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The Future for Jewelry, Yarn, and Paper
Industry experts react to
CLN voters’ predictions.
Staff Report (April5, 2010)
The 3/15/10 issue of CLN asked readers to predict 2010 sales
in three of the industry’s largest categories. When the results were
in, CLN asked leaders in each category to react to the
vote: “Only 5.6% predict a major
increase in interest and sales, but 50.0% believe 'somewhat' of an
increase will occur. A full third think sales will be flat, while
8.3% predict somewhat of a sales decline, and 2.8% think the decline
will be substantial.”
(from Linda Augsburg, Sr. Online Editor for Kalmbach
Publishing’s jewelry magazines and JewelryClassesonDemand.com.)
the poll results are spot on. We're confident that the
jewelry-making business will increase or at least remain the same.
If you follow fashion's cues, jewelry is still hot, so customers
will continue to buy and make their own jewelry instead of
purchasing higher priced and not-quite-what-they-had-in-mind jewelry
at a department store.
addition, our industry suppliers are on target with many of the
trends we're seeing in fashion, so those customers who shop at the
mall for ideas will easily be able to recreate their inspiration
pieces using the materials sold in the craft and hobby stores.
example, I was chatting with a 20-something the other day at a
birthday party and I commented on the multi-flower pin she was
wearing on her sweater. (I thought it looked familiar to me.) She'd
seen a purse with fabric-flower embellishments at the mall for $40.
She wasn't keen on buying a $40 purse, especially since she only
wanted the floral accents off of it. Instead of making that
purchase, she headed over to her local craft store where she was
able to pick up the fabric flowers that were similar to those that
embellished the purse (and were already outfitted with pin-backs).
She clustered them together on a sweater for a look that was
on-trend, distinctive, and versatile. By the way, she is also a
knitter and crocheter, so her gift to the birthday girl was a
handmade scarf. I imagine she got the yarn on that very same
as we offer materials that are on-trend, offer good customer
service, offer ideas and inspiration, and offer education, whether
via classes or printed materials such as magazines, books, and
videos (had to get a plug in there sometime!), I think the bead and
jewelry supplies will continue to grow through 2010. Though some
people are working through their stashes, they'll still need basics
and they'll still be looking for something to update the beads in
their stash. The pendant that speaks to the current trend can be
paired with beads bought two years ago and still look modern.
Textured or chunky chains (a hot trend) can be layered with an older
strung piece for an instant update. Earrings never go out of style
and are an easy way to add today's color trend to last year's
wardrobe. So for the 88.89% that feel sales in this category will at
least remain the same, I'm behind you 100%.
“While voters in this unscientific poll were not as optimistic about
paper and scrapbooking supplies, it’s probably important to remember
that scrapbooking continues to be the #1 category, according to the
recent CHA Attitude & Usage Study (see below). In
other words, flat sales in the industry’s largest category are still
substantial. No one predicted a substantial increase, but a fourth
of the voters predict a minor increase and another fourth expect
flat sales. But 47.2% predict a minor decline and 2.80% think the
decline will be substantial.”
(from Nancy Nally, Publisher of Scrapbook Update)
The scrapbook industry appears fairly evenly split in
the CLN poll between pessimism and optimism about the future
of the industry. Interestingly, this reflects my own inner conflict
on the future of the industry as well.
How can I, after spending so much of my time
reporting data about the state of the industry, still feel so
uncertain about its true direction? The reason is that the future
direction of the industry, I feel, hinges greatly on a single
variable right now, one that is hard to predict. That variable is
people, and their flexibility.
Unquestionably, the scrapbooking market is changing
drastically. It is being altered by technology, economics, and
changing lifestyles (among other forces). Old ways of doing things
such as marketing and selling products are rapidly becoming useless.
Companies that continue to cling to those methods will soon find
themselves without a slice of the market. If enough scrapbook
companies cling to legacy systems of doing business, scrapbooking as
a whole could find itself without a slice of the crafting market.
People by their nature resist change. They want to do
things the way they’ve always done it. But that isn’t always the
best way as conditions change, and we’ve already seen the toll that
failure to adjust has taken on scrapbook businesses.
But enough pessimism.
The part of me that is optimistic about the future of
the scrapbook industry believes that innovation and a willingness to
change will help the industry grow and change along with the
marketplace it operates in.
Whenever there is a sea change in a market,
especially a change brought about by technology, there are people on
the cutting edge that lead the way into the new way of doing things.
They are the early adopters of the new technology. They are the
first to try new ways of doing things. They create new products and
new markets for them.
It’s important to remember this during a technology
revolution: while legacy businesses may be lost to the change, new
businesses are also born on the other side of the divide. Focusing
only on the losses gives a gloomy view of the industry as a whole,
and can easily lead to the impression that the industry is doomed.
It’s important to look at recently born businesses that are
revolutionary and succeeding to see what can be learned from them,
instead of dwelling on the death of the past.
So which way is scrapbooking going to go? Is it going
to sink or swim? I don’t know. Because the answer depends on whether
the people in this industry are willing and able to toss aside the
things we’ve always been taught about how this business works and
invent a new way.
Can we do it? I know many incredibly brilliant
people who are staking their careers on the answer being “yes.” The
only question is whether there are enough of them.
only 2.7% believe yarn sales will greatly increase, 54.1% of all
voters think sales will 'somewhat' increase. Another 29.7% predict
flat sales, and 13.5% there will be some decline. No one thought
there will be a major decline.”
Response: (from Karin Strom,
Editor of Yarn Market News)
I took the survey and got all the "right" answers;
that is, my responses jibed with the majority in each category.
Obviously, my knowledge of the yarn segment is greater than my
knowledge of beads and scrapbooking, although there does seem to be
more crossover of yarn and beads of late, and most of your
respondents see both of those categories on the upswing.
I was heartened but not surprised to see that more
than half the respondents see the yarn business as growing and
another quarter-plus see it remaining steady. Having recently
returned from a very successful Yarn Market News Smart
Business Conference in Seattle, with more than 100 retailers in
attendance (impressive in such a small industry, with many sole
proprietors and business owners with small staffs willing/able to
leave their shops for 2-4 days of business enrichment), I must say
the mood was upbeat. Upbeat without "irrational exuberance." This
was a room full of people willing to work really hard to keep an
industry they're passionate about healthy.
During the last couple of years, while the general
economy experienced a major "correction," to put it mildly, the yarn
industry has been experiencing its own correction, with many factors
contributing. Consumers reevaluating how and where they spend their
money. The owners of yarn shops that opened during the boom
realizing this is really hard work. A saturation of product on the
market – not only yarn but books and accessories. Brick-and-mortar
retailers deciding whether to sell online.
What might have seemed like a threat to shops – i.e.,
the Internet – has turned out to be a major community builder.
I feel the industry has really matured during this
time and it seems much more solid, both in terms of shops and
consumers. The stores have learned what it takes to be successful
and the fiber crafters have made a commitment to go to the next
level by learning new techniques and taking on new challenges, now
that they are hooked.
The sophistication of the consumer has increased and
with it the yarns: Hand-dyes are more subtle, color palettes more
refined, while the consumer understands yarn construction and is
demanding better quality products. My prediction for "the next big
thing"? Beautiful subtle novelties and fun, embellished yarns.
As part of The Knitting Guild Assn.’s 25th anniversary celebration,
members were asked to predict what knitting will be like 25 years
from now. The answers, and information about the TKGA’s upcoming
event, are at