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BUST School For Creative Living Teacher Spotlight: CraftJam Founder and CEO Nora Abousteit

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This year at the BUST Craftacular Holiday, taking place at the Brooklyn Expo Center the weekend of December 8th and 9th in Greenpoint, Brooklyn, we are hosting a myriad of workshops and panels at the BUST School For Creative Living. CraftJam will be teaching a class on hand lettering and another on DIY holiday ornaments. Along with the workshops, CraftJam will also be selling goods at the BUST Craftacular. We talked with CraftJam founder Nora Abousteit.

Hi Nora, can you tell our readers about your business?

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CraftJam is part of my serial entrepreneurship history in the arts and crafts industry. For the past 15 years, I’ve created companies that help people start making. Whereas I used to build online communities (BurdaStyle.com as well as Kollabora.com), I had the desire a few years ago to focus on a local community that I could see and meet in person (I love hosting and organizing outings anyway) and saw that I was not alone. That’s how CraftJam was born. Some call us a SoulCycle for crafting. Others say we are a 21st-century sewing circle.

What inspired you to start your business?

With each business I started, I followed my gut. Each time, I had a burning desire (similar to butterflies in the stomach) to convert my vision into reality. I just had to do it. It’s a feeling that something needs to exist, and that if I want it in this world, others will want it, too. They might not know yet, but they will.

Even though I grew up in a very crafty household where making was the default and both my parents taught me many skills, the first businesses I started when I was a teenager weren’t in that field. I had a video rental, study tutorial, and hair accessory business before I turned 15. I like building in general, and starting from scratch with the liberty to go anywhere is magic to me and makes me extremely happy.

What is your creative process like?

A lot of ideas I get while not doing anything specific, like walking back from work, folding laundry, or taking a shower. Creative ideas are often a collateral, rather than a planned outcome. And then it’s important to have the excitement or discipline to execute. My best execution work I do in the morning, and I like to start as early as possible.

What advice do you have for people who are pursuing a career in your field?

I think the best advice for people pursuing a career anywhere is to be persistent, flexible, and listen to who you are creating for. I’ve seen quite a few people over the years in the creative fields. And many started out not being the best or visibly talented. But they stuck to it. They learned, got better, adjusted, tried things and didn’t mind the hardships. If you’re passionate about something you can endure a lot for a while and eventually it’ll get better.

Tell us about what you’ll be doing at Craftacular.

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We’ll invite visitors to stamp gift tags and give them the chance to win CraftJam tickets. People can also purchase gift cards, giving creativity this holiday. Some of our JamMasters (teachers) will also be doing live craft demos.

What else should our readers know about your business?

At CraftJam you make skills, and friends, hands on. We’re a fun-loving, beginner-welcoming, and BYOB-friendly team of teachers hosting dozens of different hands-on workshops. We organize public as well as corporate and private events. Recently, we openend a pop-up store on 103 Sullivan Street in a historical and charming part of SoHo.

For more information about what CraftJam does, please visit craftjam.co.

Join us at the BUST Craftacular and the School For Creative Living 11a.m.-7p.m. on Saturday, December 8 and Sunday, December 9 at Brooklyn Expo center in Greenpoint, Brooklyn. Admission is free; learn more and purchase class tickets here.

Photo: Courtesy of Nora Abousteit

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Mia X. Perez is a fiction writer and currently studies at NYC's The New School. You can follow her Instagram @mia.xochitl or email her at mia.x.perez@gmail.com.

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