In this episode of Podcast Tactics, you will get podcasting tips and advice from a podcaster who created a show for ethically-minded makers that focuses on ethical sourcing, environmental sustainability, and fair trade.
Remember to share what you got out of my conversation with Alissa by leaving a review at https://www.podchaser.com/PodcastTactics
Learn More about Alissa and her show “The Just Craft”
- Website: https://thejustcraft.com/
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/thejustcraft/
- Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/justcraftcast
Episode recorded on April 28, 2021.
Music by Valence – Infinite [NCS Release]
James: In this episode of Podcast Tactics, you will get podcasting tips and advice from a podcaster who created a show for ethically minded makers that focuses on ethical sourcing, environmental, sustainability, and fair trade.
If you want to keep learning about podcasting, get inspired and stay motivated, make sure you join the mailing list at PodcastTactics.com.
I’m James, the host of Podcast Tactics. Thanks for listening.
Let’s get into it!
Joining me at the mic is Alissa from Newark, Ohio. Alissa, thank you so much for joining me on the show.
Alissa: Thanks for having me.
James: Well, I’m super excited to speak with you, you know, just full disclosure. You and I are longtime friends from long ago. We’ve kept in touch over Facebook, and I was really excited to see that you had a podcast and that you were willing to come on as a guest.
So. Let’s start from the beginning. What’s the name of your show? And what’s it all about?
Alissa: The name of my show is called The Just Craft. And, um, it’s about, it’s a podcast for the ethically minded maker. So basically we explore, uh, craft material sourcing, and we look for. Um, I look for stories to share that, um, have some sort of reflection on either social justice or climate justice, uh, people who are doing things a little bit differently.
I really love crafting and making I’m a maker and I work in fair trade. So this is sort of where those two things overlap. And, uh, I started doing the podcast. In 2019, I was just really inspired. I was knitting a lot and I love WOL. And I heard about this program that the livestock Conservancy was doing called shave him to save them.
And they were trying to save rare breeds of sheep by running this contest where the goal was to, uh, purchase. Different rare breed, uh, fleeces or yarn. And you got a little passport and you put a little sticker in there for everyone you got. And I thought this was so great that everybody needed to know about it.
And I was like, that’s it. I’m just going to do a podcast.
James: That is an awesome origin story. I love
Alissa: it. I didn’t even really listen to podcasts. I was just like, I knew podcasts existed and I knew I wanted to do one.
James: Wow. Oh, okay. So my mind is blown. I had, I would have assumed that you had listened to podcasts and that was part of the origin story there.
Usually it is, but you know, I mean, that’s great. You jumped right in. Let’s talk a little bit about the planning, if any, that you had leading up to. Uh, launching your podcast. What kind of plans did you put in place? What did that look like for you?
Alissa: Yeah, I didn’t, I didn’t have any plans. I was, it was like we were using zoom for work.
Um, and it was kind of new for me. And I was like, well, this is great. And. When I reached out to Debra Neiman, uh, uh, the livestock Conservancy, she said that we could do it on the phone, or we could do zoom. And I was like, zoom was this new tool for me, you know? So I was like, oh yes, let’s do zoom. Um, and I, I recorded it.
And at the time, you know, it sounded great. And now I go back and I listen to him and I’m like, oh, that’s. Yeah. I mean, like with each episode, uh, I got a little better. Like I was like, oh, I need a mic. And then the next episode, I was like, oh, I’m interviewing people. I need a headset and another mic. So I, I just, um, I just went, I just flew by the seat of my.
Really, I just learned as I
James: went. Yeah. I, you know, I got my hats off to you for doing that. You know, I, I, I don’t know if you’re in any podcasting groups anywhere on the internet, including Facebook, but yeah. I mean, I, one of the things that I see and I’m guilty of this too, is, you know, just kind of being stopped by the planning.
And that’s why I asked you that question is because, you know, what did you put in place for a plan? You didn’t just went for it. Um, but also, you know, like people. Tend to get stopped by, like, is my plan good enough? And then they never execute on their plan. And you just circumvented that by just saying, you know what, I’m going to turn zoom on.
