Despite uncertainty within the industry during the pandemic, Craft Buddy has maintained an impressive trajectory of growth, with a particular standout being the Crystal Art® product range. Offering users a fantastic, fun craft activity at great value for money, Crystal Art kits have provided thousands of families with an enjoyable crafting activity that can be completed in the comfort of their own homes during and post lockdown.
Making use of e-commerce, Craft Buddy found that its own online retail store and those of its trade buyers saw a pronounced uptick in sales with consumers looking for new and inventive ways to get hands on with products and make the most of the downtime that they were experiencing. The stress-relieving benefits of Crystal Art have helped to support this by allowing users to restore a sense of calm in uncertain times, with the concentration demands placed on them to complete the kits helping to block out outside distractions.
Whilst many markets have struggled throughout lockdown, recent reports have shown that Arts & Crafts was a sector that managed to buck the trend and saw a surge in sales. Craft Buddy sells primarily to the hobby, craft and toy industries in the UK and abroad. Craft Buddy co-founder Gary Wadhwani said, "the first few weeks of lockdown were definitely uncertain but as people began to look for new hobbies and ways to keep them entertained at home, we saw Crystal Art become more and more popular both in the UK and internationally. A large influence on this is likely due to the feeling of satisfaction and reward that crafters get from finishing a project they have dedicated so much time to; as well as Crystal Art being a craft that multiple generations of a family can do and enjoy"
For Craft Buddy, this interest prompted internal changes. Whilst warehouse capacity was initially reduced to maintain safety measures, trade interest continued to build. Faced with the growth of new account enquiries and an increase in orders from existing customers, Craft Buddy has swiftly mobilised and bolstered its sales team to maintain their high level of customer service, with the new appointment of Lisa Rayner, as trade account manager working under Dan Ward, head of sales. Gary continues, "hiring throughout this time has been an interesting experience for us, conducting interviews with masks and putting candidates through multiple video interviews. We are delighted to be welcoming Lisa to the team, who joins having worked in buying positions in the fashion industry, and her experience in working with large retail accounts will help support our growth moving forwards."
Craft Buddy is now launching its Christmas and AW20 ranges on schedule, including a collection of new licenses and product formats to meet the increased customer demand. New offerings for Christmas include the Crystal Art Wreath, Crystal Art Keyrings and the Crystal Art Triptych series. Bolstering the range are new products in the Crystal Art Card ranges and the Crystal Art Notebook collection with new license Thomas Kinkade set for launch as part of the AW20 range in October 2020. The renowned artist's work will form part of Craft Buddy's increasing licensed portfolio which currently includes artists Anne Stokes, Lisa Parker, Kentaro Nishino and Claudia Hahn.
Gary Wadhwani added, "we were fortunate that our factories were able to maintain operations throughout the pandemic, allowing us to both design and manufacture our latest ranges to meet seasonal consumer demands. We have had a great response from retail already on our new offerings and look forward to showcasing the ranges to new trade customers as we look to close out an eventful and positive year for Craft Buddy, which is all set to be our best yet."