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


A view of the industry through the eyes of a chain buyer.

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Hey Craft Industry . . . Where Are You?

Where's the teaching, the inspiration?

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 industry 24/7.

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 craft industry.

(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 mike@clnonline.com, or to Kathy at kathylamancusa@adelphia.net.)



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