Sonia Spalvieri and Caverleigh Tuer, the talent behind The Craft Aisle Instagram account.
Photo courtesy of The Craft Aisle.
Caverleigh Tuer has been making the same gift for friends for years. With a craft knife she cuts a round hole in the top of a plastic brachiosaurus toy that she’s painted all white. She pours in some small stones and potting soil, then plants a succulent inside creating an adorable dinosaur planter.
Now, she and her friend, Sonia Spalvieri, a video producer, have turned her go-to gift into a 60 second DIY video for their new Instagram account, The Craft Aisle. In the three short weeks since they posted the video it’s been viewed more than 33,000 times. Tuer is thrilled.
The Craft Aisle Instagram account is dedicated to simple craft tutorials with a focus on DIY video. The projects are simple and trendy. In addition to the dino planter there are tutorials for making scrunchies, pompoms, and tassels, paint pouring and potato printing. Interspersed between DIYs are photos of the Spalvieri and Tuer, both 28, roaming the aisles of the crafts store together posing with various supplies.
The pair met while working in advertising for a specialty media company in Toronto and bonded over their mutual love of crafting. “We didn’t really work on the same projects at work, but we would come together due to our love of crafts. Like we’d stay late and do Christmas crafts,” says Spalvieri. One fall Tuer helped her make an Ariana Grande Latte Halloween costume which she describes as “the most amazing thing ever.”
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Dinos + plants = Succulentasaurus. This dinosaur species make a great desk companion, are a great gift and won’t go extinct! 🦕 Here’s how to make your very own succulentasaurus. 1. Pick your favoutite dinosaur species. We reccomend one with a soft back. 2. Carefully, cut a hole just a bit bigger than your plant in the dino’s back. If your dino has stuffing, pull it all out. 3. Paint your new friend. 4. Add rocks to help with drainage. 5. Add soil and your favourite succulent. 6. Admire yout prehistoric plant holder! 🌵
Creating a craft-focused Instagram account was not a spur of the moment decision. In fact, they planned The Craft Aisle for a year before launching in late December 2018. The first six months were spent planning and talking though what the account would be about. “We love our jobs, we love what we’re doing for work, but we felt like it wasn’t unlocking our full creativity,” says Tuer. “We had bigger ideas and things we really wanted to do and just have creative control over.”
They admit to feeling overwhelmed for a while by the sheer amount of online advice dictating how to start and grown an Instagram account. “Then we got together one day and realized, let’s make a plan that we can do. Let’s make something achievable. How can we accommodate this in our current life?” That was the turning point that allowed them to get serious and actually prepare to launch.
Developing a Strategy
Neither Tuer nor Spalvieri had a personal brand or large Instagram following of her own. In fact, both of their personal accounts are set to private. They were truly starting The Craft Aisle account from scratch. To come up with the name The Craft Aisle they wanted something inspiring. “A lot of times you’re walking down the craft aisle at a store and you see something and you’re like, ‘hey, I can make something with that.’ It really sparks inspiration and that’s what we wanted to do,” says Tuer.
Using skills honed through their professional experience marketing television shows, they developed a strategy to for the account that would build excitement and momentum from the start, including several hyperlapse loops of the two of them in shopping for craft supplies. “We may have snuck into Michaels. We thought we’d at least film until we got kicked out,” Tuer laughs. “So we captured lots of content.”
They developed a content plan with each partner taking the lead for one of two main projects created each month. For every tutorial they create four pieces of content for the Instagram feed, plus additional videos and still for Stories. “In TV marketing you never just go out with the whole product.
Give them a Tease
You’ll always tease what’s going to be, or what’s coming. Can you just give them a taste?” Tuer explains. Not only does this strategy help to build anticipation among the account’s followers, it also allows Tuer and Spalvieri to generate a high volume of posts for each project.
For example, a single project will begin with a flat lay image or a stop motion (made with Boomerang) of the materials. Then, a tease of the actual action involved in the craft. “For our punch needle project it was just a three second loop of the needle going in and out which kind of has an ASMR effect,” Spalvieri says. Next, they’ll post the full video. And, finally, a photo of the finished object in a lifestyle setting.
They film all of the content for the month, approximately 30 videos, in a single eight-hour weekend day at one of their apartments. “Lots of things come up while we’re shooting, including some things we didn’t plan for,” Spalvieri says. If it’s cute we just film it and add another piece of content on the fly so we’ll have something extra for Stories.”
One Step at a Time
They shoot everything with an iPhone 8 using natural light and a white tabletop. “It’s very DIY,” Tuer laughs. “We’re embracing it. We move the furniture all around and bring the table to the light near the window.” They’d like to invest in photography and lighting equipment and a studio space “so we don’t have to plan our shoots around the weather,” but that’s for the future. They’d also like to experiment with different types of video including longer series that feature the two of them as well as other people.
The Craft Aisle is definitely influenced by the now ubiquitous Tasty food videos showing overhead shot of hands making things, but Spalvieri and Tuer say they want to infuse a more personal feeling into the account. “We’re not afraid to show when a little mistake happens or talk about mistakes in the caption because that’s a real part of crafting, trying new things and making mistakes.
The Craft Aisle exists only on Instagram. Spalvieri and Tuer plan to branch out to Pinterest next and are considering setting up an email list. A website it further down the road. “We’re just taking one thing at a time,” Tuer said.
Right now the entire project is self-funded, but they’re hoping to secure sponsorships for The Craft Aisle in the future and hope to make videos for craft brands. They’d also like to extend The Craft Aisle into real-life experiences. “We’ve gotten a lot of feedback from people who loved the crafts and want to make along with us. So we’re thinking of doing some workshops, or maybe a subscription box, to help inspire people even more. Just exploring how we can frame crafting in a more accessible way so it’s not as intimidating. Show people they can do it, too.”
Sometimes, the simplest idea is the best. The total reach for the dinosaur tutorial is now over 60,000, a number which Spalvieri describe as “awesome.” “We have lots of big ideas,” she says. “The hardest part was just starting.”
Follow The Craft Aisle on Instagram to see their next craft tutorial.