I'm an illustrator. It took me a long time to be comfortable with saying that, but it's true.


I'm also one of the lady makers of Market Day, a local handmade market that happens three times a year,including this Saturday in Des Moines. More than 75 percent of the makers at Market Day are ladies: women who own their own creative businesses as a side hustle project or a full-time gig. We make awesome feather accessories, we paint thoughtful talismans , we sew little monsters and we spin ceramics with carefully crafted mug handles.


Women rule the crafty/maker business world. According to Etsy, 88 percent of the online handmade market's sellers are women. "This is triple the number of women-owned businesses documented by the U.S. Census Survey of Business Owners, where just 28.7 percent of home-based businesses were female owned, according to a  report on the economic impact of Etsy sellers.


With renewed focus on arts and culture in Des Moines, more women in Iowa are taking the leap and putting their creative wares out there. It is a job full of challenges: self-promotion, accounting for the right-brained business owner, building audiences and standing out in a market full of people who make things.


Women, particularly in the creative fields, tend to shy away from charging what their wares are worth, tend to be more timid in selling their products, and often feel uncomfortable with the self-promotion so necessary to their business. 


Despite these challenges, "women have been starting businesses at a higher rate than men for the last 20 years and tend to create home-based micro (less than 5 employees) and small businesses," reports Forbes magazine. Forbes tells us that this trend will only continue: "Women will create over half of the 9.72 million new small business jobs expected to be created by 2018."


So when we read in the Business Record that Iowa ranked at the bottom, again, for women-owned businesses, it revved us up, pushed us to be counted. Want to support local women running creative businesses? Check out Market Day at the Kirkwood Hotel on Saturday, Aug.  2, from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m.                 


Laura Palmer is the illustrator behind XO-LP and make\break's "director of making friends." A lifelong Iowan who values a philanthropic spirit, the U.S. Postal Service and a thoughtfully handwritten note, Laura started XO-LP in 2009 producing little greetings made with highlighters, markers and wit. Laura's recent projects include an adventure series of postcards called "Wild Hansen" and drawing the best bits of Des Moines for a collaboration with the Greater Des Moines Convention and Visitors Bureau.


Follow Laura on Instagram,  or email her at laurajpalmer@gmail.com