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

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CMC Trend Report: Indie Crafts

Details on the who,what, and why.

by Craft Marketing Connections (January 7, 2008)

Origin of Indie

The source of the word comes from "Independent". It is derived from the notion that crafting is an expression of independence and going against the norm. Almost all sites include a tag line like "Not your grandmother's crafts". Some are even more hip by stating, "For those who really do run with scissors." These crafters don't want to be associated with what we consider "normal" arts and crafts.

The growing eco awareness and the lifestyle trend of sustainability has created the rise in these crafters. The young new "Millennium" crafter works with mostly recycled and repurposed items rather than embellishing new surfaces. Many seem to think they invented recycling, however the craft industry recognizes the industry explosion from the same movement in the 1960's. As 10,000 Baby Boomers turn 50 each day, Boomers are still the largest crafting group with more discretionary income and more free time to craft. They also have a desire to document their lives. However, this movement has been generated by the younger millennium generation.

Many view crafting as a form of rebellion since they are more unconventional and appeal to a younger, more urban audience as opposed to the traditional crafter. These crafters put their own spin on traditional crafts, making it their own. Many have very feminist roots, while others are just free-spirits. While the gender is primarily women, there also seem to be more men involved in Indie Crafts than are involved traditional crafting.

An Indie Craft Documentary called Handmade Nation is currently being produced explaining the movement. It will be released in 2008. A preview is available at: www.myspace.com/indiecraftdocumentary. This movie clip is an excellent portrayal of the Indie Crafter and the entire movement.

Style and Materials Used

Recycled materials constitute the majority of items used in Indie Crafts. Organic materials, such as cotton and hemp, chemical and dye free materials are popular. The crafts are also tied to homeopathic vendors with aromatherapy, organic teas, and soaps.

The concept of using recycled clothing from thrift stores and repurposing is seen from online stores to DIY (Do It Yourself) shows highlighting demonstrations on the transformation. Jewelry made from bottle caps, nuts and bolts and other unique sources has gained popularity in this sector.

The style reminds most of the hippie generation of the 1960's and 1970's and vintage. Tie Dye, batik, felting, collage and screen printing, bandanas, pillows, tote bags are all popular. The style is very eclectic, portraying more of an art feel than traditional craft.

The Indie Crafter relies heavily on shared resources, such as screen printing facilties. They also thrive on a very close network of Indie Crafters for support, information and inspiration with resources such as www.craftmafia.com, a website dedicated to providing an outlet for crafters to network and share tools.

Craft: Transforming Traditional Crafts is a magazine dedicated to celebrating the DIY spirit by providing project-based content. It appeals to the unexpected and unique materials and techniques that the Indie Crafter is using. (Please see copy of magazine.) It can also be seen on it's website www.craftzine.com.

Stores/Sales/Craft Fairs

Most Indie Crafts are sold online, in galleries or boutiques and at Indie Craft Fairs. The web is the primary source for the sale of Indie Products. One of the largest sites currently is www.etsy.com. It was started by a man in New York and is considered to be the Ebay of Indie Crafts.

The movement has not only created online sales, but also conversation and blogging between Indie Crafters. The interest in journaling and blogging has created websites dedicated to self-expression. The popular "My Space" is also an outlet for these crafters to showcase their work and network with others.

Craft Fairs have taken on a huge role for Indie Crafters. The Renegade Craft Fair (www.renegadecraft.com) is a unique DIY event which began in 2003. Previously, there was nothing out there like it. The creators started making crafts as a hobby after college and wanted to sell it at local fairs. They were amazed that there weren't outlets for the DIY craft community, so they organized a fair centered around a laid back venue for artists and shoppers. They claim to have hit the market at a time when there is a resurgence of contemporary crafting, ranging from comic books and craft patterns to reconstructed clothing, primarily all with an alternative look. Now the Renegade Craft Fair takes place in Chicago and Brooklyn, NY with over 150 vendors (taking applications from over 300) and thousands of shoppers from all over the country.

Trend or Fad?

It isn't thought to be a fad. With the growing "green" trend in America and throughout the world, it is said to be just the beginning of the movement. The influence of various ethnicities and the need to express creativity through self-expression will continue to grow this market. As society becomes more aware of its origins and the need to preserve our environment, the idea of repurposing could explode in popularity.

