Here is a selection of features from Craft Focus magazine.
Amy Koranek, part of the Sculpey design team, uses Premo Sculpey® clay to make this fantastic textured vase. Here she runs through the steps she took to using some of Sculpey's tools: the Sculpey® Super Slicer and the Sculpey® Style 'n Detail Set. The project is suitable for intermediate crafters and takes around two hours to complete (including baking time!). For This project, you'll also need a clean and dry glass vase - approximately 4in high by 3in in diameter. Then, you're all set to go! What a great spring/summer creation!... read more
Rashmi Overthrow, head of sales and marketing talks being the go-to supplier in the education sector, their notable charity work and expanding their ranges over the months ahead. Specialist Crafts is based in Leicester and has been trading for more than 30 years. The company has however traded for over a century, originally known as Dryad Handicrafts in the '20s and was owned by Winsor & Newton in the '80s trading as Reeves Dryad until the current owners bought the company, renaming it Specialist Crafts.... read more
Show organiser Hale Events has announced that the 2021 edition of Giving & Living, which usually takes place in Exeter, will be an online event running from 10th-12th May, 2021. This is when the physical event was due to take place until ongoing lockdown restrictions meant it was no longer viable.The digital event will offer a superb product sourcing opportunity to both local retailers and those from further afield who might not have had the chance to sample the delights of this wonderful regional show in previous years. The British economy is like a coiled spring on tenterhooks waiting to unwind and there is an excellent chance that the South West region – the traditional home base of Giving & Living – is set for a bumper tourist season. The exhibition will feature a large and varied selection of retail-ready suppliers presenting a wide variety of lovely new products, many of which are locally produced in the South West or made by hand in other parts of the UK.... read more
Sara Davies discusses how to create a positive working environment with proactive employees.Every business owner wants to make sure that their employees are motivated. After all, highly engaged staff are more productive and contribute to a positive working environment. When people feel more motivated in their careers, they are more likely to work hard, show commitment, produce better work and take a vested interest in their career development at the company. Learning new skills and progressing into different roles encourages people to stay with the business and ultimately, secures the company's future workforce. As a business leader, we want our employees to enjoy work so that they feel content and want to remain part of the team for years to come. I have found that there are some really simple, easy things that can be implemented to motivate everyone, regardless of their role or position.... read more
SES Creative is based in the south-east of Holland in a town called Enschede. The company was founded in 1972 by the parents of the current owner, and was initially focused on supplying educational products, and over time as the business grew, and after several business relocations, settled in Enschede in 1992 to support its continued growth. Damien Collett, head of sales – UK and Ireland for SES Creative tells us about SES Creative, the company with an ethical, educational product range to get children into crafting from year one!... read more
Thomas Bradley, a content writer at Schaetzl, looks at how the nostalgia trend is driving sales of personalised products. The personalisation of gifts has boomed over the last few years. Everything from drinking glasses to sweet jars and suitcases with people's faces on are available to buy as personal products. It's estimated that the global market for personalisation will reach $31.6 billion by 2021. The growing gift culture is certainly helping to spearhead these predicted figures.The use of mass customisationmeans businesses can produce on a large scale while satisfying a customer's needs for individuality. One trend that is helping to drive the sales of personalised products is nostalgia. Retro sweets, jigsaw puzzles, personalised comic books and other forms of memorabilia are pulling at the heartstrings – and purse strings – of consumers across the UK.... read more
Andrea Heaton, director of Littondale Craft Fabrics and Waddings (formerly Ebor Fabrics Ltd) discusses their own collections designed by herself and her husband Andrew, and takes us back through the history of this renowned fabric company. The company is optimistic for the future, being a hobby industry, which has flourished during the pandemic, and hopes the people who have started to sew during the lockdowns continue to do so! Here is what Andrea had to say...... read more
Creativeworld will take place once in 2021 with Christmasworld, Paperworld and Ambiente as a digital event. The Consumer Goods Digital Day is the digital meeting point for the industry and will take part on 20th April 2021.With events effectively banned in Germany, and ongoing international travel restrictions, the International Consumer Goods Show has been cancelled and, in its place, there will be a digital offering, namely, Consumer Goods Digital Day. "The coronavirus pandemic has taken centre-stage, and our plans have not escaped its impact. In light of the current situation, it would not be possible for us to satisfy our customers' requirements for international trade fairs in April or May," said Detlef Braun, Member of the Executive Board of Messe Frankfurt.... read more
Creativation, the highly-anticipated annual tradeshow and conference for the creative industries hosted by The Association For Creative Industries (AFCI) will look quite different in 2021. Along with transitioning to a virtual event to support the safety of its members and attendees, AFCI is excited to co-locate with The International Art Materials Trade Association (Namta®). This virtual event, taking place 15th-19th March, 2021 will bring together the two associations and their flourishing and complementary networks of suppliers, buyers, designers, creators, and more, as well as foster new opportunities for expanded audiences to participate in the event which traditionally takes place in North America each year.... read more
