The current economy is impacting my world. There have been a new wave of store closures happening in my neck of the woods.... beloved neighborhood restaurants have closed the doors, my favorite boutique is slowly withering as inventory sits and becomes "old news." A local hair salon is clean, bright, and beautiful. Yet, the owner struggles to make her rent payment and wonders how much longer she can hold on. It is no fun for cash strapped shoppers and it sure isn't fun for the entrepreneur.
Daunting? Don't let it be! There are indie craft stores out there that are defying the odds and you can join their ranks. I recently received the current issue of The Trends Journal and there is reason to be optimistic. The author, Gerald Celente, is someone I have learned to take seriously. He is like a human computer, sifting through facts and historic events to spot future trends. He analyzes data and predicts future events based upon that data. No histrionics, no finger pointing, no politics...just the facts, Ma,am. Dragnet's Joe Friday would be proud. Mr. Celente has predicted, years ahead of their occurrence, an amazing array of political and economic events. I have become a believer in his abilities.
consider it for yourself.
Now for the good news.....
Mr. Celente has identified "the next big thing" and you are a part of it! People will be looking for something---anything--to make them feel better as the economy wreaks havoc on their lives. During the Depression of the 1930s folks were able to escape to "the movie cinema" to vicariously experience the glamor and excitement of a distant Hollywood. Going to a movie was a big event and the messages delivered were hopeful and uplifting. However, as Mr. Celente notes "movie mania is not what it used to be and neither is Hollywood."
Celente believes that the next escape---and opportunity for big profit---will come as the "depressed and bewildered...fast food fattened downwardly mobile American public" responds to a return to elegance and quality:
"People will have more time on their hands and less money in their pockets, and an ample opportunity to tap into creative talents formerly submerged beneath the exigencies of the 24/7 job overload. Self-made style will become the new style. The design-it-yourself, tailor/sew-it-yourself trend will span the socioeconomic scale and serve as a high-fashion equalizer. It will take time and talent...not just money...to create great looks."
"The perfect storm of Elegance, quality, individuality, beauty and Depression-need will open new consumer markets for manufacturers, retailers and promoters who see it developing."
It sure makes sense to me. I see it happening in my own life. Hard times necessarily bring a concomitant need to enhance the spirit. Crafting does it for me. My personal budget has been slashed so I am co-opting my clothing budget/nail budget/hair budget to buy things that really matter....like craft supplies. Interestingly, I am less inclined to focus on personal adornment when money is tight...somehow it seems too frivolous. However, I am always willing to spend money to "feather my nest." While it seems selfish to make yet another beaded necklace, I have no problem using up my bead stash (and buying tons more) to make a beaded table runner!
After all, it is for the home, the family, THE NEST! Toward that end, my recent crafty outbursts have resulted in a Nuno felted table runner for my living room...............
...... another Nuno felted table runner...this one for my kitchen....
.....a felted Rooster Pillow in my family room ('cause everyone needs a rooster pillow) ....
...and a new valance for my daughter's bedroom window....
WHEW! It has been a productive few weeks! I was willing to spend money (carefully) in order to creatively feather my nest and totally dug the process. There is a movement happening across the country... lots of like minded crafty types are snipping and weaving and sewing and gluing.
Get 'em to do it in your store!
The "same old, same old" isn't going to cut it anymore. People need to watch their pennies and will be hesitant to spend them freely. You are going to have to work hard to capture their dollars. Leverage the affordable indulgence that crafting can provide. Think of less traditional ways to promote your current inventory. For example, sponsor a city wide Design Challenge and see what an old sweater can morph into or what can be done with Nana's old jewelry. Create several categories and offer prizes for the winners. Better yet...schedule a "gallery night" to showcase the participants and invite the press. Even better...join forces with other crafty stores in your area to cross promote the experience.
You have the store. You have the merchandise. You have the chutzpah. Now leverage your power and make it your mission to cultivate the success you desire!
In other news:
I am packing the boxes and heading to Tucson next week to teach at Swarovski's Create Your Style Event. Although we will not have a booth this year, we still want to connect with you!
SPECIAL EVENT FOR CUSTOMERS AND WORKSHOP PARTICIPANTS:
Please join me on Thursday February 4, 2010 for a FREE WORKSHOP on making Embedded Felt Jewelry as well as a light lunch of Empanadas and Sangria. The festivities are scheduled to last from 10:00 am until 1:00 pm and all materials to the learn the basic technique will be provided ....NO CHARGE!