No New Craft Ideas

classactFebruary 6, 2009

It has been a long, long, very long time since I have seen any "NEW" and "USEFUL" craft ideas.

I really feel the crafting business is petering out.

Even stores like Michaels and Joannes are sell fewer craft supplies, they seem to be selling more junk items.

It is hard to find a store that sells material.

Years ago I would always take a night class in some type of crafting, but even the schools are not offering these types of courses anymore. No one signes up for them.

Last Xmas the few craft shows that were around were not very good. At church bazaars where they always sold craft items are gone, just see baked goods.

I think the writing is on the wall.

Someone is going to have to think of something new. Not just quite sure what that would be. I feel too that the younger generation does not like all this crafting stuff.

Just my opinion. Thanks for listening.

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Classact, I usually post in the garden junk area but I am a total all-around crafter. Here is a mess of credentials:

I agree with everything that you said. But I know if we could hear our Grandparents speak they would be saying the same thing about us. LOL A young girl use to have to know how to embroidery and make quilts quite early. It was just expected that a woman would be able to work with her hands. The Bible even mentions a woman making clothing for her household in the "Virtuous Woman" passage. Two family incomes seem to keep a lot of women out pushing papers instead of being a homemaker. There just are not as many folks who have crafting time. :o(

    Bookmark   February 6, 2009 at 4:36PM
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WOW, that is quite the crafting room. Looks like you enjoy crafting.

    Bookmark   February 6, 2009 at 6:02PM
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enjoy - There is more crafting stuff, I am ashamed to say. Attic, garage, all closets are full. I always say "I feel sorry for whomever (Only Son, tee hee) has to come along and get rid of my stuff. I was in Heaven when I got to be my grand daughter's "room mother"!!! We hit every Holiday with pure excess!!!!!!! I left those kids dizzy from sugar and their arms loaded down with crafted 'stuff stuff'. I did it for my kids when they were little too. This may be a 'madness' but it sure has kept me out of trouble. LOLOLLOLO


    Bookmark   February 6, 2009 at 7:00PM
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My crafting has kept me sane. I love doing it and my eight year old granddaughter is right there with me... She has the same passion I had when I discovered crafting. There is a lot more competition out there from Wal-Mart , but my sales were better this last year than the year before - people are still coming out to look at the new things andthey look, but from where I sit, they aren't able to justify buying the "pretty" things - it has to be useful too.

    Bookmark   February 6, 2009 at 8:51PM
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I used to sort of think that too, Classact. Then I started reading blogs and seeing all the fun projects some of those gals were doing. Not all are my kind of thing, but sure cute and sure crafty. All the papercrafts are still really popular, and there are sure lots of trash to treasure projects with an emphasis on repurposing things. Even lots of faux food items that are fun, and most anything with glitter.

The hard part is that the supplies to make crafts have gone up in cost, so it is harder to produce a good craft product at a reasonable price. Sometimes it's just more economical to buy at a store instead of making your own.

Check out some of the blogs, and hopefully you will get inspired.

Susie, I love all your wonderful storage in your craft room. You must have so much fun in there creating away!


    Bookmark   February 7, 2009 at 12:51AM
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I am a professional full time crafter. I do craft shows for a living. I've been in the business since 1980.

You are correct when you say there isn't much new out there. And that's because we have gotten away from knowledge of manufacturing. Nobody wants to make anything anymore. They just go to Wally World and buy it.
But there are still craftsmen/women out there that are doing well. But they aren't making "cutesy" stuff. They're not making gag gifts to sell for $1.00 at a show.
Many are taking a good look around and making notes of what THEY would want around the home. And are acting on those ideas.

This is going to sound crazy, but 12 years ago I decided people would pay $25 for nice HOUSE NUMBERS! Useful AND decorative! I bought blank cermaic tiles at Home Desperado and some vinyl numbers online. I made wood frames in the shape of a birdhouse and went to the shows. I would glue in the tiles with the numbers at the show, the customer got a "custom" item, and everybody was happy. My cost for that $25 piece? $2.93! Over those 12 years I sold FORTY THOUSAND of them! I was top vendor at many major shows. I stopped simply because I just don't want to make them anymore. I have gone on to something else. But it's surprising how many peoople still come to the show looking for the numbers. If you have shows in your area, and want to try something DIFFERENT, why not something like that?

Think outside the box! I still see many unusual things at shows. And THOSE are the exhibitors with a line in their booth!

