Glimpse of my new studio bookshelf!
I’m an avid follower of craft and sewing news. Sometimes people look at me like I’m crazy when I say that there is even such a thing as craft and sewing news, but of course there’s news in every industry.
Here’s some of what’s going on this week:
“My Brother’s Jeans” by Melissa Averinos.
A huge congratulations to Melissa Averinos for winning Best in Show at QuiltCon today for her incredible quilt, My Brother’s Jeans. For this quilt Melissa used portions of her brother, Michael’s, jeans that she rescued from a dumpster after he took his own life. This award is sponsored by Northcott fabrics and Melissa will receive a $5,000 prize.
Spoonflower seems to be revamping their contests. For many in the Spoonflower design community the site’s contests are powerful motivators, pushing designers to stretch their skills with new imagery and color palettes. Typically the next contest topics are visible on the Spoonflower site in advance, but right now for the first time in a very long time (ever?) there’s nothing there. A member of the Spoonflower Facebook group who reached out to ask whether contests would be coming back was told that the contests are being revamped and would return soon. I wonder how they’ll change? And why they needed to change?
The Crafter’s Box is a subscription club that’s off to a strong start after launching in Janaury. The model has a strong designer focus. Subscribers get a new box each month with materials to make a particular project created by someone whose work is hot right now. The first month featured a weaving project designed by Maryanne Moodie, box #2 was a clay project by Emily Reinhardt (The Object Enthusiast), and this month is arm knitting with Elise Blaha Cripe. The materials themselves are sourced from artisan makers and you can add extras onto your box if you’d like (more clay in different colors, for example).
Once you subscribe you also get access to online forums, an online class taught by the designer and a live Q&A to ask your questions. And they’re doing a monthly podcast interview with the designer as well. Hear more about the concept on this episode of Elise Gets Crafty. Founder Morgan Spenla is making a splash. The branding and photography is spot on and check out their gorgeous Instagram.
Speaking of subscription businesses, I’ve interviewed several people who run highly sought after subscription box programs and can tell you that setting up an efficient and effective system for these is really, really hard, especially when customers want to modify their subscriptions. CrateJoy is a venture funded software company launched at the end of 2014 that allows you to build out a subscription business without all the hassle. CrateJoy is now reaching out to small craft businesses to join up. At $39/month plus a 1.5% transaction fee it may very well be worth it. Once you get the systems in place, subscription models can be very lucrative.
So those are some things to keep your eye on. What else do you see happening?
I love the idea of subscription boxes but have been disappointed in the past when the company went under. I had paid for a year and only received six months of boxes. I’m currently subscribed to a food item box and have been inundated with hot sauce. I’ll keep an eye on The Crafter’s Box and see what happens before I make a commitment.
Interesting. Yes, there have definitely been some unfortunate situations with subscription boxes. I do think it’s a neat idea, though, and has potential as a good business model as long as it’s administered carefully.