Okay, sorry about the lo---ong break between this top ten and my last top ten. After the amazing response from the last post, and all the wonderful and heartfelt comments, I wondered if I could ever top it! Well, the short answer is.....maybe. But, with out any further delays, I've finally compiled the results of the Young Crafters survey, which was designed to get a glimpse of how the younger (35 and under) group of paper crafters is changing the industry. And the results are impressive.
We are NOT old! 75% of the respondents are young women between the ages of 30 to 35 years old. Were either working professionals, or mom's or both, and this is exciting because that means that young women are taking an increased interest in crafting as their hobby; meaning that the paper crafting market is strong and active. If these women continue to craft, then this hobby and profession will continue to grow and develop further---good news to hear in a slow economy, eh?
I was excited to see that 2% of my respondents were under the age of 20! I find this statistic great news! I think that the industry should focus a little more on how to attract this particularly young audience, because retaining younger crafters, bodes well for the market. I for one, would love to see young 20-somethings break into the industry and shine. I wonder what styles do young adult paper crafters like? What do their layouts focus on? What are there passions? Wouldn't it be interesting to find out what drew young adults into the industry?
In terms of results, this by far was the one question that amazed me the most. When I wrote the survey, I put in standard ranges of money spent per month on crafting up to $1000/month. I didn't actually imagine that any young crafter had that awesome of a crafty budget!! Boy, was I wrong---6% of survey participants spend over $1000 a month on their paper-crafting! That $1000 includes money used for kits, memberships, subscriptions, subscriptions and crafting supplies. Umm...hello, who are you?? We could be friends really fast!! I could take you for a shopping spree at my local scrapbook store, and not have to spend ten minutes at the back counter dividing product I can afford to buy i to two piles. There is the "I must buy now, because by tomorrow it'll be gone" pile and the other, "It can wait a week," pile; both of which can easily be resolved by the Adopt-a-Crafter program that I will be starting very soon.
Okay, I'll admit to this-Inspiration happens for me in one of two ways. It'll either happen while I am shampooing my hair (and my hands are to wet to write down an idea), or I am driving to work and can't type my idea into Evernote because texting while driving is illegal (must not have been a crafter who made that law). According to survey results, though, I am on the fringe.
27% of young crafters reported that they're most inspired to craft by looking at paper crafting and DIY blogs, while 21% reported social media as a source of inspiration. This is encouraging data for hip, young ladies who want to be inspired and inspire other by sharing their own projects. You could create a blog, and share your work there, or google a designer you like, and be taken to her blog, which is full of creative goodies for you to admire.
The internet is where it's at in terms of inspiration! Whether it be your blog or Pinterest, Facebook vs. Twitter, these social media platforms are where your work is going to get viewed. If you're not taking advantage of these platforms, do so NOW! People don't have a lot of time on their hands, especially young crafters, so sites like Twitter that deliver new content throughout the day are places where others can see your work, even manufacturers! You may also be inspired too, so set up that twitter account, add some cool crafters, and crafty-stalk away!
Speaking of craft-stalking, 56% of young crafters said that their inspiration came from their favorite designer, which is all the more reason us tech-savvy crafters need to follow our favorite designers tweets or blogs. Not only will you not miss one detail of your crafty crush's day, you'll be the first to like her instagram photo, and be able to tweet it on your page before anyone else does.
Again, my personal crafting style is on the outside fringe with this question. My style is more of a freestyle/collage, shabby fresh look where I like to layer and pull together seemingly unrelated products and combine them into a pleasing overall design. However, that's not the style the majority of young crafters craft in.
According to the results, 32% of young crafters characterize their design style as clean and simple ( a non-cluttered look, with a strong focal point, simple design and clean aesthetic), while another 24% of young crafters consider their style fun and cute (characterized by cheerful prints and motifs, bright colors, cheerful sentiments and cutesy fonts with an overall happy vibe). And, as I think about these design styles, it makes a lot of sense that so many young women are attracted to the them, and enjoy crafting in these genres.
For one, the styles are appealing. A reader or subscriber to a craft magazine is a visual connoisseur, so first glances at a card will take in a lot. With CAS, bold designs POP! With fun and cute, happy and cheerful motifs get you to take notice and feel good. Also, CAS and fun and cute cards are easy to replicate, which may mean that they're time-friendly. A busy young crafter who works full-time or takes care of little one's doesn't have time to spend slaving away on a technique-heavy project. They want to make something fabulous in a short amount of time because they've got things to do, places to go and people to see. Me? I have no life---I can easily spend two hours on a card design. I am very slow when it comes to crafting.
What say you? If these are your preferred styles, tell me why in the comments below--I'd love to know!
Every time I hear the term, 'professional development', I think of long and boring meetings where we sit around and talk about curriculum, common core standards and how to incorporate more literacy into our subject matter. Bleh, that is the torture segment of the teaching profession! But, professional development in the paper crafting industry is anything but boring hours of tedious and torturous forced share-out activities with your colleagues.
For a paper crafter, you're always looking to learn the newest technique, be on top of the latest trend and educate yourself on what's happening in the paper crafting world around you. For the young crafter, half of the respondents said that the best way to develop their own talents was through blogging and using social media.
