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Here is a selection of features from Craft Focus magazine.

Realising the potential of hobbyist gifting

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.

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Natural selection

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.

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Let it snow

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.

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Family favourites

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!

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Festive Planning

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

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Calming calligraphy

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.

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Why is photography important?

Photography can have a profoundly positive impact on your business. And, if you want to ask yourself why, it's worth remembering the age-old saying - a picture is worth a thousand words. Sara Davies offers Craft Focus readers sound advice

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How can retailers recover and make up for lost time?

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.

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Christmasworld and Paperworld Trends 2021/22

'Together' marks a new era of Christmasworld and Paperworld trends, whose product and style worlds are increasingly converging in global consumer trends. The logical consequence is three joint trend statements with the upcoming themes, colours, materials, inspirations and styles. They provide the international decoration and office and stationery segment with orientation for individual product combinations.

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From little acorns to Treetop Treasures with Trotec Laser

The purchase of a Trotec laser cutter has enabled Bristol-based designer Sabella Tilley to start her own business, Treetop Treasures. Having previously focused on creating handmade paper cut gifts, Sabella wanted to expand her capabilities and be able to engrave additional materials, including wood.

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Halloween chalk paint trend!

If you can't wait for halloween 2020, but dreading the messy pumpkin bit? Then fear not trick-or-treaters, this year's spooky style is all about paint! If you've checked the likes of Pinterest recently (other online influences are available), you'll have seen a new cool craze for painting pumpkins! Learn how to create pretty pumpkins in sweet and stylish pastel shades with Rust-Oleum Furniture Paint and put some style into your Halloween celebrations.

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Hyve Group launches three virtual forums in September 2020

Hyve Group is pleased to announce Autumn Fair @ Home, Glee Gathering and Fashion Together (comprising Pure, Pure Origin, Moda and Scoop), three completely virtual forums happening this September. These forums will provide exhibitors and attendees with the opportunity to showcase and discover new products, engage with suppliers via "The Virtual Showroom", and hear market leading content from retailers and trend forecasters on what 2021 may hold for the industry and how they can kick-start their own sales now.

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HMRC Packing Tax Consultation

At the March Budget, the government announced key decisions on the design of the Plastic Packaging Tax ahead of its commencement in April 2022. This included extending the scope of the tax to plastic packaging which has been filled before being imported into the UK (i.e. bottles which are filled with liquid). Alongside the Budget announcement, the government launched a consultation to provide more information on the tax design and seek views from stakeholders. As a result of COVID-19, the government extended the consultation period by three months, with a new closing date of 20th August, 2020.

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BCTF welcomes hundreds of buyers to online event

The first online edition of the British Craft Trade Fair ran from June 14 – 15 to support the designer-makers who were due to exhibit at BCTF 2020 before it was forced to cancel during lockdown.

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Face masks from Creative Products Distribution

Now the Government has changed its view on face masks and it will be a requirement to have a face mask in shops and on public transport. Creative Products Distribution has stock here in the UK, ready for despatch.

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Story of Elegance's favourite cards

Serah Leke-Oyenibi, Founder of British luxury greeting card and stationery company Story of Elegance, shares her favourite card designs from her collection. Here's what she had to say:

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UK Government supports wages of 1.73 million workers across wholesale and retail sector

Since the launch of the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) and Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS), the UK Government has supported the wages of 1,736,800 jobs in the wholesale and retail sector.

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Mamelok talks to Craft Focus about life during the Covid-19 pandemic

Iconic papercraft brand, Mamelok, discusses supplying bunting, flags and partyware to the many to celebrate VE Day during lockdown, as well as exciting new collections and more...

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Buttons and more with Stockwell Ceramics

Buttons and more with Stockwell Ceramics: Stockwell Ceramics is a craft company based in the beautiful Tamar Valley in south east Cornwall. A small team of Cornish designers working in a converted barn and have produced many thousands of ceramic buttons over the past 25 years supplying museum shops, galleries, craft shops and makers of all sorts throughout the world including The V&A Museum, National Museum of Scotland and York Art Gallery. The buttons are hugely popular in Europe, Japan, Australia and the USA.

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Learn to make a pencil case with Vlieseline

Learn to make a pencil case with Vlieseline: For more than 70 years, Vlieseline has been offering a wide range of interlinings for clothing and creative needlework. Here, the company gives step by step instructions to make your own pencil case, whether you're returning to education or simply to use in the home

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