Challenges, problems, and triumphs
-- from a manufacturer's perspective.
Comments from Indie Crafters
What they want/need from the industry.
by Staff Report (March 23, 2009)
(Note: A recent blog entry by indie crafter Diane
Gilleland started a conversation between her and CLN that
resulted in Diane writing "Understanding Indie Crafters (by an
Indie Crafter)." To read Diane's article, click on the title in
the right-hand column. It also resulted in Diane interviewing CLN
on a recent podcast which is still available at www.craftypod.com/2009/02/27/craftypod-86-indie-crafters-and-the-craft-industry-with-mike-hartnett
. In it CLN welcomed comments from indies about the industry.
Here's is a sampling of the responses.)
What I want.
I am a home crafter; I sew, crochet, paint, and do general crafty
things. I would love to see the craft stores offering more sewing
supplies, especially novelty notions, and organic and free trade
fabrics. I also think I am in an interesting demographic:
approaching 40; I fall between the two major craft groups – old
school and new school.
I think that the next huge movement in craft will be anything
that adds to earth sustain-ability, but I really don't want lame
stickers and appliques that say "recycle." I love some of
the new Simplicity patterns that show you how to recycle magazines
into clothing, and the new home screen printers are pretty amazing!
I feel that indie crafters want better tools and ways to craft
easier, not prepackaged kits. – Megan Dell
The stores are catching on.
I just completed listening to your interview on the CraftyPod
podcast and I have some thoughts and some things to share with you.
I have been both the traditional crafter (cross stitch in the
80s) and an indie crafter (jewelry, altered art), so I concur with
everything you say.
One thing I was surprised to hear is the idea that the big box
stores still haven't grasped the whole indie ideology. I frequently
shop at Jo-Ann, Michaels, and Hobby Lobby, but I am also a generous
consumer of the smaller independent stores (Carolina Moon in Des
Plaines, IL) and craft/altered art conventions. In the past year or
two I have seen a definite trend in the big box stores picking up on
the indie trend.
Some key items: Tim Holtz's line for Ranger; carrying magazines
like Somerset Studio; the amazing variety of books covering
altered books, altering clothing (Subversive Seamster),
making jewelry, embroidery designs (Sublime Stitching), and
So I am pretty sure they have caught the trend, at least in the
objective to bring it to the masses.
Also, you forgot to mention the "GREEN" movement is
playing a large role in the craft projects I see out there. This
plays well with the concept of frugality, but if people are going to
purchase products, they seem to be concerned about their carbon
footprint. Tools made from recycled or biodegradable materials could
be a trend.
Finally, I have seen a buzz out there about people reviving the
crafts from the 60s and 70s; interestingly, many of them are about
reusing household items – cans, plastic bottles, etc.
As far as where the industry can look to see the next wave or to
see what the indies are up to, I would recommend www.craftster.org
Craftster is an online community of indies and I have found
inspiration there in so many ways. The demographics are broad: it is
multi-racial; tends to be younger 13 - 27 (my guess); and primarily
female, but there are some men/boys out there. Threadbanger falls
into the above categories, but I have noticed more male involvement
in the projects and community offerings. – Morgan Holtz Almost
40, white professional female, crafter, indie and ??????
1. "I think you hit the nail on the head when describing
what indie crafters are interested in buying, and how to reach us by
first reaching out to the individual. I hope lots of people in the
biz read and listen to your advice."
2. "[Diane wrote] 'Another important way to reach indie
crafters is to give them some recognition when they use your
products.' That is SO the truth. When DMC listed me as a resource on
their website for my crochet videos, I instantly posted to my blog
to talk about how I’ve used their products to make crocheted
jewelry and how I’d been using their threads for years. I wouldn’t
call that a 'feature,' but certainly recognition that was greatly
appreciated. And to this day, I still get regular hits from their
3. "As far as creating product lines like that though, I
think that the only avenue to take is to engage with individual
crafters, (another point in your article). I don’t want the
industry’s version of what we want. I want our version! And that
will only come about through collaboration ... and listening."