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Insightful conversations with leaders in the Arts & Crafts Retail industry

Mar 9, 2021

Kathy Cano-Murillo, author, artist and founder of the award-winning brand Crafty Chica shares the magic formula of what inspires her creative journey.


  • Kathy’s love of creativity goes all the way back to fifth grade when she found that by sharing a story that she created with her class, she found a magic formula that connected with people. “That really became the foundation of everything that I do - just sharing my creativity with people to help them be creative. It’s universal.”

  • Kathy initially struggled with feeling insecure about her creativity until she met her husband, who encouraged her to make stuff and sell it. She was manager of his band, and she would set up a craft table at their gigs. She would make more from her craft table than the whole band made for the night. That convinced her not to worry about what anyone thinks.

  • Kathy received a big break that helped launch her writing career with a newspaper in her hometown. The editor had one of Kathy’s flower pots on her desk in the interview and decided to give her a chance. Kathy went on to write a celebrity interview column that got syndicated, with interviews with people like Ewan McGregor, Jake Gyllenhaal, and Renee Zellweger. 

  • She realized from her experience at the newspaper that while some people go through the front door using a traditional path, it’s always worth a shot to see if there’s another way that is less conventional. 

  • Her editor then asked her to write a craft column that got picked up by Gannett News Service. This taught her to design for a broader market, while still keeping her unique style. 

  • Kathy got 2 book deals, which led her to speak at a major crafts trade show. She went with product samples she made, intending to get her own product line. And she did! She became the national spokesperson for Tacky Glue, and in 2007 that became a major turning point.

  • Reflecting on this moment, Kathy said, “Even though I loved my job at the paper, I just felt like there was something else I was meant to do. I’m really glad that I listened to my gut instinct, and that I made that decision and took that risk. You just really have to listen to your gut instinct.”

  • She continued to struggle to believe she would be successful long term, but never stopped creating content and engaging with people online. “There’s a lot of inside work and outside work that has to go on at the same time.”

  • Kathy said her priority has always been to “show up and share.” She said, “We have one life. Let’s do all the things we want to do and all the things we’re curious about.”

  • On her books, “The novels that I write are about the situations and experiences that make us want to craft because usually when we craft there is an emotion behind it.  I use the books and their characters to show why they turned to crafting - like what was the emotion that pushed them to where they needed to release that energy and feeling through creativity, and how it helps.”

  • The first time she noticed the power of crafting in easing tension was when 9/11 happened.  People really turned to recognizing what is most important to them.  Then, she saw the same thing happen during the recession in 2008, and again in the COVID pandemic in 2020.  



  • Kathy is a great example of someone who fought through insecurities to find her inner passion. When she decided to follow her heart and trust her gut instincts to pursue that passion, she found great success.

    • Follow your passion

    • Trust your gut

    • When the front door isn’t an option, find another way in

  • Take Kathy’s advice - “You have one life — do all the things you what to do and all the things you’re curious about.”

To contact Kathy Cano-Murillo, you can reach her or find her on Instagram at @craftychica.

If you'd like to be a guest on the podcast, reach out to Clint O’Rear at

Learn how Clint and his team at Creative Sales Consulting connect suppliers & retailers in the creative arts industries to build stronger relationships and strategic sales growth, in order to bring joy to consumers through artistic creative and decorative products.



"Carpe Diem" Kevin MacLeod (
Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 4.0 License