daily basis. It is starting to wear on me mind, body, and soul. It’s time to tell the stories I’m passionate about, rather than the ones that are safe in this tiny box that’s threatening to burn me out, but it’s a daily struggle to push the discouraging thoughts aside and put myself out there for my dream clients.

    3. As a videographer, the practicalities of how much to price in my area is hard. I’m in Northwest Arkansas so the market is relatively new for what I do, so there aren’t a lot of standards where pricing packages are concerned. The other part that is difficult is the the blessing AND curse of this being a new market. It’s a blessing because I can be at the forefront in my industry here, but there’s a challenge in convincing people that they want/need videography to push their own businesses to the next level or to tell their story in a way that compliments photography.

    Thank you so much for this opportunity and for bringing something like this to our part of the country. I am available May 4th and would be traveling from Fayetteville, AR

    Jessica Whalen

  12. Lisa

    Since I quit a full-time job in the fall in favor of learning as much as I can during this “creative sabbatical” time, attending this is financially not that feasible for me right now. Thanks for the opportunity for the scholarship! I’ve been following IAM for awhile now, and I’m really interested in their work.

    I’m available on May 4, and I’d be traveling from Philadelphia. I’d love to attend (obviously, hence this comment), and even if I don’t win this time, I’m interested down the line if/when you run it again!

    1. What is your art?
    I’m working on how to articulate that. I’m a writer, editor, and street style blogger (among various other things) who is making her way into the world of web design. There are a lot of things I’d ultimately like to do, but web design and learning development is my main focus right now. Perhaps it could all be bundled into storytelling, just sometimes using different methods or media.

    I’m also in the very beginning stages of building a partnership/small business with another Philly-area creative to do web design and digital marketing.

    2. For you, what is the scariest part about sharing yourself?
    I think the fear that I don’t have anything new to add or share is the scariest part about sharing myself. Also, it’s hard to determine which parts of myself to share and play up to the public — different aspects of myself could appeal to different audiences. I have experience and am interested in such a variety of things that it’s hard to pick and choose those elements to piece together a persona. Maybe I should revisit the Personal Branding eCourse worksheets quarterly or so. Ha! I’m sure it wouldn’t hurt.

    3. For you, what is the hardest part about selling your work?
    Letting people know I exist, asking for enough money, self-promotion, and I’m sure there’s more: These are all things that have been/I foresee will be super hard parts about selling my work. I don’t like to feel like I’m asking people to give me their hard-earned money, but I absolutely want them to pay me so I can generate my own hard-earned money! It’s an unfortunate position to be in.

    Lisa Yoder

  13. Well, here goes nothing (smile).

    I’m newly available May 4 and would be coming from Seattle, WA.

    1. I am a visualist. Which is actually close to as fun as it gets working for the man whilst demanding my sanity. By percentages: 50% sketchnoter/visual recorder, 20% consultant/coach, 15% strategic storyteller and the rest ebbs and flows between visionary, thought provoker and advocate. Which, come to think of it, are a huge part of the whole.

    2. While I get to share of taste of what I’m capable on the daily at work and people whisper behind my back about “that girl” the truth of the matter is that I’m a closet creative. I’ve been burned in this realm (seared, really) and so I retreated. But the fire department didn’t QUITE squelch the flame. So the embers burn. There are a million and one more blunt reasons why I don’t share more of myself.

    Five quick ones:
    * I loathe fads and fear becoming one
    *it is uncouth in my community/culture to “act smart” and/or let on that you might actually know something
    *I’m overwhelmed by the scope of what I want to be
    *I’m concerned that if I share too much, you might want to have me committed, or (worse yet), you’ll start trying to confine me in a clausterphobia inducing box.
    *I’m scared of playing small and leaning back once I get skidding down the slope of awesomeness.

    3. I tell myself many things that make it hard, if not close to impossible to sell my work (financially, emotionally, philosophically)…

    Some of my most recurrent mantras –
    * the generosity of others got me here so I have to pay it forward. for free. forever….
    * surely this skillset falls into “other duties as assigned”…
    * to build a portfolio, all creative interns work for free…
    * I should be so lucky that I even get TO BE creative, joy itself is payment enough…
    *i already lured you in with a free hit, it would be immoral to ask you to start paying now…

    Yes. I have money issues. Which translate into worth and value issues and bloom into emotional and philosophical issues. I should get counseling for that.

    All said.
    I’d love the opportunity to be considered for the scholarship. I’d love to meet you both in person just to prove once and for all that people in real life DO make the leap (to their dream job) and then keep right on jumping for joy.

    Congrats on your first in person workshop.

    Bernadette Merikle

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  15. Ok, let’s try this again…
    Thank you Braid & IAM for the scholarship opportunity.

    What is your art?
    My art is Product Design. As a product designer, or professional problem solver, I come up with improvements to existing products through design, letting form & function work hand in hand. Also, I invent new objects based on all kinds of needs, like consumer, environmental, monetary, selfish, or aesthetic needs. My products include colorful kitchenwares, home furniture, shoes, jewelry, & musical instruments. In my practice I like to keep in mind the environment & utilize sustainable methodologies.

    For you, what is the scariest part about sharing yourself?
    I am a thinker. I am a perfectionist. Both these things heavily influence my ability to share. In sharing myself I like to plan ahead. My verbal, written, & visual communications are well calculated. I am protective of myself, therefore when I share things about myself I make sure what I am communicating illustrates who I am & what I believe in. Divulging personal information in spontaneous conversation is uncomfortable & scary to me because I like to digest the information, or question, & really think about it before speaking or acting upon it. Thus portraying a self image that is not who I am is fearsome.

    For you, what is the hardest part about selling your work?
    The hardest part for me about selling my work is having confidence in my work. As an idealist, I strive for creating products that will progress design. Before putting an item on the market for consumption, I want to ensure it positively impacts the environment and the holistic community. My goal is not to create products that will be quickly obsolete, but to advance human lifestyles and interactions. I focus on the future, whether in materials or technologies, and analyze the entire life cycle of a product which creates a relevant object. An inner conflict with myself is the hardest obstacle to overcome in selling my work. The ability to trust in myself that my designs will spark a change is the hardest sell.

    Again, thank you for your time & consideration.

    I will be able to attend the workshop in OKC on 5/4
    Brooke Darrow

  16. Sorry Kathleen! I’m so bummed I didn’t see that! Ugh, I’ve been keeping my fingers crossed thinking you’d announce it but didn’t look back at comments;) I somehow thought it was odd not to leave my email but then I thought that might be intentional.

    Have you already decided? If so, would you give a discount to someone (me) who is dying to attend and has bought a few braid e-courses already? Ahhhhh!

  17. Stephanie – Hello! We have already picked. Right after the three questions in the post I say this: “Be sure to include your email with your answers and confirm your availability to attend the workshop in OKC on May 4th, 2013.”

    I apologize if it wasn’t clear enough. However, I do have some pretty awesome consolation prizes / discounted workshop prices. Send me an email to and I’ll give you the details. We’d love to have you at the workshop!

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