South Jersey Creatives
Photo in image above by Jenn Lane
In September 2015, I started a passion project I call South Jersey Creatives. Living in South Jersey, in such close proximity to Philadelphia, it became very clear that there is a need for creative community building on this side of the bridge. Don’t get me wrong, I, personally, enjoy going to Philadelphia for events. I have a special spot in my heart for the city, but there are a ton of us who commute from South Jersey to be a part of the regional creative community. I figured, since there are SO MANY of us, right here in South Jersey, why not create a stronger local presence (everyone from tech related creatives to craft related creatives)? A place for us to get together, have talks, game nights, workshops and more — right here in our own backyard.
South Jersey Creatives got off to a great start — there has been a TON of interest. We’ve been lucky to put on a few pretty successful events! With my previous experience successfully running Dr. Sketchy’s Philadelphia for 2 years (building it up from 10 attendees the first month to a sold out event just about every month following, of 80+ artists), I understand the process and time it will take to build a community like SJC. It’s also a completely different experience in that we’re not only putting on entertainment events, but are also focused on educational events and creative community building events. Our main focus is to provide quality programming that helps creatives who are self-employed with matters such as how to start their business; the process to become an LLC; navigating the world of self-employment taxes; avoiding spec work; coming up with great self-promotional materials; and more!
The challenge is that a large majority of us are very comfortable staying in our studios working or conversing with our friends online. This creates a big challenge in building our community to the numbers I know we represent. So, in addition to building a face-to-face network, we’ve taken things online hoping for a bit more engagement by posting weekly resource posts and more. We’re on Facebook, Twitter, and now Patreon. We’re focused on building our online audience to create more interest in our face-to-face community events. In my personal experience, I can tell you I always have a GREAT time when I decide to come out and get to know my fellow creatives in-person! Every time I leave one of our events, I feel good about the connections I’ve made, the things I’ve learned and the inspiration that comes from chatting with other creatives. It’s incredible! I’m sure others would benefit as well. I’m passionate about sharing that experience with others and building a strong group of local designers, illustrators, photographers, musicians, web developers, writers, etc. A community that offers creatives a place to learn about building their business as well as a place to have laid back conversations where we bounce ideas off one another.
We are incredibly grateful for the support we’ve already received and are looking forward to growing. We have a few speakers and teachers lined up for future events which we are planning to put on in the coming months. If you feel like you’d be a good fit to speak at one of our events, please reach out. You can contact us via social media or through our Patreon page or use my contact page here. If you are interested in receiving updates on what we’re up to before anyone else (as well as a few other perks depending on your level of support), be sure to become one of our Patrons! See you online (and hopefully in-person) soon!