    Bookmark   February 8, 2009 at 7:44AM
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Chris, I guess after Forty Thousand of them you stopped.. I would have too.. but look at all the money you made and you had fun and met so many folks on your ventures.. I love to make things.. and heck half the time I sell them just a little above cost because the folks like them so much.. I think folks now with times they way they are do not have the money to spend on homemade items.. and kids now want all the video stuff.. But the Fleece blankets are still up on top, but myself I love good homemade items.. like the birdhouses. house numbers, potato bags, Christmas swags. Time out dolls, and even some goofy items to make us laugh.. weiner washers, BS bags,. all are fun items.. got to have fun with your crafts and yet still make money if you plan on selling them.. I always say, if you are going to sell them , make sure they are made well and that you stand behind your work..
Thanks for listening to me , too..LOL

    Bookmark   February 8, 2009 at 10:19AM
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Those house numbers sound interesting.

Would you post a picture of them.

    Bookmark   February 8, 2009 at 12:30PM
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I would but I don't know how.

    Bookmark   February 9, 2009 at 7:22AM
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The house numbers do sound great. I actually have the capacity to make vinyl sign letters and numbers at building I manage. Hmmm. Susie your crafting room is amazing. If I ever clean mine up I'll post a pic of it.

I agree with what has been said about craft shows. However my experience with young people has been different. It seems around here that there is almost a renaissance of crafting at least needle craft, sewing and paper crafts. Many young women seem to want to do something creative with their hands where as when i was young (I'm now 53) I was almost the only person I knew who knit crocheted sewed and macramaed, or any one of the above! (I also made terrariums in wine bottles.) Unfortunately for me, my grown up foster daughter is not one of these young crafters, sigh, though several of her friends are. My Memere (french grandmother) once said "people who don't knit or play cards, I don't know what they do!" She knit so many hats and mittens in her old age (and she lived to be 91)to give away through charity organizations. She also made just about everything at some time during her life. Any talent I have probably came from her.

    Bookmark   February 9, 2009 at 7:23AM
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hmm - new crafts? that's kind of a hard one - there really isn't anything that I do that my grandmother didn't learn from HER mother - my tools and materials may have evolved, I crochet trivets out of cotton jersey instead of doilies and antimassacars from heavy thread and patchworking in upholstry fabric instead of broadcloth or calico.

but that's a whole different thing than the 'crafts for vending' - I don't sell stuff so much as I do bespoke work for folks, and the only reason I do the whole hippy-jewelry-vender thing is because it pays for itself - some festivals, a vending-and-camping package is cheaper than tickets and camping : )

but even the 'fine' crafting end of things gets stale now and then - when you go to the Sugarloaf show for the maple syrup, either you're jaded, or the whole thing needs a good shaking and airing, eh?

    Bookmark   February 9, 2009 at 10:03AM
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christopherh - I sent you an e-mail through THS offering my services of posting a posture to the group - all you have to do is send me the picture and I can post it for you...

    Bookmark   February 9, 2009 at 10:39AM
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Hey China cat, what's your hippy-jewelry-vender thing? And what a great idea if you want to go less expensive to a festival. I seem to have a unique (strange) vision. My crafts appeal mostly to me and a select (small, lol) group of my friends. I admire people who produce enough to sell, and try to buy hand made local gifts if I'm not making it myself, but its true that there's not as much unique out there as I'd like to see.

    Bookmark   February 9, 2009 at 10:50AM
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This is an interesting thread and seems to have developed two different views, crafts for sale and crafts for personal use that may or may not be for sale.
I don't know if the craft business is petering out or not but the last craft show I attended was an un-show......unoriginal, uninspired, unattractive. It was also unthrifty, being rather expensive, not only to get in but the prices too.
I wonder if the definition of "craft" has become unclear. For example, the name of this forum is "Crafts and Decoration", why the distinction? IMO, the majority of items found at "craft" shows fall into the "decoration" category. If a person's decorating taste isn't along the lines usually found at these shows then they aren't going to buy.
A "craft" used to be a useful item that wasn't machine made, it was handcrafted. However just being 'handcrafted" doesn't necessarily make a "craft". It could be just a "decoration" having no real function and therefore must appeal to personal taste.
Our modern lifestyle, for whatever reason, doesn't allow for many traditional crafts used in their traditional manner. Remember the Foxfire book series? I love those books. One of the reasons those books and others like them were written was to document a lifestyle before it disappeared. Anthropology was the driving force. However once you've lost the life connection for a skill you've often lost the reason for it. So what was once a necessary "craft" too often turns into a unnecessary "decoration".
Before anyone misunderstands me I'm all for keeping what's termed "folkways" alive, I feel they are a necessary part of life. The urge to create and beautify is uniquely human and should be cultivated. Modern living has dealt a severe blow to that urge, again IMO.
I do think that there is a renewed interest in handcrafts but it seems to be in
crafts that have a function. I also think the recycling/repurposed items are popular and will keep gaining in popularity.
Perhaps people are getting tired of "fluff", for lack of a better term, in their lives? While I admire the creative aspect and think the item itself is cute, how many glass gem and Fimo toilet paper tubes do I really need?
When economies take a downturn, whether real or perceived, people tend toward useful, practical purchases. "Craft" shows and crafters have to follow this trend or be left behind.
Just some thoughts of my own.
I hope I haven't offended anyone as that was not my intent.

