Here is a selection of features from Craft Focus magazine.
Becca Macdonald Studio was born in 2018 out of the basement studio of her home in the world heritage site of Saltaire; which is also known for Salts Mill, a former textile mill now turned art gallery with an extensive collection by David Hockney. Becca Macdonald Studio is a one-woman venture. Although she has now moved out of Saltaire, she continues to create all of her jewellery by hand from the new home studio in west Yorkshire. Becca Macdonald, chats exclusively to Craft Focus about starting her own business and creating personal keepsakes to keep families close at all times.
Setting up a new business is no easy feat, it takes planning, time and dedication. Once you have made a bit of a name for yourself, have started to build up some brand awareness and a customer base, as well as a comfortable number of sales every month, it's only a matter of time before you start thinking about the next step. In this article, Sara Davies discusses business strategies that will help grow your confidence and grow your business.
Mr Yoshio Okada, the founder of Olfa Corporation, invented the world's first snap-off blade cutter in 1956 as a solution to other knives constantly losing their edge and becoming dull. He came up with the idea of a snap blade from breaking off segments of a chocolate bar and analysing sharp edges of broken glass. He realised that if a single segmented blade could be made to snap at given points, you'd always have a sharp edge to hand.Brian Price, national accounts manager at OLFA UK talks to Craft Focus about their renowned cutting tools, proudly made in Japan. Here's what he had to say...
Any buyer will know that the process of purchasing holds more than meets the eye. Equally, any salesperson will know that your pitch should be perfectly tailored to your audience. But what about when that audience is from overseas? The cultural differences in US and UK retail buying are more numerous than you might think. So, what can we learn from purchasing across the pond? Retail expert, Tim Bush, shared his expert insights into the mind of a US buyer at Spring Fair @Home. Discover his top tips for taking your brand across the pond.
Bastian Wollmann, sales director at Zweigart, talks to Craft Focus about the company's strive to be the best in needlework suppliers worldwide. Here's what he had to say...Zweigart was founded in 1877 and has more than 40 years of traditions and history in weaving premium needlework fabrics. We believe to be the world's leading brand for high quality needlework fabrics with a one-of-a-kind range. We're based in Sindelfingen, which is in the south part of Germany outside of Stuttgart. The company was founded by Mr. Paul Zweigart and Mr. Julius Sawitzki (Zweigart & Sawitzki GmbH & Co. KG) in 1877 – therefore the brand name Zweigart.
Bachmann Europe plc was formed in 1989 but has an origination in America back in 1833 when it specialised in manufacturing high-back Spanish combs for the ladies of the southern states. It's mostly known for the manufacture of model railways these days but also distributes a variety of products to create scenery for model layouts, plastic model kits, educational and science craft items, toys and collectables across a number of brands. Bachman Europe is based in Barwell, just outside of Hinckley in Leicestershire. Pauline Hinkley, sales and business development manager tells us more.
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!
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. It was 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.
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.
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.
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!
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 customisation means 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.
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...
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.