Kate's Collage
"Vinny Da Vendor"
"Benny Da Buyer"
Kizer & Bender
Memory, Paper & Stamps
Category Reports
Designing Perspectives
Scene & Heard

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



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

Printer Version

An Interview with Julie Stephani 

Meeting the needs of today's crafter.

by Mike Hartnett (January 19, 2009)

Julie has been involved in all aspects of the craft industry for more than twenty-five years and is recognized as one of the leading magazine and book editors. Julie is currently the editor of HomeArts magazine, the official magazine of the Creative Home Arts Club and the leading general craft magazine in the US with more than 300,000 members. She is also the executive director of the club and is a guest host of Scrapbook Memories on PBS.

She was host of her own TV series, More Than Memories, and has appeared as a regular guest on shows aired on Lifetime, PBS, HGTV, DIY, and TNN. She has been an active member of the trade associations including CHA and served two terms as President of the Society of Creative Designers. She was selected as finalist for the CNA 1994 Designer of the Year. Julie has served as a screener for the American Society of Magazine Editors, presenters of the prestigious National Magazine Awards. She is the author of more than twenty arts & crafts books and has designed and written hundreds of articles for national magazines.

Julie will be attending the CHA Winter Show, in and out of the company's booth, #4824.

CLN: How exactly does Today's Creative Home Arts work? Readers have to join a club? How large is the readership?

STEPHANI: Instead of subscribing to the magazine, members join our club and receive the magazine as part of their membership. We have more than 300,000 members in the Creative Home Arts Club, which makes us the largest craft publication in the industry. Members enjoy our very active website and weekly newsletter, the Creative Buzz. They test products, enter exclusive contests, and win free giveaways. We also offer them books, videos, and special products. We are truly a multi-media crafting community.

CLN: Being club members, are your readers different than basic magazine subscribers?

STEPHANI: Our club members are looking for more than just a magazine to satisfy their creative interests. Besides how-to projects, they want a resource for all of their needs. They want to learn techniques, keep up with the latest trends, see the newest products, and hear about what's happening in the craft world. They want a resource to answer all of their questions. They also want to communicate with each other. We give them all of this and more.

CLN: Is there a typical an "average" reader?

STEPHANI: Overall, our member is female between the ages of 25 and 54. She is interested in a variety of crafts and has numerous projects in the works at one time. She is open to trying new techniques and makes projects for her home, herself, and for gifts. Most of our members are homeowners with families. She considers her creative activities an important part of her life.

CLN: Based on feedback from your readers, what category trends do you see for 2009?

STEPHANI: One of their primary interests is in "green" projects. They want to recycle, repurpose, and renew to make a difference in protecting our environment. They are turning toward safe products that have the same focus. This is across all category trends. Our Make It Green column has received a lot of positive feedback.

The popular trends from the past few years will continue in use of yarns & fibers, beads, and paper. Sewing and quilting are strong and showing growth.

Look for the strongest trend in the area of home dcor. They will be spending more time at home with the return of "cocooning" and will want to create the most pleasant home environment they can afford.

CLN: Is the economy affecting what your readers do and how much they spend?

STEPHANI: We do see them being economical about their choice for where they spend their money. Surprisingly, we saw an increase in the number of lifetime members at the end of 2008. We now have over 77,000 lifetime members who have each paid $360 as an investment in their commitment to creativity and the Creative Home Arts Club.

CLN: For the vendors and new product developers reading CLN, do you see any product gaps in the market, products your readers would probably buy but they aren't on store shelves?

STEPHANI: Our readers still have interest in crafting techniques that are not as popular as they once were. They have trouble finding supplies and patterns in needlework for cross stitching, ribbon embroidery, and plastic canvas. They also like projects that are more involved, but our industry provides mostly quick & easy projects that require limited skills. We simplified for the mass market, but we forgot that our best customer is still the dedicated crafter. They often feel forgotten.

CLN: If a designer wants to submit a project to you, how should she/he do it?

STEPHANI. Simply contact me at jstephani@namginc.com and request submission guidelines.

CLN: It seems many consumers made Christmas gifts this season, rather than buying readymades. Do you see that frugal trend continuing into '09?

STEPHANI: Crafters are a resourceful group. Their creative minds can figure out how to make just about anything less expensively and put their personal touch on it as a bonus. Yes, they will be even more frugal going into 2009, and this is the time to provide the materials and tools they will need to feed their creative passion and interest in saving money by making it themselves.



horizontal rule

horizontal rule


Category Reports Recent Columns...
WHY DO KNITTING AND CROCHET CONTINUE TO HOOK SO MANY FANS? Yarn crafter/author shares four unexpected benefits.

WHAT'S HAPPENED TO NEEDLEPOINT? Where are the new, younger customers?


THE PASSING OF ANOTHER PIONEER; Rest in peace: Jerry Kreinik.

2011 PREDICTIONS: JEWELRY; Big, bold, and personalized, one-of-a-king creations.

SEWANEW NATIONAL SEWING MONTH, SEPTEMBER 2010; A successful promotion by any standard.

DUPLICATE A MODEL OR CREATE SOMETHING UNIQUE? If you're teaching a newcomer...

HOW THE QUILT MARKET AND FESTIVAL ARE DIFFERENT FROM CHA EVENTS; The dominance of the chains is a major factor.

