Teaching a child to knit, weave, or crochet is a gift that lasts a lifetime. I vividly remember when a kind family friend took the time to teach me to crochet. Armed with a metal crochet hook and a bag of acrylic yarn I made a drawstring granny square purse. I had created SOMETHING from NOTHING and I felt empowered! I attended an "alternative" school ---hey, it was the early 1970's after all---and was able to crochet during class! Heaven. One sad day I accidentally dropped the crochet hook down a storm drain and was bereft....how was I going to make it through the rest of the day? Fortunately, a boy (who probably went on to invent great things) saved the day. He spit out his gum, grabbed a pencil and combined the two to reach into the drain and rescue the crochet hook. My hero.
Most women I know can recall equally well the day a mother, Nana, or other cherished adult passed down the gift of "hand work." We are living in very busy, "activity infused" times and I have noticed that my 16 year old daughter's friends always gather around to watch when they see me working. Many have never seen anyone knit,crochet or weave beads before.
Fortunately, there seems to be a renewed interest in all things "green" and handmade, and the teen demographic is very much a part of the movement. In fact, a quick search on the popular online knitting group Ravelry reveals 16 "teen" groups! These kids are even publishing patterns and online magazines.
So....how are you going to leverage the teen craft market?
VOLUNTEER TO VOLUNTEER! Most high schools have a community service requirement for graduation. Why not combine craft with altruism? A quick google search showed organizations looking for volunteers to provide assistance in the following areas: Quilting, Crochet/Knitting, Beadwork. Another alternative is to help your crafty teens organize a fundraiser....they can make felted dog collars to raise money for the local Humane Society, for example. All they need is space to gather and an adult willing to spend some time teaching them a new skill. Be the mentor and plant the seeds for your future!
OFFER CLASSES THAT TRULY APPEAL TO TEENS! We all do it....we try to pick out clothes for our teens but too often we are met with a shocked response. "How could you ever think that I would wear THAT?!!!!!" Oops. Missed again. It seems that no matter how cool I think I am, 16 is many decades ago. I probably shouldn't be the one to set the agenda for the teen classes. Go to the source and enlist the help of someone who really knows what appeals to a teenager. It isn't you and it isn't me. Trust me. The craft industry has young blood coursing through it right now and that is a good thing! A review of the handwork on the new 1000 Markets site demonstrates that there are some incredibly sophisticated young artists making money with their bead and needlework. Check out what they are making because it is likely to be what your teen market wants to create.
The killer cuff pictured below was created by a Sarah aka The Beaded Lily:
One of the characteristics typical of the Green "upcycled" work of the Indie Art community is the use of salvaged "found objects." It is all about reusing and recycling!
Sarah, a self taught artist, used free form peyote stitch and pieces of vintage watches to create this impressive piece.
Nineteen year old Scarlett Lanson is the brilliant and gifted darling of the bead community. She is a business savvy and visionary young woman who is bringing energy into the field and inspiring other teens to pick up a needle and thread and BEAD!
There is no doubt about it....the teen market is viable and energized. They are eager to learn and willing to craft "outside of the box."
Welcome teens into your shop...you might find yourself all the richer....literally and figuratively!
6 months ago