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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

An Interview with Julie Stephani 

Meeting the needs of today's crafter.

by Mike Hartnett (January 19, 2009)

Julie has been involved in all aspects of the craft industry for more than twenty-five years and is recognized as one of the leading magazine and book editors. Julie is currently the editor of HomeArts magazine, the official magazine of the Creative Home Arts Club and the leading general craft magazine in the US with more than 300,000 members. She is also the executive director of the club and is a guest host of Scrapbook Memories on PBS.

She was host of her own TV series, More Than Memories, and has appeared as a regular guest on shows aired on Lifetime, PBS, HGTV, DIY, and TNN. She has been an active member of the trade associations including CHA and served two terms as President of the Society of Creative Designers. She was selected as finalist for the CNA 1994 Designer of the Year. Julie has served as a screener for the American Society of Magazine Editors, presenters of the prestigious National Magazine Awards. She is the author of more than twenty arts & crafts books and has designed and written hundreds of articles for national magazines.

Julie will be attending the CHA Winter Show, in and out of the company's booth, #4824.

CLN: How exactly does Today's Creative Home Arts work? Readers have to join a club? How large is the readership?

STEPHANI: Instead of subscribing to the magazine, members join our club and receive the magazine as part of their membership. We have more than 300,000 members in the Creative Home Arts Club, which makes us the largest craft publication in the industry. Members enjoy our very active website and weekly newsletter, the Creative Buzz. They test products, enter exclusive contests, and win free giveaways. We also offer them books, videos, and special products. We are truly a multi-media crafting community.

CLN: Being club members, are your readers different than basic magazine subscribers?

STEPHANI: Our club members are looking for more than just a magazine to satisfy their creative interests. Besides how-to projects, they want a resource for all of their needs. They want to learn techniques, keep up with the latest trends, see the newest products, and hear about what's happening in the craft world. They want a resource to answer all of their questions. They also want to communicate with each other. We give them all of this and more.

CLN: Is there a typical an "average" reader?

STEPHANI: Overall, our member is female between the ages of 25 and 54. She is interested in a variety of crafts and has numerous projects in the works at one time. She is open to trying new techniques and makes projects for her home, herself, and for gifts. Most of our members are homeowners with families. She considers her creative activities an important part of her life.

CLN: Based on feedback from your readers, what category trends do you see for 2009?

STEPHANI: One of their primary interests is in "green" projects. They want to recycle, repurpose, and renew to make a difference in protecting our environment. They are turning toward safe products that have the same focus. This is across all category trends. Our Make It Green column has received a lot of positive feedback.

The popular trends from the past few years will continue in use of yarns & fibers, beads, and paper. Sewing and quilting are strong and showing growth.

Look for the strongest trend in the area of home dcor. They will be spending more time at home with the return of "cocooning" and will want to create the most pleasant home environment they can afford.

CLN: Is the economy affecting what your readers do and how much they spend?

STEPHANI: We do see them being economical about their choice for where they spend their money. Surprisingly, we saw an increase in the number of lifetime members at the end of 2008. We now have over 77,000 lifetime members who have each paid $360 as an investment in their commitment to creativity and the Creative Home Arts Club.

CLN: For the vendors and new product developers reading CLN, do you see any product gaps in the market, products your readers would probably buy but they aren't on store shelves?

STEPHANI: Our readers still have interest in crafting techniques that are not as popular as they once were. They have trouble finding supplies and patterns in needlework for cross stitching, ribbon embroidery, and plastic canvas. They also like projects that are more involved, but our industry provides mostly quick & easy projects that require limited skills. We simplified for the mass market, but we forgot that our best customer is still the dedicated crafter. They often feel forgotten.

CLN: If a designer wants to submit a project to you, how should she/he do it?

STEPHANI. Simply contact me at jstephani@namginc.com and request submission guidelines.

CLN: It seems many consumers made Christmas gifts this season, rather than buying readymades. Do you see that frugal trend continuing into '09?

STEPHANI: Crafters are a resourceful group. Their creative minds can figure out how to make just about anything less expensively and put their personal touch on it as a bonus. Yes, they will be even more frugal going into 2009, and this is the time to provide the materials and tools they will need to feed their creative passion and interest in saving money by making it themselves.

xxx 

 

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