A view of the industry through the
eyes of a chain buyer.
Hey Craft Industry . . . Where Are
Where's the teaching, the
by Kathy Lamancusa (June 16, 2008)
(Note: Kathy is one of the most recognized designers,
authors, teachers, and trend gurus in the history of the industry.
Her column for Craftrends was the longest running column in any of
the industry's trade magazines. She is now working in the financial
sector and studying for her MBA.)
I've been involved in a completely different industry for a few
years now - but my heart has never left the creative industries. As
I work my way through exciting new ventures, financial analysis, and
recommending approvals for the movement of money among the financial
industry, business, and individuals, the creative industries
continues to creep into my consciousness.
One of the most profound realizations for me has been how little
I see of the people and products that used to surround my every
minute of every day. From my view on the inside looking out, it
seemed that everyone was as involved with the craft industry as I
was. Now, from my view on the outside looking in, I can't help but
wonder, "Where is the craft industry?"
I haven't been able to give up the industry all together, and I
still receive advertising flyers from craft retailers and business
and consumer magazines. As I was looking through one of the flyers
from a very prominent retailer just a few weeks ago, it became quite
clear how little the folks putting the advertising together
understood the concept of reaching new customers; maybe more
importantly, it became clear how little they understood people who
love crafts as much as I do – but aren't involved in the craft
As beautiful as the flyer was, it told me next to nothing about
how to use the products featured. Now, I'm not a newbie in terms of
using craft products, but, I have to honestly say, there were
several crafts/products that were unfamiliar to me. The ads did
little to help me think I could do the craft featured. For the first
time, ever in my life as I remember it, I wondered if I really could
accomplish what I saw in front of me in the ad.
There was an "Ask the expert" column featured in the
ad, but it dawned on me as I read it that I had rarely seen real
advice that I could instantly implement, or that excited me to go
out and buy the product. It consistently has simply featured a
different type of advertising message – ultimately disappointing
the consumer. In this case, me!
I've been trying to figure out what I could write that would be
of value for some time now, and the thoughts have been percolating
in my brain and I thought to myself, "Well, I'll do a little
research, figure out what the product is all about, make some
projects, then write about the experience and put all my concerns in
steps so that perhaps they might make a difference and spark some
industry light bulb to go off.
But, honestly, I set it aside, pulled out my Organizational
Behavior textbook, studied for my MBA class the next evening,
then, got ready for work the next morning, turned off the lights and
went to bed, exhausted at the end of yet another day outside of the
(Note: What should the industry do to re-ignite Kathy's
interest, and the interest of thousands of Kathy's out there who
aren't crafting as much as they once did. What should retailers'
advertising be like? Email your thoughts to CLN at email@example.com,
or to Kathy at firstname.lastname@example.org.)