Home
Business-Wise
Kate's Collage
"Vinny Da Vendor"
"Benny Da Buyer"
Kizer & Bender
Memory, Paper & Stamps
Category Reports
Designing Perspectives
Scene & Heard


Creative Leisure News
306 Parker Circle
Lawrence, KS 66049
Phone: 785-760-5071
Email: mike@clnonline.com

 

 


What's new in various product categories; monthly update.

Printer Version

Comparing Quilting and Needlework ...

One is growing while the other.... Some possible reasons why.

Reader Contributions (November, 2003)

(Note: CLN received an interesting reaction to a letter published last month. We're re-running the original letter, and then the response.)

I have been watching the discussion about stitching magazines disappearing and the generally downward trend of the counted thread/cross stitch industry with great interest. As many of you know, I work in needlework, but I also have a foot in the quilting industry. I have found it both interesting and illuminating to compare and contrast the two industries.

One of the most telling observations I have made concerns the business models followed by many successful quilt designers/personalities. Currently the quilt industry is a much larger, more dynamic, and varied industry than the counted thread segment of the needlework industry. However, even with the many more commercial opportunities afforded by these dynamics, few of the "name" quilt designers are focusing on design alone.

If one looks carefully, it becomes apparent that most are involved in what I call the "Four Ts of Quilting": Teaching, Technique, Tools, and Theory. Many of the quilting world's success stories are involved in at least three and sometimes even four of these areas.

This led me to question the practicality of needlework designers' expectations and their focus primarily on designing.

I do agree that counted thread is currently in a slump and general industry wisdom has it that there are cycles, but I also feel that we as designers may be putting an undue pressure on the structure of our own businesses with such a narrow focus.

I agree that it would behoove us to look for ways to expand and grow the counted thread segment, but we also need to take a good long look at our own business structures. My feeling is that a broader business base can help minimize the economic vagaries of any single area of needlework. - Tink Boord-Dill, Tink Boord-Dill Needlework (http://tinkbd.com), and Following The Thread Internet Radio ( http://fttradio.com)

Has Needlework "Lost It"?

I especially enjoyed the comparisons between needlework shows/trends and the latest Quilt Market. I started out in quilting in the early 90's, then switched to needlework for personal reasons not relating to trends. So my initial show experience was with Quilt Market.

My first TNNA show was a big disappointment. It wasn't nearly as exciting as Quilt Market. Again, for personal reasons, I haven't been able to attend the big national needlework shows lately, but instead go to the small regional markets (which are always dull), so I haven't made the big show comparison lately. But I'm not surprised that many are having the same reaction I did.

So I really clicked with Tink Boord-Dill's comments about how maybe the counted thread business has blinders on. She is right on!

For example, one of the biggest problems I hear from my customers is that they buy these great designs, but they don't know how to make them into something useful. They could hire a finisher, but that is for the idle rich. When I've looked for good books I could sell on making stuff into useful items, I've ended up at Half Price Books with needlepoint books from the 1970's. (Great instructions, but you have to get past the styles and colors, which are just nauseating!).

So a lot of these designers who come up with pretty designs (including Tink, who has a cool line of sleep masks, but no instructions on how to finish them that I could see) should package some finishing instructions with their designs. If nothing else, the stitcher can give the instructions to their favorite quilter, who might be able to do something with it, given some guidance! And no fair charging an extra $5-10 for those, like they do for the stitch guides.

Our local craft store, where my mother ran the needlework department (Arnold's, well before MJ Designs or Michaels made inroads here), would sell project sheets for 50 cents because they moved the supplies better. That applied to needlework, too (again, back when a craft store actually sold open-stock needlework yarn and painted canvas).

Somewhere along the line, the needlework business lost it. Designers are already getting bucks for the pictures, which is where the real value is - they should keep the price rock-bottom low on the tools needed to make the design SELL.

Here's another thought. Designers who believe that the art is where all the value is should try licensing, instead of squeezing it all out of the stitcher in ever higher prices. (I could buy framed art for the price of some patterns today!) If they can't get a licensing deal, perhaps their art isn't worth as much as they think it is.

Debbie Mumm is a good designer/quilter who has moved beyond quilting. And you don't see Thomas Kinkade making all his money on framed art; he's got stationary, lunch boxes, puzzles, and just about anything else that could be decorated -- plus, of course, cross stitch versions of his art. If it's really good design, it can go beyond stitching. And that adds value everywhere. -- Catherine Bracken, www.discountneedlework.com

(Note: Previous columns in Category Reports are available by clicking on the titles in the right-hand column.)

xxx

 

horizontal rule

horizontal rule



   
   

Category Reports Recent Columns...
WHY DO KNITTING AND CROCHET CONTINUE TO HOOK SO MANY FANS? Yarn crafter/author shares four unexpected benefits.

WHAT'S HAPPENED TO NEEDLEPOINT? Where are the new, younger customers?

THE SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA LOCAL BEAD STORE ASSOCIATION; An interview with Founder Scott Remmers.

THE PASSING OF ANOTHER PIONEER; Rest in peace: Jerry Kreinik.

2011 PREDICTIONS: JEWELRY; Big, bold, and personalized, one-of-a-king creations.

SEWANEW NATIONAL SEWING MONTH, SEPTEMBER 2010; A successful promotion by any standard.

DUPLICATE A MODEL OR CREATE SOMETHING UNIQUE? If you're teaching a newcomer...

HOW THE QUILT MARKET AND FESTIVAL ARE DIFFERENT FROM CHA EVENTS; The dominance of the chains is a major factor.

THE FUTURE OF NEEDLEWORK; A brief, personal history, and a look into a crystal ball.

