Craft Focus catches up with Craft Buddy

Here at Craft Focus HQ we want to champion small businesses and the best way to do that is to dedicate our stories to being all about you! here's what Craft Buddy had to say...

Craft Focus catches up with Craft Buddy: Image 1  How did your company start; what was the aim when it was launched? What was the response? 
Craft Buddy Ltd began in 2011 in a shed full of spiders belonging to the parents of founders Gary and Dino Wadhwani. The two brothers set out with the aim of offering innovative art & craft products to consumers that would allow them to fulfil their creative ambitions. Their USP was to try to closely follow trends in mass market retail, and mirror them with products for the craft industry – for example, in 2013, they noticed there was a massive trend for Shamballa bracelets, which many celebrities had begun wearing. The brothers quickly launched a Shamballa-bracelet making kit, which proved extremely popular with their customers, selling thousands on TV shopping channels like QVC and gave them a foothold in the industry. Along with the support of independent retailers who helped them to form a wide customer base, as well as some major national accounts including John Lewis, Hobbycraft and Paperchase, the company has expanded considerably over the last nine years, and now sell its branded products in over 20 countries worldwide, working with seven international distributor partners worldwide.

 How often do you launch new lines and what are your best-selling designs? 
The product development team at Craft Buddy are continually on the lookout for new lines, with new releases made almost on a monthly basis. This is partly a reflection of their company ethos, but also of Craft Buddy's important presence on TV shopping channels such as Create & Craft and QVC, whose large audiences have come to expect new launches on a regular basis. TV shopping is also an important testing ground before products are rolled out to mass-market. Their best-selling designs vary according to collection, with their newly launched Forever Flowerz® collection already proving to be incredibly popular amongst crafters. On top of this, their Crystal Art® range has for two years now been a standout performer, adored by both retailers and consumers alike, at home and abroad. Although the number of 'diamond painting' offerings has increased in recent times as this craft has soared in popularity craft, Craft Buddy's Crystal Art® range remains unrivalled for breadth, quality, innovation and value for money; it includes cards, large framed canvasses, notebooks , sticker sets, and even more high-tech offerings such as kits with LED lights and clocks!

Craft Focus catches up with Craft Buddy: Image 2

 
How have you found life in lockdown; how are you planning for the future of your business? 
Lockdown has brought both challenges and opportunities for Craft Buddy. We've found that decisions we implemented early have allowed us to continue operating and manage the increased demand we have experienced, while ensuring our team are safe. We see our obligations to our stakeholders as falling within three key areas: our team, our trade customers, and the end consumers who purchase our products. In terms of our duty of care to our team, we've prioritised the safety of our staff by only allowing two team members into the warehouse at any one time, with these staff wearing gloves, masks, regularly using hand sanitizer and keeping at least two metres away from each other. We provide all this equipment at our sites. Our office-based team continue to work hard from home, keeping in touch with each other via regular calls and video conference.
In terms of our duty to our stockists, we've committed to keep our trade customers stocked up, by continuing to deliver trade orders, and demand has been strong. We have also promoted some of these stockists on our social media channels to highlight to our large base of over 30,000 followers the wonderful businesses across the UK who are remaining open and adapting to continue to serve their customer base, using novel ways such as contact-free home delivery. In terms of keeping fans of our brands entertained and occupied, we've continued to deliver orders received via our e-commerce channels on a timely basis, even though we have seen a surge in demand; and, with our creative team, we have set up a regular programme of weekly Facebook Live demonstrations, which teach our followers new crafts and above all, keep them entertained and occupied. We intend to maintain all of these aspects for as long as lockdown continues, and hopefully beyond.

 Is there anything else you'd like to add or say about the company? 
Craft Buddy are here to help retailers during the lockdown, and we encourage you to reach out and contact us. If you're an existing customer that's continuing to trade, we'll find ways to support and bring awareness to your business; if you are a new customer interested in stocking our brands, to take advantage of the increased interest in our arts & crafts products, we will be able to help you get started. If you have any questions or would like more information, email trade@craftbuddyltd.co.uk and you can discuss how we can help you connect with craft lovers across the country. From social media promotions to offering free product to use for your competitions, Craft Buddy recognises now's the time to give back and help each other more than ever. For further information visit www.craftbuddyltd.co.uk