THE FUTURE OF NEEDLEWORK; A brief, personal history, and a look into a crystal ball.

THE FUTURE FOR JEWELRY, YARN, AND PAPER; Industry experts react to CLN voters' predictions.


WHAT'S NEXT FOR JEWELRY MAKING? Kristal Wick, Jill Mackay and Katie Hacker have the answers.

ARTISTS + ART MATERIALS STUDY 2009; A first-ever portrait of opportunity.

THE STATE OF NEEDLEWORK, 2009; Excerpts from a Yarn Market News survey.

UPDATE: THE SEWING & CRAFT ALLIANCE; Growth, variety, and enthusiasm.

CAROL GANTZ RECEIVES TNNA'S 2009 TEN AWARD; The association's highest honor.

CREATING NEW KNITTERS THROUGH THE GIRL SCOUTS; An author shares her love of knitting by creating tomorrow's enthusiasts.


AN INTERVIEW WITH JULIE STEPHANI; Meeting the needs of today's crafter.

ECO FRIENDLY & SOCIALLY CONSCIOUS YARNS; Hiring and sourcing local supports the economy and the environment.

THE VALUE OF A TRADE MAGAZINE ... And the value of a hard copy.

"REBORNING" - A NEW FORM OF DOLLMAKING; Realism beyond what many thought possible.

IS SCRAPBOOKING SLIPPING? It's the economy, stupid, or perhaps merely the normal business cycle.

SEWING & CRAFT ALLIANCE; New entity developed to provide education and resources.

CMC TREND REPORT: INDIE CRAFTS; Details on the who, what, and why.

SUPPORT LOCAL NEEDLEWORK SHOPS! Or, how I survived TNNA -- and TNNA's efforts to attract younger consumers.

KNIT, CROCHET, AND HEAL; The medical community is realizing knitting and crochet can be good for one's health.

THE IMPORTANCE OF TOOLS; They help stores stand out amongst the competition, and can provide big dollars from novices.

HOW THE TNNA SHOWS HAVE CHANGED; They reflect positive changes in the industry.

A SCRAPBOOKER'S IMPRESSIONS OF CHA WINTER 2007; A step in the right direction.

THOUGHTS ON THE HISPANIC MARKET; There's potential for the industry, if you understand the culture.

TEACHING PAINTING TO HEROES; A painting teacher helps injured Army vets recuperate from Iraq and past wars.

AN EYEWITNESS REPORT ON THE JEWELRY PHENOMENON, PT. III; Where this enthusiast buys from, and from whom.


AN EYEWITNESS REPORT ON THE JEWELRY PHENOMENON, PT. I; The ongoing saga of a new enthusiast.

WAS IT GOOD ADVICE...OR NOT? Readers disagree, vehemently.

WHAT DO KIDS WANT? Crafts as we know them -- or technology.

FORCED TO SELL DIRECT; Blacklisting by shops is self defeating.

CHA SHOW TRENDS & PRODUCTS; So many products, so little time.

IN SUPPORT OF DECORATIVE PAINTING; It can be inexpensive, easy, and appealing to young people.

YARN SALES: THE EVIDENCE; The data discounts a reporter's glib assumption.

KNIT / CROCHET EVENTS CONTINUE TO GROW; New York, Washington, D.C., Pasedena, and Charlotte.

NEW SEWING STUDY RELEASED; A definitive benchmark from which to measure growth.

HOW TO MAKE NEEDLEPOINT MORE POPULAR...; ...And therefore more profitable.

AND MORE WAL-MART NEW; Responding to critics, hiring a heavyweight, and more.

THE LATEST WAL-MART NEWS; Applauding and criticizing the world's largest retailer.

THE LATEST WAL-MART NEWS; The good, the bad, and the amazing.

REPORT I: TNNA / LONG BEACH; The products, designs, and trends from two needlework veterans.

A WARNING TO U.S. SCRAPBOOK VENDORS; Investigate before signing an exclusive distributorship with an overseas company.

KNIT-OUT & CROCHET; Huge crowds and publicity should result in higher yarn sales.

TNNA NAMES STAR SEARCH / DESIGN WINNERS; Needlework changes people's lives -- in many ways.

LICENCING SHOW UPDATE; Crafts are definitely on the radar.

TNNA/INRG SHOW REPORT; Most -- but not all -- were pleased.

QUILT MARKET, PT. I; Changing colors, more wool -- lots of trends.

THE DECORATIVE ARTS COLLECTION SPREADS THE WORD; Building consumer interest in decorative painting.

DECORATIVE PAINTING GETS A FACE LIFT; New programs should give the category a boost.

WHY THE GIFT MARKET IS SEEING "RED"; The Red Hat Society is permeating design trends.


GIFT TRENDS FOR 2004; Predictions from a leading magazine, and comments on the relevance to crafts.

COMPARING QUILTING AND NEEDLEWORK; One is growing while the other ... some possible reasons why.

MORE VIEWS OF QUILT MARKET; Impressions from a newcomer and a veteran.

DECORATIVE PAINTING REPORT; You won't find change in a rut.

INRG REPORT; Smaller ... and slower.

TNNA SHOW REPORT; By all accounts, the Columbus show was a success.