I’m going to talk to, I’m going to go for it. So, yeah. Yeah, yeah. And, and to go beyond that too, you’re learning as you’re going and you’re continuing to. Iterate and improve on that as well. So that’s excellent.
Alissa: Yeah. I think each episode just gets a little better. Oh, sorry. Go ahead. No,
James: no. Yeah, please go on.
That’s exactly what I was going. Each episode gets a little better.
Alissa: Yeah. Well, there was one episode and I think it was the second episode. And it was an episode that I was really, it was really difficult to edit because it was interviewing a lot of different people and I had some technical issues and some of those interviews didn’t even make it because I didn’t have this.
I didn’t get the recording. And I remember after that episode, my husband, Bob, who does listen to a lot of podcasts was like, would you like a little feedback? I was like, yes, I would like some honest feedback. And he gave me some honest feedback and that helped me get a little bit better. And so each time I listened to it, I think, um, I had an ear for what it was supposed to sound like.
And I did kind of start listening to a few other podcasts to kind of get an idea of what podcast should sound like. And I, um, each episode made one change for the better, I think.
James: Yeah. What was that bit of advice that he gave you at the time?
Alissa: It was talking about keeping the sound level. And even, I think my sound was kind of up and down because I was interviewing different people who were sitting at different places to the mic.
And I didn’t have, I didn’t know that I could, um, in audacity I could actually. You know, fix that. I didn’t know that I could. So that’s when I started looking at, oh, how can I, how can I fix this sound? Um, and you know, you can Google anything. So I was Googling that those things, and he did have some, uh, critique about on the mic.
You know, I w I think I need he’s. He still wants me to get a shield, because I guess I, I make. Hard peas. And so, yes. So that’s something, um, that is, um, that’s next on my list is to get a little shield from my mic. Yeah.
James: Everybody has those plosives in hardasses and yeah. I mean, that’s part of that learning curve where it’s like, oh, you know, I didn’t notice that until somebody either points it out or you see something online and it’s like, oh, I gotta do that too.
Let’s get into, I mean, we talked a little bit about challenges here. I, I, I, I, to. Go a little bit deeper and talk about in the beginning, when you first started back in 2019, um, what was the challenge that you were facing with your podcast and how did you eventually overcome it? Well, it
Alissa: was at the end of the year, so just starting, it was.
You know, was the biggest challenge and just learning everything all at once. So, I mean, that’s really the only challenge I can think of right away. I had a lot of ideas of, of things I wanted to talk about, but yeah, I think, I think that’s really the only, it was just. Or learning the technical stuff. I didn’t have any problem with the editing.
Like I know a lot of people editing is hard for them, but I actually have, um, so I went to school for journalism and media and I took. Editing courses when I was at UCFD, um, before I went into, um, visual arts, I was in media arts. So editing actually came really naturally to me in audacity. I mean, I had to learn, but yeah, there’s a learning curve, but it was pretty.
Pretty easy for me to get the hang of editing and I really enjoy editing. So for me, it was just simple things like finding music, what music did I want. And I was listening to a lot of Celtic music at the time and there was this band I liked. So I reached out to them on Facebook and I was like, I just really want to use this song.
My intro for my podcast. Can I have your permission and they never got back to me. And then, and Bob was like, there’s like free source music all over the internet. And I was like, oh cool. And then I Googled it and found a song I liked. And it was a open source. So just things like
James: that. Yeah. I’m just admiring, maybe even I’m jealous about the fact that you don’t have any problems editing because I am, you know, with the us common folk, you know, just dread the editing process and it’s, it’s difficult.
I mean, in terms of editing, is there a piece of advice that you could give me and people who are just starting out that would help, you know, ease that kind of pain point.
Alissa: I think with ed is like with a lot of arts, you have to, you have to get in the flow of it. And it’s almost not once. I’ve kind of one second, I’m working on a show.
I kind of start to get into the cadence of the person who’s speaking. And I can start to anticipate, um, when they’re going to pause or, you know, say, oh, or whatever, you know, that I kind of maybe want to edit that out to keep the flow going. And it it’s really a zone that you get into. And I would just say, relax and get into the zone and follow the rhythm of the cadence of the show.
That’s that’s kinda how I do it.
James: Talk about successes for your podcast first. How do you define success and what have you achieved up to this point?
