It’s overwhelming walking the show floor at the Association For Creative Industries’ Creativation, formerly the Craft and Hobby Association Mega Show. Manufacturers big and small are on site to show off their latest products, and it’s easy to get distracted by all the bling. But after absorbing it all, five craft trends truly stood out:
Planners are the new coloring books
“Coloring books are over,” says Faber Castell USA CEO Jamie Gallagher. But he isn’t worried about the pencil business, because planners are quickly replacing coloring books as the breakout craft trend of 2017. There were certainly still a lot of coloring books and colorable objects on display at Creativation, but it seemed to me the crowds were much more excited about day-planners and other personal journaling systems. The Project Life, Heidi Swapp and Webster’s Pages booths were three shining examples of the trend, selling not only blank pages, refills and binders but the various stamps, stickers and tapes crafters can use to customize their planners.
What’s old is new again
Typewriters were front and center in We R Memory Keepers’ booth, which was part of the big American Crafts area of the trade show. Their colorful replica retro typewriters, branded as Typecast, are sold for $199 at Michaels. But late this spring they’re releasing a line of vintage-styled sewing machines as well that are designed to work with decorative threads on many materials. The Stitch Happy machines come in pink and mint, with a faux bois base, and will retail for $149. Another nod to the vintage look: Darice and American Crafts had lots of backlit signboards and old-fashioned letter boards on display.
Edible art is ready to eat
According to the new AFCI study on the creative industry, edible crafts was the second most popular activity for respondents, with 39.7 million households in America participating in the past year, and participation anticipated to increase this year. For the first time, Creativation dedicated a section of its show floor to edible art, also described as the “sugar arts.” The Satin Ice Edible Arts Shoppe served up beautifully decorated treats and offered a number of hands-on demos. Sweet Sugarbelle was also on site with her beautiful cookie decorating line from American Crafts.
A new take on paint & sip shops
Shops where wannabe artists can have a glass of wine while painting together have become a booming franchise business. But a Phoenix-area shop called Pinspiration has a new take on this successful business model: Rather than limiting projects to paintings, Pinspiration lets customers select from dozens of Pinterest-worthy projects vetted by staff with instructions conveyed via iPad videos and all materials included. “We eliminate the craft fail,” founder Brooke Roe says. At Creativation, the store put together a splatter room with 3M’s tape and Tyvek suits and DecoArt’s paint. Pinspiration’s second location is opening in Cumming, Ga., just north of Atlanta in the next month, and are starting to franchise this year, with the hopes of granting five in the next year, and 100 in the next five years.
Retailers are focusing on education
As small bricks-and-mortar shops recover from the recession, more retailers are focusing on education offerings to get customers in the door. Many of the small store owners I spoke to at Creativation were at the trade show to learn new techniques and trends just as much as they were there to make orders. That means there could be more opportunities for designers and crafters to reach new audiences by teaching at bricks and mortar craft stores. “Independent retailers can offer more classes and techniques” than big box stores do, says Shane Cullimore of Crafter’s Home, an organization for small craft stores.