Creative businesses benefit from keeping tabs on trends — it’s one way to stay ahead of the curve with your marketing efforts, and prepare for changes in technology that impact your business. Here’s what’s on deck for the craft world in 2019:
Photo courtesy of Pantone, Sainte Marie Textiles
Pantone‘s color of 2019, Living Coral, is timely — growing concern about global warming and the destruction of coral reefs make this selection a sobering choice, as it may not be visible in the wild much longer. According to Pantone, “The engaging nature of PANTONE 16-1546 Living Coral welcomes and encourages lighthearted activity. Symbolizing our innate need for optimism and joyful pursuits, Living Coral embodies our desire for playful expression.”
Many are predicting a rise in warm-toned hues in 2019. Etsy trend spotter Dayna Isom Johnson cites Burnt Orange as a color to watch, and Pinterest cites a 45% increase in searches for “mustard yellow.” Marigold yellow is an it-color for fashion in 2019 after a strong showing at NY Fashion Week, and Etsy dubbed the trendy color “Gen-Z yellow.” Warm colors reigned at Milan’s design week, and design experts Dezeen predicted a return to 70’s-era colors in home decor. If you still need more proof that warm colors will win the day in 2019, Lidewij Edelkoort, a Dutch trend forecaster predicts: “textiles in warm and saturated tones, like camel brown, dusty pink and yellow, rust, mud, and a wasabi green,” will be popular for fall 2019.
As for fine art trends, bigger is better when it comes to wall art. Art buyer and trend expert Sandra Chandler expects to see more large-scale pieces take center stage in homes, especially art around themes of Wellness and Escapism, which she attributes to an uptick in searches like “tranquility,” “solitude,” and “nature” on Art.com. The Wall Street Journal polled 200 design professionals to identify decorating trends for 2019, and many agreed that “Big, Cheap Art” was making a comeback (for context, the article cited $399 for a 3x4’ giclée print, so “cheap” is a relative term). Scaling up your artwork could result in a big payoff in 2019.
Photo courtesy of Katrina Rodabaugh
Interest in owning handmade goods is not expected to wane in the new year. Expect strong mainstream interest in handmade ceramic pottery and sketchbooks — Pinterest showed a 3-4x jump in searches for the terms last year. Shopify cites minimalist jewelry as a potential bestseller for 2019, as Google trends is showing a steady uptick in searches. I’d also predict a continued interest in visible mending techniques and supplies, coming off the success of books like Mending Matters by Katrina Rodabaugh (which is currently sold out and entering its second printing). UK craft supplier Hobbycraft agrees, putting Wabi Sabi Mending in their trend report for 2019.
As minimalist living grew in popularity over the past few years, we’ve seen a rise in interest in zero-waste living — Pinterest saw a 75% jump in related search terms last year. Marie Kondo’s new show, Tidying Up, just debuted on Netflix, which seems to suggest that minimalist living is here to stay … so it may surprise you to hear that trend experts are predicting a rise in maximalist decor in 2019! Johnson says in her 2019 trend report: “Maximalism is the moment we’ve been secretly waiting for – a rebellion against the often unrealistic quest for order in our homes and lives. What was once considered clutter is now on-trend – clashing patterns, styles, and colors are all permissible, as there’s no limit to this eclectic trend.”
Photo courtesy of Maryanne Moodie
As Millennials continue to value “experiences over things,” subscription boxes like The Crafter’s Box are blazing a trail in the industry, offering new experiences to budding crafters who want to try out new methods and techniques. Similarly, Airbnb has created their Experiences platform for travelers looking for authentic experiences when visiting a new city, providing new venues for craft educators to connect with students. Many of the big craft companies (besides Joann) have been slow to adapt to a younger market, so there’s lots of room for growth in 2019.
These days, craft can be both art and self-care. “We’re living in really disorienting times,” culture trend expert Linda Ong shared in a recent interview. “Mental fitness is the new health and wellness movement, and creativity is the new workout,” Ong said. “Doctors are beginning to prescribe that people do activities such as knitting, crossword puzzles, or meditation the way they used to prescribe they do exercise.” Craft continues to be a source of comfort for many — with that in mind, thick, cozy knitting and crochet projects will dominate for 2019. Searches for textile art grew by 1718% on Pinterest last year, so the desire for craft and coziness will likely extend to home decor.
In 2018, unique retail environments thrived as more traditional stores like Sears faltered. Brands aimed to create more inspiring, immersive shopping experiences, like shoppable apartments for brands like Floyd and Brooklinen, and highly Instagrammable holiday season pop-ups for ecommerce brands like NY Mag The Strategist, Eloquii, and Brandless. If your business is online-only, could you bring a fresh approach to your trade show or craft fair booths, mirroring the memorable shopping experiences of these e-commerce brands?
Photo courtesy of Google
The biggest change for many in the craft industry will be the shift to mobile shopping. In their Black Friday + Cyber Monday (BFCM) report, ecommerce giant Shopify reports, “Mobile shopping has firmly established itself as the new normal, with 66% of sales from Shopify merchants happening on mobile during BFCM versus 34% on desktop.” This is a huge swing from just a decade ago, and backs up what we’ve seen from Google, as they now give preferential ranking to mobile-friendly websites. In 2019, a mobile-friendly website and ecommerce shop is vital. Thankfully, many website builders, including Shopify and Squarespace, offer responsive, mobile-friendly themes. If you’re not sure where to start, check out Google’s guide to best practices for mobile-friendly sites, and try out their mobile-friendly test to see if your site makes the cut.
Trends are just one way to plan for the future of your business. Thinking about the changes ahead can be a helpful way to guide your marketing strategy, or prioritize your projects for the year ahead. How might you use trend forecasting to make changes in your business?
Erin Dollar is an artist, surface pattern designer, and founder of Cotton & Flax, a collection of boldly patterned textile home decor that is designed and manufactured in California. Her work has been sold in 100+ retail shops, from indie boutiques, to large mass-market retailers like West Elm, CB2, and Need Supply. By growing her ecommerce business to accommodate wholesale buyers, she has built a sustainable business that generates income year-round, and built a platform for long-term growth. See her webinar, Wholesale for Craft Business, in our archives.