Craft Focus - June/July 2020 (Issue 79)

Keeping calm and crafting on ExaClair’s marketing manager Lawrence Savage talks to Craft Focus about keeping up with demand during the pandemic How is business operating during the current Covid-19 pandemic? We’re continuing to see rapid developments within this situation and we’re adhering to government advice as it’s updated, making sure we support best practice in both manufacturing and the supply chain. There has been a significant uptake in home schooling and people remote working, which has driven an uplift in online demand for items that can aid home-based learning, as well as keeping both children and adults occupied whilst within the home environment. What changes can customers expect from you? We’re supporting our customers throughout this crisis by expanding our available online collateral, and developing other point of sale materials, as well as offering more flexible distribution logistics to accommodate the increasingly varied customer delivery requirements. What products are currently selling very well with people self-isolating? We’ve seen an increase in demand for our Décopatch items, especially with the popular range of mini kits making an ideal indoor craft-based activity for all ages. In addition, our Clairefontaine fine art and handicraft products are proving popular for home schooling and adult crafting alike. What new products have you got to offer? Maintaining high productivity levels, as well as a healthy well- being whilst staying at home is important and the new My Creative Journals offer a perfect solution for those seeking an imaginative way of organising their projects, in addition to reflecting on their thoughts. With traditional methods of correspondence are making a comeback, the Clairefontaine range of pop-up card kits are an ideal way of reaching out to a loved one. Each kit includes an envelope, double card, as well as various cutting elements and a user guide. They are available in a selection of popular themes, including Congratulations, Happy Birthday and Thank You. Another new innovative product is our sewing paper; a durable and environmentally friendly material that combines the qualities of a fabric with a leathery appearance. It’s flexible and robust, making it easy to create tote bags, belts, notebook covers and other fashion accessories. It can be washed, ironed, sewn, glued, embroidered, coloured, embossed, punched, folded and braided! Our sewing paper is available in a choice of six colours; white, kraft, black, gold, silver and rose gold. What can we expect from you in the next six months? Despite the current situation, 2020 remains an exciting year for us as it marks a couple of important brand milestones; the first centenary of G. Lalo and 350 successful years of Herbin. These brands will take centre stage at the rescheduled Stationery Show in September, and we’ll also be focusing on a number of other interesting new products, including the newly launched, environmentally-innovative Jeans & Cocoa collections and Rhodia Touch art range. Stationery, home office, home schooling and adult crafting products are required for practical purposes as well as much- needed home-based entertainment during lockdown, so our immediate priorities include ensuring we support our customers in their online stocking requirements. Do you have any advice for retailers or craft businesses? During these challenging times it’s vital that we work hard to maintain lines of communication between customers and suppliers to make sure we understand individual businesses’ experiences and can respond accordingly. We’re finding social media is a useful way of bringing parties together and sharing ideas, and would encourage retailers and craft businesses to go onto social media platforms and join industry groups as a useful forum for sharing ideas and best practice. By utilising these communication channels retailers and distributors alike will also be able to maintain consumer interaction levels whilst they’re still engaging in the purchasing process. ExaClair 39 BUSINESS