Reflections on 2018 Predictions

Reflections on 2018 Predictions

Before we say goodbye to 2018, let’s take a look at some of the trends we predicted at the start of the year, and how they did (or didn’t) impact crafty businesses.

Most of our predictions centered around the “making” culture at large; this in and of itself was also an accurate prediction for 2018. We saw an increase in multicraftual makers who were willing to try just about anything – punch needle, cross stitch, macrame, and so on – in addition to their preferred craft of sewing, knitting, or weaving.

The notion of dabbling isn’t anything new, but retailers who were able to anticipate what new crafts their customers would be interested in trying were able to reap the benefits by hosting classes and sourcing materials to introduce them to the craft so that their customers didn’t look for these items elsewhere. We see no end to this thirst for learning new crafts in 2019 and predict that makers will experiment with combining a variety of disciplines, techniques, and materials to create something truly unique.

In our discussion of the maker movement, we noted that the values of anti-consumption and sustainability were common themes within the culture. It’s no wonder that the slow fashion movement and, in particular, visible mending, took hold in 2018. New books Visible Mending and Mending Matters provided inspiration and instruction for those new to this practice, and the #visiblemending hashtag on Instagram is overflowing with visual eye candy. This resurgence of a “made do and mend” approach to save worn out clothing and accessories from the dumpster by using embroidery and patchwork techniques will likely continue into 2019.

We correctly predicted the ongoing success of independent print publications, but there were two things we didn’t anticipate: one, that several publications would add digital options (such as PLY) or go completely digital (such as Make & Hue), and two, that several publications would call it quits. In 2018, a few smaller titles such as Rib and Amirisu went on unofficial hiatus, and earlier this fall, F+W Publishing shocked the craft world by announcing that they were shutting down Modern Patchwork, Cloth Paper Scissors, Quilty and Knit.Wear magazines.

While our discussion included how new technologies intersected with craft and making, predicting how changes to the Facebook and Instagram algorithms would popularize video in such a short period of time was nearly impossible. Through Facebook and Instagram Live, Instagram TV, and Stories, makers were able to connect, share and build community in a way they never had before. That the videos didn’t have to be polished and professional made this trend accessible to anyone with a smartphone (check out our blog post on How to Produce Marketing-Quality Videos Using Only Your Smartphone) – and small business owners who were able to incorporate video posts (both live and pre-recorded) were able to take advantage of how social media algorithms favor this new medium.

We hit the nail on the head when predicting that special events such as trunk shows, shop hops/yarn crawls, pop-ups and curated shopping events with a strong focus on indie makers would continue in popularity amongst crafters. Drawing on one of our examples from last year, Indie Untangled not only had to move to a bigger space for their pre-Rhinebeck event, they also had competition from another shopping event called Needles Up. While Needles Up hosted two events this year at the same time as the Maryland Sheep & Wool Festival and Rhinebeck, they have announced that they will only host 1 event in 2019 during the weekend of Rhinebeck.

Our final prediction centered on the importance of your brand’s story and this trend continues to gain momentum. Makers want to know that they are supporting independent business owners who understand their pain points. They also want to know specifically where products are coming from, and even see it with their own eyes. Businesses who are able to give their customers a peek into their process and speak to the maker values of community and sustainability are able to build trust with a whole new group of people who will then convert into loyal customers.

Stefanie Goodwin-Ritter

Stefanie has become so integral to some of our clients, they list her as the marketing manager on their websites! She holds a B.A. from University of Missouri – Kansas City and refined her skills into an organizational and task-mastering machine. She picked up a pair of knitting needles in 2003 spent four years hand-dyeing yarn for Lorna’s Laces, so she likes to think she knows a thing or two about yarn. Naturally, she has cats, she’s also a drummer and been blogging about her craft exploits for several years on Handmade by Stefanie.

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