Nice to meet you! I’m Theresa Cifali…mixed media artist, entrepreneur and crafty business consultant. I’m so glad that you found me and am genuinely thrilled that you are here. I’m here to help you succeed in your creative business, so I hope you stick around on my site for a bit to check out all the different ways that I can serve you.
But first…perhaps you should know who you are dealing with….
….and it was a really good childhood, too. That’s me on the left of my little sister (isn’t she adorable?). Yes…you found me out! I’m a natural brunette. It would be many years later that my hair would become black, blonde, purple and blue. Plus, I’m much bigger now. LOL
I hail from the great state of New York. Yep, I think NY is pretty awesome, which is why I’ve never moved anywhere else. I’m not saying that other states aren’t great. I’m sure there are tons of cool places to live out there. I’m just partial. 🙂
As far back as I can remember I’ve always been creative. If you’re thinking that I must have loved art when I was in school, you’d be wrong. It was, in fact, one of my least favorite classes. My art teachers never made much of an impression on me and I never really felt like they were excited about what they were doing. Kinda sad, if you think about it.
What I was completely in love with…and excelled at…was music. Ah, my first love! As a matter of fact, when I was in college I started singing professionally and have been doing so for the last 25 years.
Speaking of college…
I have always loved helping people. I knew that I wanted to do something that was made an impact and was rewarding. I loved working with children, so I decided to become a teacher. I graduated from undergrad with a BA in English and a Certification in Elementary Education. Then I got my first job teaching. It was very rewarding, but exhausting. I would go into work by 7am and not leave the building until at least 6pm. During these early years, I was also pursuing my Masters Degree which I received in 1997.
When I had my first child, I decided that I wanted to make my greatest impact by being a stay at home mom. I wouldn’t trade that decision for the world. It was exciting and I was completely in love with my new baby. Though I wasn’t teaching full time anymore, I did continue to sing.
After several months at home, I became restless and sad. Not unusual for new moms. While I loved being a mother, I missed teaching and all the fun creative things that I used to do with my students. I had always done crafts with them and I also did a fair amount of crafting on my own time, so I decided that I needed a hobby.
That was when I got my hands on my first rubber stamps! I was hooked. Soon my small container had grown into several large containers and I had become a permanent fixture at my local craft store. I began teaching craft classes there and began expanding my crafty interests and skills. Before I knew it, I started teaching at different craft conventions along the east coast. I loved the travel and I loved meeting so many people who shared my passion.
In 2004, I started my first legal company, The Altered Canvas® and joined the Craft and Hobby Association (CHA) as a Designer Section Member. It’s been a crazy and exciting journey ever since! I love what I do and I love helping others be successful in their own crafty businesses.
Now, with almost two decades of experience working with consumers, manufacturers and retail business in the crafting industry, I look back and wonder what had taken me so long. It’s been quite a while since I started my first little craft supply box.
Since joining CHA, I have achieved so much…
- I have a successful, thriving business.
- I meet many amazing and talented people who share my enthusiasm for this industry.
- I have my own private studio outside of my home where I can create and teach.
- I have appeared on When Creativity Knocks and Creative Living with Sheryl Borden.
- I get to collaborate with brilliantly creative people who are nurturing and supportive.
- I am an active, participating member of the Designer Section of CHA and a current member of the Designer Council.
- I have a growing blog with stats that improve daily.
- I have worked with wonderful companies within the Craft and Hobby Industry.
- I am the current Creative Director for ImpressArt Metal Stamps.
- I have participated in numerous designer challenges which are sponsored by CHA and its membship.
- I have had a ton of fun hosting CHA events like Minute to Craft It and The Next Iron Crafter!
- I have had the opportunity to present seminars on business and social media as it pertains to the craft industry.
The journey is never over….
In November 2011, I rebranded my company. While I still actively use The Altered Canvas® as my main business name, I chose to brand Theresa Cifali. You see, as a small business owner, I face the same issues and challenges as any other business. I’ve had to become an accountant, a marketer, a gal-friday, a tech, a social media strategist…and the list goes on. My only regret is that I didn’t have someone to help me or bounce ideas off of when I first got started way back a hundred years ago.
I think the most important lesson I have learned on my quest is that I am smart and that I can do anything. I hope that doesn’t sound too crass. Believe you me…there are lots of things I have to do that I may not necessarily like to do, but if I have to…I CAN. You can, too! I strongly believe that. You are very much one of the reasons that I have added to my business model services like social media, business consulting and graphics building. Sometimes you just can’t do everything. Sometimes you just don’t know how…that’s where I come in. I’m here to help you build your business through….
- providing excellent design services
- offering consulting services for marketing and branding
- helping you build a social media following
- find your clients and customers so that you can speak to them where they are
I know craft consumers and the craft industry! So stick around and let’s see how we can work together to grow your business. Plus I really love making new, crafty friends!