Craft Industry Alliance is excited to have Darice join us as a corporate member. Darice is a premier manufacturer and wholesale distributor to the crafts industry that carries more than 45,000 products. Their clients include independent retail stores, grocery stores, hardware stores as well as non-profits, teachers, and makers.
Headquartered in Strongsville, Ohio, Darice has its origins in 1954 when founder, Pat Catanzarite, better known as Pat Catan, returned home from the Air Force and opened a display and props shop serving Cleveland department stores. The business grew into a craft store he called Lamrite. By the mid-1970’s the business expanded into wholesale crafts Catan named Darice, a combination of his children’s names. There are now Pat Catan stores all over Ohio, Pennsylvania, Michigan, West Virginia, and Indiana. In 2015 Lamrite, Michaels Stores acquired the parent company of Darice and Pat Catan, but Darice still operates as a distinct business. Today Darice has over 1,000 employees including employs three generations of the original family.
Inside the Darice showroom.
We had the opportunity to speak with Renee Froerer, Director of Visual Marketing at Darice, who gave us an overview of current craft trends. Renee is responsible for watching industry design trends for the company in order to find new areas of opportunity for products. She keeps a close eye on Instagram and watches what bloggers are doing, plus she reads various trend emails and uses WGSN, a trend forecasting service. In addition, she travels to tradeshows and regularly competitive shops locally and nationally. She’s looking for both macro trends and seasonal trends to share within the company and with Darice’s clients. Renee’s other duties include creative direction of Darice’s packaging, catalogs, and trade show booths.
Although Darice is a business-to-business company, the end product is always made for the consumer and that is Renee’s main focus. “The individual maker is very important to us,” she says. Darice’s headquarters are located close to the Cleveland Flea, where makers set up booths once a month to sell their wares to 10,000 shoppers in Cleveland’s AsiaTown neighborhood. “We try to be a resource to makers just like them,” Renee says, referring to the vendors who are crafters. She also says it’s great when customers come to them asking for a particular craft supply. “When we hear repeated requests, we’ll source it.”
Here are some craft trends Renee is seeing in her trend research:
Freezing paint and crushing it to get a pleasurable, sensory sound. Check out this YouTube video to see it in action.
Fiber arts including punch needle, macramé, mending, rope bowls, alternative embroidery
Lettering and calligraphy
Wellness and self-care including soap making, DIY spa, and encouragement quotes
Everyday and seasonal DIY Home Decor
Life organization – from home organization to planners. Renee points out that a lot of crafting now includes curating, for example using a planner involves curating which stickers and decals you choose to use.
Niche memes – Secret clipart diaries teens are posting to Instagram. Learn more about them here. Renee says she is seeing a possibility of niche memes going offline and bringing in a new wave of scrapbooking.
We’re really pleased to announce that Darice is offering all Craft Industry Alliance members a 10% discount on all Darice products including beads, cording, macramé, wood, floral, and basics like felt, ribbon, yarn, paper, and canvas. Not a member yet? Join Craft Industry Alliance to take advantage of this and many other valuable discounts.
Follow the Darice blog for a combination of DIY tutorials and business information and check them out on Instagram for inspirational crafts. If you’re in the Strongsville area call ahead for a tour of the warehouse. We hear it’s pretty incredible.