    Bookmark   February 11, 2009 at 5:16AM
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Sorry but I neglected to mention another point.
When did crafting go from being an activity done for personal enjoyment to a business? I realize there's always been a bit of a commercial aspect to it, either for money or as a barter item, but when did it go so commercial?
Did commercialism creep in like Bermuda grass or overtake it like kudzu?
Perhaps that's one reason there is decline in interest in "crafts", the uniqueness of it is gone?
I don't know...just wondering.

    Bookmark   February 11, 2009 at 5:27AM
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Crafts as a business has been around for years. Back in the depression people were making things to sell just to survive. Thee's a craft show in New Hampshire that's celebrating its 75th year. I have been in the "business" since 1980. I know professional crafters that like me, do this for a living. And many are making six figure incomes. I do shows with promoters that have been promoting craft shows for over 30 years.

But I'm at a certain level in th ebusiness. But if you go to a school or fire hall or church craft show, you'll see the BACKBONE of this industry. This is where 90% of crafters exhibit. That's where you'll see everything from retired couples making crafts to suppliment the Social Security or moms wanting just some time out and making a few bucks on the side. You'll also see beginners making all kinds of mistakes. But that's the BEST place to make them. You'll see friendships that will last for years because they actually have something in common.

I was in my mid 40s when I walked away from the corporate world in 1994 to do craft shows full tims. I have only one regret. And that's that I didn't do it 10 years earlier.

I now do 40+ shows per year. And only one show is one day. The rest are three days with a few four day shows thrown in. I'll spend anywhere from $50 to $750 for my space at the show. And for that $750 I'll get two chalk marks on the floor and a plug.

I love what I do for a living. I have NO intentions of retiring.

Chris in VT

    Bookmark   February 11, 2009 at 7:24AM
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I'm also full time: have been for 18 years. I'm a metalsmith. The downturn recently has me and many in our business struggling, though. Material costs have gone up at the same time as people expect to get everything for a "Made in China" price. This may be my last year.

I came from a family where everybody made things. From music to the music stand, from dinner to the plates to eat it on, on top of the crocheted tablecloth. Right now IÂm making oak framed trivets from leftover tile from my kitchen backsplash, doing everything, the mosaic and the woodworking. I plan on cutting back on shows and spending some time fixing up MY house with all the things I can do.

    Bookmark   February 11, 2009 at 5:44PM
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Hello all... its been awhile since I have posted anything... but saw this post and had to put my two cents in... I have all was been "old fashion" as my children would say... I enjoyed making things.. for my children, husband, family, and so on... oh and for myself and home... I love learning new things... from making homemade dumplins to quilting... I was a stay at home mom and wife until all my children went to school.. then my husband got laid off and I had to go work outside the home... worked for many years.. I no longer work outside the home.. I am a stay at home grandma now... to keep sane I craft... I started making things for my 5 month old granddaughter... simple things like pillowcase dresses, hair bows, bow holders.blankets...all kinds of baby stuff... friends started asking for me to make them some..... I don't mind but when they ask how much I am going to charge... that makes me nerves... just because I never know if I am charging enough or not enough... now my friend wants to get a booth at out local twice a year show thing... not sure how to discribe it.. anyway... I was excited cause I use to sell stuff with my dad yearsssssss ago... I loved it cause I am a people person... I would talk to everyone and most of the time they would buy something... my dad did woodcraft stuff... I would most of the time paint them items... but loved going to different events and meeting people of seeing other vendors for other events... the thing I learned in the past is to sell with pride... sell items that are useful.. sell items that you would buy... sell items that you would buy for others... they main thing is that YOU have to "SELLIT".. you cant just sit there with your arms and legs crossed wondering why no one is buying your stuff... you have to be a saleman and sellit!...
Boy did I go way off the topic.. lol... I am proud that I love to craft... I think my family is too... cause they are always asking me to make stuff..which makes me proud...

