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Welcome to Create & Thrive!!

Well hey there!

I’m Jess, the editor of C&T and the gal on the other side of the screen. I’m so damn excited to be here, kicking off a brand new place for professional makers – and soon-to-be professional makers – to share advice, tips, thoughts and information to grow our businesses.

I’ve been running my own handmade business – Epheriell – since I started it as a hobby in 2008. I went full-time in 2010, and never been happier with my work or my life!

But I won’t lie – I’ve also NEVER worked harder or longer hours than I do in this business. I know first-hand how hard it is to build up a teeny-tiny micro-biz into something that actually sustains me and my husband (who works for me, too).

I believe in handmade. I believe in the power and the goodness of the micro-economy. I buy handmade and vintage wherever I can. I believe that the more of us who succeed, the better our world and our lives will be.

There’s a lot of motivational stuff out there that encourages you to ‘live your dreams’ – which, I want to say, I support wholeheartedly – but there are also a LOT of people out there who are struggling to turn a profit in their handmade businesses – let alone make a full-time living out of it.

I’ve been teaching and helping people learn and work their way to success for a few years now (mostly via my lifestyle/design blog, Epheriell Designs), but I saw that there was a gap in the blogosphere – I couldn’t find a place where I could learn directly from those who actually DO this – who have a full-time craft/creative business.

A place where they would share their hard-learnt knowledge and skills with me and others. Where they would be honest and real about how much time and work is involved. Where they would give me the dirt, baby! The nitty-gritty details!

So, I decided to create that place myself – and Create & Thrive was born.

Does that all sound a bit heavy? I hope not.

Don’t get me wrong – I don’t want to be a downer, but I DO want to be realistic with you – having a successful handmade business ain’t gonna happen overnight. But with time, persistence, the right information, determination and a GOOD PRODUCT, it WILL happen for you, too! That’s what I’m here to help you achieve, and I’m betting that’s why you’re here, too!


Our Writers

Coming along with me on this journey are four fantastic, super-smart, and inspiring creative entrepreneurs.

Each of them has grown their own handmade hobby into a successful business, and they’ve agreed to share their knowledge here with you each week.



Katia Donohoe is designer and maker behind Plushka’s Craft brand.  Being of Russian heritage she treasures handmade crafts and love spending time creating things by hand.

She cannot live without hand-stitching, hot chocolate and Mr. Plushkin, bright tights and suede shoes.

She blogs at Plushka’s Craft where she writes about Plushka’s handmade creations, inspirations as well as her main craft passions – cross-stitch and crochet.

blog facebook | twitter {@plushkacraft}


Megan Eckman is a quirky pen and ink illustrator who never outgrew her overactive imagination.  Her work merges the style of old fairy tale illustrations with modern fantasies.

When she’s not drawing (and giggling all the while), she can be found pacing her apartment writing more stories to go with her artwork.

website facebook twitter {@studiomme}


 With a Tupperware Lady for a Mother and a Jeweller Father, what else was I going to be but a jeweller obsessed with plastic.

As a self-employed arts practitioner and business coach, I’m keen to share these aspects of my knowledge to help build strong creative communities.

Liana Kabel

website facebook pinterest


Danielle Spurge is the CEO, crafter in residence and stitch engineer at The Merriweather Council. Since 2010 she has been specializing in custom hand embroidery – working with a signature color palette of bright solids and incorporating vintage fabrics whenever possible!

Danielle’s work has been featured in People Style Watch and on The Today Show.

website blog twitter {@merriweatherc}


I hope Create & Thrive helps you to turn your dreams for a successful handmade business into a reality. To make sure you don’t miss a post, register for our weekly update, sent straight to your inbox.


There will be three new posts here each week – Tuesday, Thursday + I will answer a reader question each Friday. If you have a question to ask me, just click on the Feedback tab on left of screen and send it in!


Van Den has written 319 posts in this blog.

Jess Van Den is the editor of Create & Thrive, and has been a full-time creative entrepreneur since 2010. She makes eco-conscious, contemporary, handmade sterling silver jewellery under the Epheriell label, and blogs about her jewellery and other beautiful things at You can catch her on twitter @JessVanDen.



Congratulations Jess, I’m looking forward to all that you and your team are cooking up for us. Fabulous website! x


Thanks Lisa! We certainly have some juicy content planned for you all 😉

Regina Roza

good luck with the new site and God bless…I look forward to the ebook, as I am trying my hand at making and selling my work, so I look forward to reading your new blog and any other advice or words of wisdom you have for a newbie such as myself…Keep up the great work!!


I hope the ebook helps to kick things off for you, good luck!

Suzanne | Paper Ivy

Hey Jess, I loved your crafty biz emails and I’m looking forward to everything Create & Thrive brings too. Wishing you lots of success with your new (ad)venture!


Thanks so much, Suz! 🙂


Thanks Jess. Looking forward to reading more 🙂

Fabric of Madness

I need a product that doesn’t take hours and hours to make! Good on you for starting this – and Am looking forward to all your great content. Good luck.


That is always the struggle, to try to diversify the product range so there are some easier/quicker items to make as bread-and-butter sellers.

Leoni Nicholson

way to go Jess! I am looking forward to hearing some great tips.

Natalie @ Ozzi Cat

Accidentally found your new endeavour! Well done and so helpful to others! Will be glad to read and learn from you 🙂 Thank you for everything! xx Natalie

What say you?