Experts within the craft industry acknowledge that this movement hasn't fully been embraced due to a lack of awareness. While many of the artists use craft supplies such as paint, glue, embellishments, and beads, a lot of it is recycled and not produced by traditional manufacturers in the craft industry.

Publishers are counting on this trend staying for a while. Many have created entire publications dedicated to Indie Crafts. (See below for a list of some of the current magazines.)

Some companies such as www.homeofthesampler.com, are creating marketing and promotional tools for Indie Businesses.

Colors and Textures

The environment is the source of this year's color trends. Everything seems to incorporate greens from botanicals, blues from water and sky, neutrals from earth materials such as rock, stones and soil. Deep, rich ethnic reds and warm oranges are popular. The color emerald green is a hot color starting with fashion.

Home dcor incorporates the earth as well. Bringing the seaside or outdoor living style inside, has welcomed the colors of turquoise, aqua, coral, bright yellow, light green and fuchsia. Textures include rough wood, rattan, teak, bamboo with leather and glass accenting these textures. People are expanding their living space to include the natural environment around them. Dramatic color changes from room to room have been replaced by colors and styles that visibly flow from room to room following a predominant look throughout.

This natural feel has made "simplicity" its key motto. Organic textures and components of all dcor and crafts is being sought by many, especially in the Indie Craft Movement. Manufacturers are also realizing the green movement and are participating by producing products that are good for the environment or made from sustainable materials. Another way some are committed is through recyclable and minimal packaging. Companies are catching the attention of consumers with their contributions to social causes. Proceeds from sales, employee programs and company contributions to social non-profit organizations are on the rise.

Ties to Other Industries

The Indie Craft Movement is highly tied to other industries. The fashion, arts, music and health food/organic industries are closely tied with this initiative, integrating the primary focus of free-thought and extreme ideas.

One site, www.dailycandy.com, integrates these industries, by sending subscribers free daily e-mail newsletters highlighting what's hot, new and undiscovered. Its primary audience is affluent and educated females and has gained advertising partners from Kate Spade to Evian. The evidence of Indie design is even expanding to this genre. The Latino market is also carving a niche in Indie Crafts. The hip Latino crafting community has grown tremendously. The market is young, trendy, innovative, almost rebel-like artists who use crafts as a way to connect and show off their culture.

As society grows more diverse, we are becoming more comfortable with other ethnic influences. This means Indie Crafting is also seeing the integration of many design influences from European, Italian, Spanish and Moroccan. This style can be seen in the book, Crafty Chica's Art de la Soul by Kathy Cano Murillo.

Indie Craft Websites




















Indie Craft Fairs

Art vs. Craft ... Renegade Craft Fair ... All Star Craft Bazaar ... Indie Craft Experience Sitch ... DIY Trunk Show ... Urban Craft Uprising ... Felt Club ... Craftland ... No Coast Craft-O-Rama ... Crafty Bastards ... Handmade Arcade ... Canzine (Canada)


Adorn Magazine ... Venuszine ... Ready Made ... Craft: Transforming Traditional Crafts ... Broken Pencil


Craftivity by Tsia Carson ... Alterna Crafts by Jessica Vitkus ... Crafty Chica's Art de la Soul by Kathy Cano Murillo ... Not Your Mama's Felting: The Cool and Creative Way to Get it Together by Amy Swenson

Sources: Cindy Groom-Harry - Craft Marketing Connections; Renee Sparks; and the CHA Designer Trend Team

"This new movement is influenced by the history and techniques of traditional handiwork, modern aesthetics, politics, feminism and art. The new wave of craft is a marriage of your grannies handiwork, punk and DIY" Faythe Levine, Producer of Handmade Nation

"Being a crafty chica is a good thing. It's not only about flexing your creativity muscle; it's also a lifestyle - a mission statement that celebrates all things handmade and heartfelt."

~Kathy Cano Murillo, Crafty Chica's Art de la Soul

Editor's note: The Indie craft movement has caught the attention of Business Week, which has two-page article on the subject in the 1/14/08 edition.

To learn more about the Indie craft movement, attend the Demo-nar, "The Indie Craft Revolution! What is Indie Craft? Learn How To Tap Into This Growing Market To Grow Your Business," on Sat., Feb. 9, at the CHA show in Anaheim. For more info, visit www.chashow.org.



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