Alissa: Success for me is. Is really just putting out episodes and finding listeners who are interested in what we’re talking about. I think it’s a very niche, you know, I don’t think it’s ever going to be a, a huge, I’m never going to have a huge following and I’m fine with that.
But having people find me, um, I actually had a friend. Acquaintance who sent me an email after my last episode dropped and said, your podcast came up as the number one thing I should listen to today. And I was so excited because I was like, oh my gosh. Yeah. So that was really, that was success. I had one person who reached out and said, said, wow, that was great.
Can I put you in my ? So yeah, I was like, yeah,
James: that’s legit. Yeah. I mean it actually, yeah. Got recommended to them. I mean, that is really exciting. Yeah. So let’s talk a little bit about some episodes that I listened to. I thought the production quality was exceptional. I mean, I see, I know you went through a learning curve, right.
You know, I, I, what I’d love to do for my show is I love to go to the first episode for people, you know, and then I go to the most recent episode to see, you know, the story arc there. And of course there’s a technical, you know, um, improvement there. So that was very apparent. Um, but the content of your show is very powerful.
I mean, I just want to acknowledge that right off the bat. I mean, you’re up to something big on your show. You were trying to make a difference, you know, in the, in the, um, in the. Maker craft creator world there. Um, and I think it’s important to consider these things that you’re bringing up in your show. I, I mean, I hadn’t considered those things until I started listening to your show.
I was like, of course. Sure. You know, like it just makes perfect sense that you would want to consider, like, where is this material coming from? How is it being sourced? You know, what are the animals going through? And, um, so the message you’re getting out there is very important. So I appreciate your show on that level very much, you know, among other things, right.
You know, it’s a well-produced show. Um, your interviews are well done as well. So with the interviews, I’m curious about how do you get, um, your interview or how do you get guests on your show? How do you find them?
Alissa: Um, I, I’m always sort of on the, uh, I’m always scanning the horizon for people that I like, what they’re doing.
Um, I’m interested in what they’re doing. They seem like a good fit, uh, for. Me as a maker or me as a consumer. Um, I will often, if it’s not somebody I know, um, I will often. Purchase something like if it’s somebody who’s, for example, you know, I might, I might look at this business and I might say, Hey, I like what they’re doing.
This is a they’re they’re sourcing something that ethically that I might want to purchase and then I might purchase it and I might see how that goes. And then if I’m excited about it, Then I might take the next step and reached out to them and see if they would be interested in letting me interview them.
Um, but I also, I don’t just interview, you know, people who are selling things. Um, I also like to interview people who are just doing things in the community, like the last episode was with, um, the founders of belt. Fibershed who I had been in contact with. Because of things they were doing in our community.
And I was like, this is righteous. I T I totally want to interview them. And I was really glad when they said yes. So I’m always looking for people. I have a list. I have a short list. Um, I reach out to people. They don’t always get back to me. I take that as a no. I might hit them up another way later. Give them another opportunity.
Um, yeah, my, my goal, I would love to be able to put out 12 podcasts a year and I know that’s not very much, but for me it’s a lot. Um, so that’s my goal. And in 2019, you know, I started at the end of the year, so I had one episode per month, but then in 2020, uh, COVID hap I did travel to Kenya. I got some great interviews, uh, but then COVID happened and, uh, just everything ground to a halt.
James: Well, I’m glad you went to, uh, bringing up Kenya because that is an episode that I wanted to kind of dive deeper into. Um, that is the, I apologize in advance for butchering this if I do, but, um, it is the. Kitten gala hot glass episodes in gala hot glass. Yeah. Can you talk about recording on location, um, and you know, feel free to geek out a little bit.
If you want to talk about equipment, I was curious how you,
Alissa: well, I have this thing, this cool gadget called an iPhone and it has an audio app on it. And I literally sat there and hit play and asked. I asked him the questions recording with my
James: iPhone, where you mic up or what have you? No. Okay. Nope. I just
Alissa: had my phone with me.
I was, I was actually traveling for work, so I was doing a lot of things for work, so I didn’t like. I knew I wanted to try to interview people if I could, but I wasn’t going that wasn’t the priority of my trip, but I was like, I’ve got my iPhone. If some something comes up, that’s a good opportunity and I can do it.
