Are you crafty?
In a small way, or a big way, if you are crafting you’re contributing to the UKs craft boom.
Figures by the Craft Council have shown that in, 2014, there were 11620 craft businesses in the UK with…….43000 employees! Wow!
How incredible.. With sites like Etsy and Folksy showcasing edgier crafts and no lavender bags in site, it would seem this is the way forward.
Previous generations may have been stopped in their tracks because for many it’s simply not viable to have a real shop. But nowadays, with a virtual shop, like Etsy or Folksy, the worlds your oyster. Quite literally!
Our world in general is increasingly virtual and perhaps people’s love of creating with their hands is a reaction to that. Maybe it’s natural to want to know the provenance of bought things. The Antiques Road Show have been banging on about provenance for donkeys years but now people have generally become concerned. Was this T shirt made in a sweat shop? Is my food locally sourced?
And now, with crafts, who made this, who created it, can we know something about the maker.
Just as this is all happening, the importance of making things could be threatened. Art is no longer being taught in many schools. The number of art/ craft related GCSEs being taken has fallen by 25 per cent in the last five years. The number of art related subjects in higher education fell by 46 per cent. Many of us are guilty of pressuring our children towards academic success, could this be why in later life they decide to turn to creative hobbies or part time opportunities?
Handmade is a joy and any of us are lucky enough to be able to embrace it. What better thn choosing to buy a lovely friend a gift that was hand made with love and thought.
Don’t be fooled into thinking it’s all twee and nostalgic either, today’s crafts are edgy and boundary pushing. The more high streets are becoming identical the bigger the opportunity is for craftspeople and their individuality.
Here are some such people!
I interviewed the lovely Victoria from www.littlesquish.co.uk
1. Victoria, what was your first career? Why did you leave?
My first career was as a primary school teacher. I always thought it’d be my only career! I’d wanted to be a teacher since I was 5.
I left once my maternity leave ended after the birth of my first daughter. I was told I was infertile, so that coupled with a difficult pregnancy and traumatic birth meant that I wanted to spend as much time with her as I could. I didn’t want someone else to raise her.
2. Tell me about your second career and why you made the switch and chose this business?
I never really made a conscious decision to start a new career, it just evolved over time. I taught myself to sew so that I could make my daughter some dresses. I had lots of lovely feedback and after a year or so (once my second daughter arrived) I decided to take the plunge and start off with a Facebook page.
Since then I’ve written sewing tutorials for Love Sewing, taken on a couple of wholesalers and started screen-printing onto clothes too!
3. Were you art at school?
I would never have considered myself arty at school. I still don’t. I was always good at English, and was never encouraged by anyone to pursue creative things. My teachers always pushed me to get good results in more academic subjects and I never enjoyed art because I wasn’t “good” at it.
4. A lot of your clothing line is handmade, do you think that’s important to your customers? Do you employ any other people?
I think handmade is becoming increasingly important to a lot of people. People are beginning to think more about where their clothes come from and the ethics behind their production. I also think people increasingly want to buy things that have had some heart and soul put into them, things they can hand down through their families.
5. Are most of your sales made online or by face to face sales? Which platforms do you use to sell your work?
No, although my lovely husband does help me out sometimes where he can (he can’t sew!). It’s amazing when I stop to think about it: I source materials; come up with designs; produce garments; deal with advertising; take and edit my photos; keep my website updated; write blog posts; manage multiple social media accounts; sort out shipping and deal with customer service… It’s no wonder I’m so tired!
All of my sales have been online, I’ve never attended any craft markets as I’d never find the time to fit in the preparation around my family! I sell primarily through my own website, but also through Etsy and All By Mama. I recently had two online retailers place wholesale orders too, which was fantastic!