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 May 1 at h+h americas 2024 in Chicago. With about 800 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 Toni Lipsey of TL Yarn Crafts, Gina Pantastico of Cloud9 Fabrics, Virginia Johnson of Gather Here, and Scott Stone of Gemporia Craft.  We hope you enjoy listening to this conversation and we invite you to join us at h+h americas 2025 which will be held May 7-9 in Chicago.

We begin this discussion with each panelist briefly introducing themselves. Next, we talk about the state of craft retail right now including what’s working for brick-and-mortar shops and for e-commerce shops. We also discuss how B2B shoppers are buying supplies today (from reps, at trade shows, from B2B e-commerce shops, etc.).

Trends are the next topic and the panelists talk about how they spot trends and how they use them (or don’t follow them) in their respective businesses. We discuss the business trend of selling direct-to-consumer and how we should be thinking about that idea today.

Next up, we talk about macro economic factors such as inflation, shipping and freight costs, and supply chain disruptions and how those are, or aren’t, impacting businesses in the crafts industry, as well as how we might protect ourselves from the ups and downs of the broader economy.

We discuss the residual impact of the pandemic as well as where consumers are turning today for education and brand recommendations. We touch on craft publishing and what’s working now in magazines and books. And we dig into the role that big box craft stores play in the consumer ecosystem and how independent shops should think about those largest players.

Finally, we conclude by talking about how to cultivate new, young makers and bring them into the craft ecosystem.

We hope you enjoy this conversation and we’d love to see you at h+h americas 2025 at the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center in Rosemount, Illinois March 7-9. Mark

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