Sorry no new ideas just proud to craft!

    Bookmark   February 12, 2009 at 1:19AM
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Missy, you hit the nail on the head with your statements about selling. I see far too many exhibitors sitting in a chair and READING! I only bring my chair to sit in when there's nobody around. I STAND 90% of the time. No matter if it's one day or four days. And many exhibitors should own a full length mirror!

You have to greet your customers. I "banter" with them. I try to say positive things and things that will make them smile or laugh. As an example, when somebody buys something and pays by credit card and signs the receipt with their left hand, I say that "everybody in the world was born right handed. And only the best of us overcame it". That emits a laugh from everybody and they leave in a good mood.

Even if it's 3:30 on Sunday and I've been there since Thursday, I always get exited about my product. Because that customer deserves just as much for their admission fee as the first one through the door.

    Bookmark   February 12, 2009 at 7:44AM
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Chris, I agree with you.. I have gone to shows and seen the crafters sitting on their butts and you almost have to slap them to get their attention.. I can remember at one time I use to do demos for scarf clips. at the big department stores.. I would show the ladies how to use the scarf clips instead of tieing their scarfs.. I would use some of the finest scarfs to show them and before you know it one of the customers would want to buy the clip and the scarf and heck I could not find a salesperson to sell it to them..and I could not since I was just someone who did the demo.. and the scarfs were very expensive the clips were not.. just goes to show.. you have to be a salesperson and love what you are doing to make it in the craft business. I can also say you can talk to customers and never make a sale that day..but you may make two or three sales from just word of mouth from that one person you just talked to and you were so nice and friendly and showed how much you liked what you do.. Good advice Chris and Missy

    Bookmark   February 12, 2009 at 9:08AM
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OK - my turn at the soapbox... I want to slap the vendors who come with a friend and >>>>>>>> TALK ALL DAY LONG!!! ...or the vendor who brings their phone and TALKS ALL DAY!!! Drives me nuts!!!The Golden Rule is the perfect montra for selling. Information and knowledge of your products are a priority too. I sell the potato bags and I show how to use them - there was another gal selling them at a show I was at - she didn't know how to use them - ummm - she sold 5 in two days,,, Wonder why... I am making 5000 neck coolers to be ready for our fair this year - I have to know how to use them - how to clean them - how NOT to use them - you have to be knowledgable about your products! I love people and making them laugh and my sales are good!

    Bookmark   February 12, 2009 at 10:31AM
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YOU ARE SOOOOOOOOO RIGHT GRANDMABONNIE....Yahoo !!!!! so glad so many of us see things in the right way.. I love to go and sell things.. heck I sell new Cars and Trucks to other New Car dealerships everyday.. so I know what it means to talk nice and be nice to customers.. Our dealership makes the most on Dealer trade income than any other dealership in our area.. I treat the other dealer traders with respect and try my best to help them.. It all goes back to treat others the way you would want to be treated.. and you are so right about knowledge of your product.. It was like when I made timeout dolls I never used wood or PVC pipe in mine cause I was afraid a child would get hurt.. I use extra stuffing and I sold a ton of them.. and yeppers they were just like my kids and I treated them as so.. so when the customers bought them, they felt that they were buying something special.. You guys keep up the good work.. and keep coming up with ideas.. there are always some new ideas that no one has tried in your area.. Heck who would have thought I would be making potato bags and neck coolers too, thanks to Grandma Bonnie..for sharing her talents and knowledge.. Chris you keep crafting.. love your house numbers..

    Bookmark   February 12, 2009 at 12:20PM
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It seems to me that in the distant past everyone didn't make everything, unless they had to. Some people were better at some things than others, just like today, so their whatevers would be in demand. Barter or cash. First necessities then things to make life easier or for amusement and beauty.
The other thing I've noticed not just in this thread, is the idea that crafting keeps a person sane. I absolutely agree with that. I NEED to make things.

    Bookmark   February 12, 2009 at 5:26PM
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Bonnie, you mention people talking on the phone. Can anybody tell me what we did before cell phones? I have a cell phone and the ONLY one that has that number is my wife! But then again we don't have cell service where we live, so they aren't attached to everyone's ear.

I was at a Country Folk Art show where the space fee was $600 for a 10x10. There was one exhibitor ignoring her customers.... While watching a DVD! She was so engrossed in the movie she lost hundreds of dollars in sales. Needless to say, she complained to everybody who would listen how lousy the show was.

Chris in VT

    Bookmark   February 13, 2009 at 7:31AM
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