Crafting: A Silver Lining In A Tough Economy

We are all looking for ways to stretch our family budget! I am so happy to be a part of a business that allows me to continue to make money in these hard times. I didn’t originally join Stampin’ Up! to make money; rather, to get a “discount” on my own products. I quickly found that I wanted to turn my “hobby” into a business and I have been blessed to find people along the way who were also looking for a business that offered, income potential, flexibility, incentive trips, and most of all…fun! I found this wonderful article and thought my readers would enjoy it. AND, if this strikes a cord with you, please email me so I can share with you what Stampin’ Up! might have to offer you!

by Laura Tiffany,

In economic times like these, the urge to hunker down in your house,
limit spending and jump off the merry-go-round of shopping, credit and
consumerism can be strong. And one way for people to step outside the
system, if just for a few hours a week, is crafting. Rather than being
a consumer, a crafter becomes a manufacturer; the end result of a night
on the couch isn’t three hours of empty Tivo space, but a scarf, toy or
handmade holiday ornament that one can give away, keep or sell.

While data are still being compiled for 2008, the Craft and Hobby
Association reported that in 2007, craft sales in 39 categories reached
nearly $32 billion, and nearly 57 percent of U.S. households engage in
crafting. Online handmade goods site
reported $88 million in sales in 2008, a significant increase over 2007
sales of $26 million. With 1.9 million members and more than 200,000
sellers, Etsy enjoyed $9.9 million in sales in January alone.

Like most retail sectors, it’s likely that craft sales may decrease in
the coming months. But all signs point to more and more people diving
into this market, both as consumers of supplies and handmade gifts, and
as entrepreneurs selling their own items and supplies.

At the January CHA show, spirits were high as manufacturers and
retailers recognized that the economic climate creates more folks ready
to put needle to fabric and stamp to paper to join a crafting
revolution that’s been in the works for more than a decade.

Some of the big crafting trends present at the show, which featured more than 900 exhibitors, include:

  • Scrapbooking.
    This is the most robust craft category that CHA tracks, and
    scrapbooking companies had by far the strongest presence at the show.
    While paper still rules scrapbookers’ supply cabinets, many crafters
    are taking skills such as stamping, painting and decoupage into other
    media for jewelry making–like sandwiching tiny art between glass
    slides for a pendant or stamping blank wooden bangles.
  • Crafts for kids. Kid-specific kits and products are
    hotter than ever, even in this tough economy. “Unfortunately, the
    schools cut a lot of creative areas, so it’s up to the parents to do it
    at home. And I really think [crafts have] become an important part of
    the American family,” says Jenny Lowe, design director of Moorestown,
    N.J.-based Sbar’s Inc.,
    a 50-year-old supplier of family-friendly crafts that has lived through
    its share of recessions. “Kids are just so eager to accomplish
    something. And let’s face it–crafting gets them away from the

    Some companies foresee growth in this area because of parents wanting
    to craft with their kids. Parents can purchase a $15 kit and have a fun
    evening at home, rather than pay $50 to take the family to the movies.
    There are also ancillary customers, such as church camps and Scout
    troops. And of course, there’s always the need for kids’ birthday
    gifts, too.

Tough times tend to spur creativity. As an entrepreneur, there are
few better ways to channel your creativity than in a crafts business.
Whether you start to find your artistic voice or you do it to sell
personalized gifts, crafting makes the most out of your creativity–as
an artist and as an entrepreneur.


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