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Creative Leisure News
306 Parker Circle
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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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 events."

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 back."

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 ideas."

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 mike@clnonline.com.)



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