FSB National Chairman Mike Cherry looks at the ramifications of fake reviews for small businesses, and calls on the Government to do more. In the 1990s, we could only dream of a world where we could buy anything at the click of a button from the comfort of our homes. But today, it's a multimillion-pound industry taking the world by storm, with small firms everywhere embracing the digital trade revolution to sell their services across the globe.... read more
Knitting Fever Inc. (KFI) had its humble beginnings in 1974 when Sion Elalouf opened his first needlepoint and knitting store in Great Neck, New York. He was inspired by the beautiful and exotic nature of European and Japanese yarns and by the talented textile artists he met. Craft Focus caught up with Jeffrey J Denecke Jr, chief operating officer of Knitting Fever Inc. to talk about the impressive choice of brands they look after and how they have helped retailers during the Covid-19 pandemic.... read more
Lockdown has seen the spread of mental wellbeing and self-care into the hobby world. From crocheting to watercolours, creative pursuits have become more important than ever to consumers looking for something different to pass the time. Early indications suggest this trend has no signs of slowing. As more people are interested in productive and creative hobbies, how can you capitalise on this gift market? Autumn Fair posed the question to our expert panel, to find out their views.... read more
Britta Kremke owner of Selected Yarns tells us all about how and when the company started and the range of brands they stock. Britta Kremke owner of Selected Yarns tells us all about how and when the company started and the range of brands they stock. The business started as a small B2C online shop (www.schmeichelgarne.de) in 2009, founded by Britta and her husband Carsten. At that time, they had a marketing agency specialised in programming online stores and thought it would be a good idea to have a shop of our own. In 2014, they started their B2B business by importing and distributing overseas brands in Continental Europe as Selected Yarns. In 2016, the couple developed their own brand Kremke Soul Wool. Selected yarns is based in northern Germany, in a small village with 200 inhabitants, right between Hamburg and Berlin.... read more
Keri Ackling CEO of Snow Windows discusses how the company began, their important charity work and how this year more than ever, you should celebrate Christmas and decorate those windows in style. Snow Windows is currently supporting Home-Start - a local community network of trained volunteers and expert support helping families with young children through their challenging times. Snow Windows were introduced to Home Start when Kirstie Allsopp asked Tom to design a Christmas card for them in 2019.... read more
This year, Bostik is busy celebrating Blu Tack®'s 50th birthday. To celebrate this important milestone, Jackie Roberts category manager tells us more about what the company - so well known for it's range of glues, adhesives and of course Blu Tack - has been working on. She also touches on how the company has faced the current Covid-19 pandemic and why it's always good to stay ahead of the game when it comes to new technologies - particularly those that are designed to make life easier for the modern crafter!... read more
Christmas is the biggest season of the year in retail. As retailers we want to make the most out of the last quarter, which is why it's vital to plan, plan, plan. We, like others, have no idea of what the next year may hold, so it's important that we put things in place and think outside of the box. Natasha Necati from CraftyArts gives her advice. Natasha Necati runs the family business craftyarts.co.uk together with her husband. CraftyArts is a multi-award-winning e-commerce retail outlet, where Natasha has gained over 12 years' experience in running the business. She's an expert in this field, enabling Crafty Arts to grow to become a multi-million-pound company. They also run Art of Business which is a teaching platform for shop owners and online retailers wanting to grow their business... read more
Business partners Kirsten Burke & Jill Hembling have been running The Modern Calligraphy Co. in for the past 25 years. Lifelong friends, they made the decision to combine Kirsten's passion and talent for modern calligraphy with Jills head for business and organisation.
In the '90s, Kirsten was regarded as one of the leading contemporary calligraphers in the country, known for her modern artistic style she was asked to lecture around the country and commissioned by national galleries and museums such as Shakespeare's Globe, Bankside. The company's commercial focus was on transferring her lettering style onto greeting cards and wedding stationery and the company's most successful range, FC2 still retails in more than 540 stores nationwide and with over a million cards sold. In the last decade, calligraphy has become one of the most popular crafts in the UK, with everyone wanting to learn it.
The Modern calligraphy company now has 70 calligraphers working for them nationally on high profile luxury events and 15 ambassadors running workshops for them nationwide from Edinburgh to Brighton. Alongside this, Kirsten was commissioned to create her best-selling Secrets of Calligraphy books and developed luxury nib and brush calligraphy kits so that people could learn from the comfort of their own home. According to Hobbycraft, over lockdown sales of calligraphy kits and materials increased by a whopping 400 per cent.... read more
The COVID-19 crisis has prompted the loss of retail jobs across most regions in the UK. Consumers who weren't previously shopping online started to do so, and the halting of the economy has pushed the country into an inevitable recession. Retailers with an existing strong online presence are likely to come out of the crisis stronger, but many high-street orientated retailers will be worried for the future. But how can high-street retailers begin to recover from the hit taken over the past six months and adapt to the new normal? Nicole Huyghe, CEO of Boobook gives Craft Focus readers her insight.... read more