The arts and crafts market is enjoying a true boom time. From knitting and crocheting to glass-blowing, ceramics and screen-printing, the UK public also re-discovered a penchant for artisan, hand-crafted food and beers.
As well as many committed hobbyists there’s an emerging number of smaller businesses satisfying consumer demand for ethical handmade goods. Figures compiled last year by the Crafts Council indicated that there are 11,620 craft businesses in the UK with over 43,000 employees in the industry. And they’re making a startling economic contribution to the UK, conservative estimates putting the craft industry as being worth over £3.4 billion*.
The growing need for craft materials
The increase in crafting whether for business or pleasure has resulted in a sharp rise in haberdashery sales including wools, buttons and a whole range of other materials for people keen to create their own hand-crafted items. Given the high demand for supplies becoming a supplier could be a great idea for a new business.
Could you sell on craft marketplaces?
Etsy, founded in 2005, now has more than 1.4 million sellers and 19.8 million buyers**. Etsy focuses on handmade and vintage items, jewellery and vintage clothing. With endless categories from jewellery and beading to kits, patterns, fabrics and floral supplies Etsy features over 5.4 million craft supply items***.
Other marketplaces include UK based Folksy which sells jewellery, greetings card and homeware. Following in the steps of US start-up Etsy, Folksy features more than 15,000 British designers and makers with 25,000 + visitors per month**. Folksy also features over 8,000 commercial craft supplies from UK independent haberdashers.
The arts and crafts market offers significant potential for those thinking of setting up a business, with online marketplaces in particular a safe place to test the waters.
* Dan Glaister: Britain’s craft boom produces new model artisan army; The Guardian, 26th April 2015
** Sophie Christie: Fed up with eBay? Sell on Etsy, Depop and Folksy instead; The Telegraph, 30th March 2015
*** All Craft Supplies & Tools; Etsy, 31st May 2016