A view of the industry through the
eyes of a chain buyer.
A New Type of Craft Store
Catering to the indie crafter.
by Mike Hartnett (March 2, 2009)
The traditional craft store is in the suburbs, offers rack upon
rack of product, and perhaps a small classroom. Not Spacecraft,
a relatively new store in the heart of urban America: Brooklyn.
Stella Metzner, who developed the concept with co-founder Cristina
Dodd in November, 2007, describes Spacecraft this way:
"Basically, the concept is that we have a menu of crafts to
choose from. You can walk in at any time and pick something from
this menu and sit down at our giant table and craft it. We give you
all of the supplies and everything to make it with right there.
"In addition," Stella said, "we have an arts and
crafts boutique in the front of the store where you can buy
craft-making materials, gifts, books, and kits to take home and do.
We also have kids and adult classes and special workshops that
change seasonally and with upcoming holidays. We host all kinds of
parties and events as well. We have a pretty big open space and a
back yard, so we are lucky to be able to have the room for
Why not a typical craft store? "We just felt like we needed
a place like this in our neighborhood," said Stella, a former
fashion stylist. "We visited a lot of craft places after we had
the idea and they were fun, but the customer service was bad and
they were not inspirational. They were all the same. We wanted to
incorporate the hand-made aspect. We wanted to up-cycle, re-cycle,
and make it fun. We were very inspired by CRAFT magazine and
their slogan of 'transforming traditional craft.' We wanted to show
everyday people that craft is alive still, and really coming
The customer base for this 845 sq.-ft. store is more diverse than
a typical store, too. The neighborhood is a mixture of hipsters,
artists, young working parents, and old Puerto Rican and Dominican
families – and there are Hasidic and Polish communities nearby.
Media coverage is now attracting customers from other neighborhoods
such as Crown Heights, Harlem, Park Slope, Cobble Hill, and even New
Jersey. The biggest crafters are kids, Stella says, but the biggest
shoppers are the local indie-crafters and artists.
"There is a huge craft community that is world-wide. A great
thing about crafts that makes it very different from the art,
fashion, or design communities is that crafters share. It's not
about being competitive; it's about taking everyday objects and
making them better by your own hand, and then sharing those
Cristina's background was in finance, so the partners are
learning the retail business as they go along. They're both
artist/crafters and have collaborated on projects in the past.
"We have been friends for 12 years," Stella says,
"and we are good business partners. We find that we are
different in a lot of ways and need to compromise often, but when we
do, we always come up with something better than what we had both
wanted originally. Cristina and I both had the very same image and
vision from the beginning and that has never wavered."
For more on this unique store, visit Spacecraft at www.spacecraftbrooklyn.com.
(Note: Any one know of this type of store elsewhere in the
country? Email the info to CLN at firstname.lastname@example.org.)