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