I will. And so I just loved what they were doing, how they were taking all these old bottles from Nairobi and they were bringing them in and they were making all these beautiful things and. It was just an amazing story. Um, and the history of glassblowing. So I was so thrilled to be there and, um, I was just getting taken around by, by my hosts.
So, yeah. So when I was there, I w I asked if I could interview him and, and he said, yes. And it was, it was so much fun. Um, it was really. Really close to my heart. I
James: really enjoyed that episode from end to end as well. Just from when I look at it from the kind of audio quality and the production of it as well, like you opened it up with the, I think it was a wind chime that you got and you were kind of making it tinkle or that’s not the right word, but you know,
Alissa: no, it was tickling,
James: I would say.
So, um, And that was really nice, you know, and then your intros are just really well-written and really well done. They’re very concise. And you just, you know, you do a really beautiful job. Intro-ing the episode, and then segwaying right into your, uh, interviews with the interview itself. I was curious about, you know, your editing process, like how much post-production work did you have to do considering you were recording it through, uh, an iPhone.
Alissa: I didn’t have to do as much on that one. I had a few more. I had more editing to do on the Kanata knitters because we recorded in several different locations. It was the same time, but it was different locations. So I had more editing to do there. It almost, I mean, this is, it’s been a while since I’ve edited it, but I think it was almost ver very little editing on that one.
I did make the decision to break it up. Like I, I had originally thought I would have this Kenya episode and I thought, no, I, I think I’m gonna. Keep these, um, keep these makers ha let, let them have their own.
James: What do you want people to get out of listening to your show? Why should they listen to your podcast?
Alissa: First of all, I would like to reach others in the crafting and maker community, because, um, when you are, uh, a maker, it really gets in your blood. It becomes a part of your identity. So I would really like to reach others, um, in the, in the broader crafting and maker community. And then what I would like them to get out of my show is just to ask the question, you know, Where, where was this made?
Who made this? How are they treated before? And I’m not saying there’s no perfect answer to this question. This is one of the things I really wanted to make sure when I started this was to make sure that people knew I just wanted to have the conversation. It’s not about shaming or judging because we’re all consumers and we’re so far removed from the people who make our products and the people who like the people who make our clothes or the people who grow our food.
In most cases, we’re so far removed. There’s such a deep murky supply chain that we don’t know the answers to those questions. But if you could ask it that way, Lead you down a path that will be more authentic for you. And, you know, it’s, you can just make a choice, you know, you don’t, it doesn’t have to be, it feels very overwhelming.
Um, but you can just make a single choice and that can make a difference in the world. If you just ask the question and maybe try to educate yourself a little bit before you move forward. Um, I recently, like very recently in the last month or so made a decision to no longer purchase, super, super wash wool, because I found out that super wash will, the process is got a lot of chemicals.
It includes a lot of plastics. It’s not environmentally sustainable, which I didn’t know. And there’s a lot of super wash wool out there. So that was just a decision that, that I could make that made sense for me, but for somebody else, it might be a totally different decision. Am I just be, I just wanna, I just want to choose natural fibers or I just want to salvage all my materials.
You know, I want to go to the thrift store and remake things and rip out sweaters and then rename it something else. And so, so there are so many different. Ways of doing things. Um, and that’s really part of the fun of making too, because you do have more control over, over what you’re using there and, you know, that’s part
James: of the that’s awesome.
First of all, and I’m getting just that kind of pers purposeful, intentional, thoughtful, um, Creator making, you know, not just blindly, you know, going to Michael’s and picking stuff up. Right. You know, and
Alissa: I want to be, you know, full disclosure I’ve been there. I’ve totally been there. I’ve, I’ve gone to the big box craft stores before I don’t so much anymore.
Um, there are a lot of things that are hard to find, you know, ethically source, like almost all the findings that you need and sewing are made in China. And w who knows what the situation of those workers is. Um, So there are just some things that just don’t exist in an, in another, in a more fair ethical world realm.
But I think once we start asking those questions, it can. I think it’s going to lead to change and it’s going to lead to a better world. And because crafting and making is so important to me and so much a part of my identity. I want it, I want to make a difference in that world too. And I could go to the thrift store and buy old bags and take them apart and use the findings from those.
