We’re so pleased to bring you this special episode of the Craft Industry Alliance podcast. This is a recording of the State of the Industry panel discussion which took place live on stage on June 21 at h+h americas 2023 in Chicago. With over 500 people in the audience, our panelists dove into the biggest issues and ideas the crafts industry is wrestling with right now. It was an exciting conversation among four industry professionals each of whom has a unique vantage point and perspective. 

Our panelists included Hedi Ehlen from Initiative Handerbeit, Jan Hurwitz from Premier Needle Arts, Kamaca Champion from Miss Purl, and Steve Jeffery from Brewer. We hope you enjoy listening to this conversation and we invite you to join us at h+h americas 2024 which will be held May 1-3 in Chicago.

We begin this panel discussion with each panelist briefly introducing themselves. Next, we dive into some of the challenges all businesses are facing right now including inflation, high shipping and freight costs, and ongoing supply chain disruptions caused by the pandemic. We also talk about the residual impact of the pandemic on the crafts industry and how it changed the way we do business.

Next, we discuss the new ways in which consumers are accessing information. Rather than a few larger companies such as publishers and big brands, consumers are now turning increasingly to influencers on social media to learn about craft supplies and materials and to get DIY information. We talk about the impact of this change and what all craft brands should be thinking about going forward.

The panelist talk about the role that the big box chain stores play in the crafts ecosystem and what we, and independent businesses, can and should do to encourage new crafters to delve deeper. Generating the next generation of makers is all of our responsibility.

We also discuss craft trends we’re seeing from our own vantage points, including color trends, imagery, and types of making. Ecommerce and online learning have both become much more significant for consumers over the past three years and we talk about the role of both of these. And finally, we take questions from the audience.

If you enjoy this discussion, we invite you to join us at h+h americas 2024 May 1-3 in Chicago!

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