39 BUSINESS ICHF’s Craft Report Business development checklist: 1. Invest in your business to satisfy increasing audience demand as the consumer craft market grows and new customers come into the market. 2. Make steps to get on the wavelength of the new breed of crafter – The New Artisans – understand them and connect with them 3. Make your retail offering diverse and innovative to satisfy the audience’s creative curiosity and increased leisure time 4. Try building in a sense of urgency to get kits used and replaced – they are the perfect trial vehicle, find ways to ensure customers quickly complete and return for more 5. Build the concept of ‘treating yourself’ into promotional activity to capitalise on increased spending and the self-reward mentality. 6. Having a unique brand that reflects your values will help seal loyalty - today’s savvy shopper expects a seamless experience between online and in person shopping 7. Make your store worth the visit! There’s a pent-up desire for experiential shopping – take it up a notch from simply functional shopping 8. Use social media to your advantage and in all stages of the project journey - you won’t reach the New Artisans without it 9. Forge links with relevant wellness and mindfulness influencers outside the craft arena for strong social media content and activity 10. Communicate your environmental credentials - the consumer increasingly wants to shop more responsibly Linda Jones is founder of independent research consultancy LJ&A. To receive a copy of the 2021 Craft Report register for CHSI Stitches 2022 at www.chsi.co.uk. The results of the Craft Report 2022 will be released at the show at the NEC on 27th-28th February 2022. For more information about the UK’s leading trade show for the craft industry visit www.chsi.co.uk take commissions spending 60 per cent more than their hobbyist counterparts. Interestingly, 18 per cent of the audience claim to be spending less on supplies and equipment, in part due to lower disposable income but also driven by the need to use up the stash of materials and kits. Could this be a year of stash replenishment? 6. Online behaviour The past 18 months has enforced changes in shopping behaviour and while some might slip back to their former habits, there seems little doubt that this has encouraged consumers to re-evaluate how they wish to shop in the future. Out of necessity, almost everyone shopped online for craft during the pandemic, and though most of the sample continue to prefer a mix of bricks and clicks, there has been a shift to wanting to shop mainly/exclusively online, which now accounts for almost one in three. 7. Experiential shopping However, it’s not a case of developing an online offer at the expense of bricks and mortar, you need to nurture both. There seems to be a pent-up desire to get back to physical shopping at stores and shows and attend real life workshops and groups, alongside operating online. The largest sub-group of the audience plan to use a mix of online and in-store for shopping post-pandemic. 8. Growth in social media Social media and craft are the perfect bedfellows – it’s visual, creative and sociable and used to enhance every stage of the crafting journey. Our report finds that social media is one of the top three influences on taking up a new craft discipline and is top of the list for younger crafters as a source of inspiration. Social media also plays a key role in providing help and advice on techniques, keeping the audience informed on trends and provides a forum for sharing output and linking with other crafters. 9. Crafting benefits Our research shows an increased relevance of craft’s wellness benefits. Wellbeing may have started as a side benefit to craft but it is now a major driver of satisfaction, quoted by just under 50 per cent of the sample rising to over 60 per cent amongst new and younger crafters. In Covid times, working from home has also become the norm, so craft offers the perfect antidote to screen time, to help unwind and de-stress with 70 per cent agreeing that it has helped them get through the pandemic. 10. Buying more responsibly Another area of major social change identified in our survey is responsible shopping. In broad terms around 40 per cent of the sample consider environmental issues when shopping for craft supplies. What is clear from the data, is that shopping in a responsible manner makes the buyer feel good about the purchase and that certain claims have begun to resonate more with the consumer. Supporting local or small independent businesses is also a key driver for three-quarters and buying British is the aim for at least half the sample.