And I haven’t ever done that. So
James: let’s circle back to your podcast and. It’s the time machine segment of the show here, let’s hop into our time machine and we’ll go, let’s go, you know, a couple of years in, into the future, what does your podcast look like? Two years down the road,
Alissa: two years down the road, my podcast has a regular episode that drops every month.
It’s, uh, people who.
Um, yeah, I don’t think I’ve really thought that far. I mean, been, I want to have an episode every month and people are like, it has a following. People who care about the conversation and people who want to listen at are sharing and listening and maybe recommending people that I could talk to now who are doing things differently.
That’s really, that’s really, it would be great for me. I hesitate about like, I’ve been listening to your, but listening to your podcast, which did. Inspire me to get my little podcast off of a blog, which was audio files.
Like why isn’t anybody listening to my podcasts? Nobody wants to do that. I got it on a feed. I got it. Put out to the podcast, uh, servers, is that right? What are they called? Yeah,
James: the directories. Yeah. Yeah.
Alissa: So it got me off, you know, it got me, got me to do that. Um, which was great, which was a big deal for me.
One of the things that someone was, you know, talking about monetizing their podcast by having sponsors. And sometimes I think about that, I think, well, that would be great if I could have sponsors. But my concern about sponsors for a podcast like this is that it might, um, it might be a conflict of interest for my content.
So I don’t, it would have to be someone who really aligned with the purpose of the podcast. And I don’t know who that would be at this point, but
James: let’s do one last question before we wrap things up. Okay. What is the best thing that has happened as a result of your podcast?
Alissa: What is the best thing that has happened as a result of my podcast.
I got to talk to you
talking to you on zoom. That’s pretty great. Um, Yeah,
James: I’m going to go with that. I’m going to live with that. I, you know, thank you. Uh,
Alissa: one of the things too, and it, and it’s funny how people keep touching on it when I interviewed them for my podcast, is that, um, You know, when you purchase something that’s handmade from a maker, it’s about, it’s about relationships, right?
It’s about relationships and community it’s person to person. And that you can apply that to a lot of things like, um, you know, going to the farmer’s market to get your food and meeting the farmer that grew your carrots or whatever it is, you’re eating. Um, same thing with purchasing handmade goods.
That’s what a lot of people love. They go to craft shows cause they want to meet the person who made the product that they’re buying. And for me, that’s the best part of having a podcast is meeting people and talking to them. And so I think that flows right along with being able to talk to you and see you, because I haven’t seen you in so long.
Um, other than like a little picked on. Your photos on Facebook. But, um, so yeah, I think that relationships is at the core of really everything we do as human beings. And I think if we can, you know, the last podcast just said the further removed you are from the person who made your clothes or grew your fruit.
The more possibility there is for harm. To happen. So the more we can think about everything we do in terms of a relationship with another human being, I think the world will be a better place because of it.
James: Alissa, please tell, please tell us where we can learn more about you and your podcast.
Alissa: My podcast is on apple podcasts, Google podcasts, Stitcher, and Spotify.
And also add the, just craft.com. And I have an Instagram at the just craft and Twitter at just craft. Cast, please follow me on Twitter because so far I’m the only one following my Twitter.
James: It’s not true. I just followed you today.
Alissa: I got a follow today
James: with one follower and I am that person. Yay. Thank you, Alissa. I do have another request for you and this is, you know, for the future as well, you know, of course, want to continue. Keeping in touch with you. Um, but I do want to schedule a, uh, an interview with you a few months down the road to just check in and see how things are going.
And I’m hoping that we can make that.
Alissa: Yeah, for sure. That’d
James: be great. The name of the show is The Just Craft Alissa. Thanks again for coming on the show. I wish you continued success. Keep going at it. Thanks, James. And thanks again to Alissa. Check the show notes for links to learn more about Alisa and her show “The Just Craft”.
Please share what you got my conversation with Alissa by leaving a review on Podchaser.com. You can find out how to do this in the show notes and do, let me know what you need for me to make this show even better for you and make sure you follow Podcast Tactics to keep learning more about podcasting in future episodes.