Crafts by the Numbers

The crafts boom underscores revitalized consumer interest in time-honored traditions, a trend that emerged strongly with the 90s. Said Hauser at Rubbermaid, “We’re stiff in the middle of a nostalgia theme.”

Crafts by the Numbers

* Ninety percent of American households have at least one person involved in crafts, up from 64 percent in 1988.

* Needlecraft is the leading craft activity, with participation by 80 percent of households.

* Thirty-six percent of the people involved in crafts watch TV craft programs, up from 26 percent in 1993.

* The one craft that involves more men that women is woodworking, where 63 percent of participants are male.

Source: Hobby Industries Association

Retail Opportunities

* Products for a brand range of craft activities, and cross merchandising of crafts products with related home decor items, such as fabrics, wallpaper, borders and other decorative coverings

* In-store classes and demonstrations

* Storage and organization products for crafts

* Descriptive, informative point-of-purchase materials that illustrate projects and suggest ideas

* Prepackaged kits, and crafts – including art and drawing, paper crafts and beading – that target families with children

* Displays that encourage impulse purchases; 72 percent of crafters make frequent impulse buys

Picture frame trends during 1994 include metal frames, wood-look plastic or wood, wide-moulded gold frames and traditional or ornate looks. Gold frames go along with the rich-looking or romantic interior decorations. Wood frames are more popular among consumers in 1994, as they look more natural products. Plastic frames are not as popular, according to some vendors, but others claim that plastic still sells.

The continued popularity of very traditional or ornate looks, as seen in wood or wood-look plastic frames in gold with wide moldings … the enduring appeal of floral designs … the resurgence of metal frames, stimulated by an infusion of new styles, materials, and finishes-these are among the leading design trends identified by vendors and retailers.

And at retail prices usually ranging no more widely than $5 to $14.99 whether in the mass market or the upscale market, all of these styles enjoy high perceived value.

Goldtone Florentine styles in wood-look plastic are selling well at Jamesway because, at $5 retail, they offer “tremendous perceived value,” Rich Lento explains. “Bright vibrant florals,” which remain strong for the mass merchant, represent “fashion at a value.”

“Traditional still seems to be holding up very well. Gold leaf and ornate looks are popular in both wall and tabletop frames, reports Richard Varga of Michael’s. Other strong sellers for Varga include Victorian pewter, basic brass, and certain country and Americana styles.

“Gold is very strong on wood or metal frames. The look is very traditional,” agrees Scott Slater, vice president of merchandising of intercraft. Slater also confirms the continued popularity of floral designs in wood or plastic and of the Victorian/old World look in cast metals.

“They give a high priced look at a very reasonable price,” says Barry Cohen, vice president and general manager of Weston Gallery, referring to frames with gold leaf or foil-wrapped floral borders. In addition, for Weston as for other vendors, cast metal frames with faux pewter or faux antique brass finishes and Victorian or traditional motifs have been “really excellent.”

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