Now, more than ever anyone can be a someone by using the internet. You could be a superstar with your own youtube channel, and a series of crafting videos that you share on your blog. You can then post those videos to the most widely used forum in the paper crafting industry; your blog! Young crafters are not waiting around to be "discovered." They're putting their ideas and content on their blogs, and using social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook to drive people to them, so they can share their knowledge. A beginning paper crafter is no longer left alone in the dark to figure out how to create handmade embellishments from felt, they can visit a crafter's blog for a step by step tutorial. Now, how's that for professional development?
No, were are definitely not talking mundane items like tape rollers, and ink pads. Those are staple products, and the intent of this post is to entertain you, not bore you to death. We are talking about that $1000 a month crafting budget and what it is spent on (Again, who is that fabulous crafter?). Young paper crafters are not only hip and trendy, but they're also pretty frugal and are willing to spend a little extra time to scope a deal or figure out the best deal for their buck. So, when it comes to crafting, young crafters want to get the most bang for their buck. What products do you think offer that?
Well, according to my lovely survey participants, Almost half said that stamps are their most purchased product, while the other half responded that paper crafting supplies like cardstock, paper and tools were their most purchased product. Now, you may be thinking, umm duh--stamps are reusable, but chew on the following interesting info. Over the past year or two, I have noticed some very hip, cute and trendy stamp companies come onto the scene, and really take off among younger paper crafters. Sweet Stamp Shop, Avery Elle, Mama Elephant and Neat & Tangled are just of few of them, but notice something else-The ladies who started these companies are young and trendy paper crafters as well! I think it's awesome and very encouraging that young entrepreneurs are marketing to the younger paper crafter demographic with styles and designs that are fresh an on trend.
Ikat designs. Sequin clusters. Triangles. What do those all have in common? They're some of the latest trends in home decor and paper crafting (at least at the moment). And, according to the survey results, we young crafters love trends, and like incorporating them into our cards, layouts and projects. Whether you find a quatrefoil pattern on a pillow at a lifestyle blog, or find ikat prints on platters at Target, you can be sure than in a month's time they'll hit the paper crafting design world full-force.
We want our friends and family to enjoy and cherish the hand-crafted gifts that we give them, so the young paper crafter seeks incorporates their favorite trends into their projects, and 70% of respondents stated that they will buy product based on trends. Favorite trends are still the tried and true design elements of bold motifs (florals, birds, etc) and classic patterns (quatrefoil, stripes, dots, etc). And why not? Classic patterns are timeless, so shouldn't are projects that we make and give to others be?
Young paper crafters are a talented group of women. Not only do they take chances, try new things and manage a blog, they are also fiercely competitive for opportunity when it presents itself. You've heard the phrase, "you never trade in a classic" Well, ladies--look out! Young paper crafters have their sights set on some cool creative goals.
According to those surveyed, 54% feel that there is not enough turnover in the paper crafting industry. Young paper crafters want to see fresh faces at the forefront of design, and they long for new ideas to take center stage again. Respondents are hopeful that sooner rather than later, there will be chances for them to shine; to be noticed by their dream design team, maybe even get a position that's long been occupied.
But girls, it's not enough to hope for turnover, to dream that one day a spot on the top team will open, and that you'll fill it. If young paper crafters are seeking to be the next big thing, they need to step up their game. Yeah, that sounds great, but how do I do that? Do I wish for the the magical scrapbook fairy to make my dream come true? Well, you could, or you could do what the rest of us do, and brand yourself.
To be the next best thing, you need to put yourself out there. Creating original content, consistent blogging and professionalism are a few ideas to get you started, and they'll help you establish yourself as authority in the paper crafting realm. It may take time to do this, but when people know who you are, what you deliver and how amazing of a crafter you are, they'll take notice....and you'll get noticed!
I think it's a pretty good generalization, and one that most people can agree with. But, if were hoping for changes in the paper crafting industry, we should be the change we want to see. If you're hoping that your favorite challenge blog will finally take notice of your work, don't sit around week after week dreaming about it---make up and host your own unique challenge blog, and encourage others to join in on the fun! If you wish that there was a platform for such and such, don't wait around for someone else to come up with that idea, and take off with it, implement it yourself!
Young crafters are at an advantage-we have fresh new ideas to share, way more tech knowledge than the previous generation of crafters, and for the most part, we've got the time, energy and motivation to put ourselves out there and do something awesome with our talent and ideas. I have friends who tell me they wish that this would happen, or that would happen. Well, if those things are so important to you-make it happen!
Change is inevitable. Don't you want to be a part of it when it happens? Take Becky Higgins for example. She had an idea to make scrapbooking more accessible, easier to manage and a part of daily life. So, she created Project Life-- an idea born from something that she thought would change the industry, and it has. Thousands of scrappers take part in it. All you need is one idea, and you too can change the future of paper crafting.
Finally, the most important thing I learned about young paper crafters is also the easiest thing that one can do to change the industry. What's that you ask? Blogging, pure and simple. Blogging is the vehicle that takes the young and the crafty from making projects in their craft space, to sharing projects with the world. There's no better way to tell others who you are and what you're about than to write a blog that offers great ideas, cool tips and techniques and something special about you that distinguishes you from everyone else. If you're not blogging, what are you waiting for? If you have started a blog, but you're unsure of what you need to make it pop out amongst a sea of other blogs, check out this post that offers five tips on how to better your blog design to attract an audience.
The Young and the Crafty are taking the paper crafting world by storm. Whether it's running a successful small stamping business or gracing the pages of the coolest crafting publication, young paper crafters are changing the way crafting is done, shared and viewed!
A special thanks to the following young crafters for taking part in the survey. Make sure to check out their amazing talent.