THE FUTURE FOR JEWELRY, YARN, AND PAPER; Industry experts react to CLN voters' predictions.

EDUCATIONAL PROGRAMS ANNOUNCED FOR NAMTA'S ART MATERIALS WORLD(tm); The show is April 15-17 in Indianapolis.

WHAT'S NEXT FOR JEWELRY MAKING? Kristal Wick, Jill Mackay and Katie Hacker have the answers.

ARTISTS + ART MATERIALS STUDY 2009; A first-ever portrait of opportunity.

THE STATE OF NEEDLEWORK, 2009; Excerpts from a Yarn Market News survey.

UPDATE: THE SEWING & CRAFT ALLIANCE; Growth, variety, and enthusiasm.

CAROL GANTZ RECEIVES TNNA'S 2009 TEN AWARD; The association's highest honor.

CREATING NEW KNITTERS THROUGH THE GIRL SCOUTS; An author shares her love of knitting by creating tomorrow's enthusiasts.

THE CONSUMER PRODUCT SAFETY IMPROVEMENT ACT AND THE NEEDLEARTS; It's a far cry from the situation in Europe.

AN INTERVIEW WITH JULIE STEPHANI; Meeting the needs of today's crafter.

ECO FRIENDLY & SOCIALLY CONSCIOUS YARNS; Hiring and sourcing local supports the economy and the environment.

THE VALUE OF A TRADE MAGAZINE ... And the value of a hard copy.

"REBORNING" - A NEW FORM OF DOLLMAKING; Realism beyond what many thought possible.

IS SCRAPBOOKING SLIPPING? It's the economy, stupid, or perhaps merely the normal business cycle.

SEWING & CRAFT ALLIANCE; New entity developed to provide education and resources.

CMC TREND REPORT: INDIE CRAFTS; Details on the who, what, and why.

SUPPORT LOCAL NEEDLEWORK SHOPS! Or, how I survived TNNA -- and TNNA's efforts to attract younger consumers.

KNIT, CROCHET, AND HEAL; The medical community is realizing knitting and crochet can be good for one's health.

THE IMPORTANCE OF TOOLS; They help stores stand out amongst the competition, and can provide big dollars from novices.

HOW THE TNNA SHOWS HAVE CHANGED; They reflect positive changes in the industry.

A SCRAPBOOKER'S IMPRESSIONS OF CHA WINTER 2007; A step in the right direction.

THOUGHTS ON THE HISPANIC MARKET; There's potential for the industry, if you understand the culture.

TEACHING PAINTING TO HEROES; A painting teacher helps injured Army vets recuperate from Iraq and past wars.

AN EYEWITNESS REPORT ON THE JEWELRY PHENOMENON, PT. III; Where this enthusiast buys from, and from whom.

AN EYEWITNESS REPORT ON THE JEWELRY PHENOMENON, PT. II; OK, Barbara is hooked. Now what?

AN EYEWITNESS REPORT ON THE JEWELRY PHENOMENON, PT. I; The ongoing saga of a new enthusiast.

WAS IT GOOD ADVICE...OR NOT? Readers disagree, vehemently.

WHAT DO KIDS WANT? Crafts as we know them -- or technology.

FORCED TO SELL DIRECT; Blacklisting by shops is self defeating.

CHA SHOW TRENDS & PRODUCTS; So many products, so little time.

IN SUPPORT OF DECORATIVE PAINTING; It can be inexpensive, easy, and appealing to young people.

YARN SALES: THE EVIDENCE; The data discounts a reporter's glib assumption.

KNIT / CROCHET EVENTS CONTINUE TO GROW; New York, Washington, D.C., Pasedena, and Charlotte.

NEW SEWING STUDY RELEASED; A definitive benchmark from which to measure growth.

HOW TO MAKE NEEDLEPOINT MORE POPULAR...; ...And therefore more profitable.

AND MORE WAL-MART NEW; Responding to critics, hiring a heavyweight, and more.

THE LATEST WAL-MART NEWS; Applauding and criticizing the world's largest retailer.

THE LATEST WAL-MART NEWS; The good, the bad, and the amazing.

REPORT I: TNNA / LONG BEACH; The products, designs, and trends from two needlework veterans.

A WARNING TO U.S. SCRAPBOOK VENDORS; Investigate before signing an exclusive distributorship with an overseas company.

KNIT-OUT & CROCHET; Huge crowds and publicity should result in higher yarn sales.

TNNA NAMES STAR SEARCH / DESIGN WINNERS; Needlework changes people's lives -- in many ways.

LICENCING SHOW UPDATE; Crafts are definitely on the radar.

TNNA/INRG SHOW REPORT; Most -- but not all -- were pleased.

QUILT MARKET, PT. I; Changing colors, more wool -- lots of trends.

THE DECORATIVE ARTS COLLECTION SPREADS THE WORD; Building consumer interest in decorative painting.

DECORATIVE PAINTING GETS A FACE LIFT; New programs should give the category a boost.

WHY THE GIFT MARKET IS SEEING "RED"; The Red Hat Society is permeating design trends.

MISCELLANEOUS CHRISTMAS FACTS & FIGURES; Courtesy of the U.S. Census Bureau.

GIFT TRENDS FOR 2004; Predictions from a leading magazine, and comments on the relevance to crafts.

COMPARING QUILTING AND NEEDLEWORK; One is growing while the other ... some possible reasons why.

MORE VIEWS OF QUILT MARKET; Impressions from a newcomer and a veteran.

DECORATIVE PAINTING REPORT; You won't find change in a rut.

INRG REPORT; Smaller ... and slower.

TNNA SHOW REPORT; By all accounts, the Columbus show was a success.