"Local makers of handmade items and crafts, who were once relegated to selling their wares at craft fairs and on consignment shelves," writes, "are embracing new ways of getting their products in the hands of consumers, including pop-up stores, online sales and venues dedicated to the "maker movement."
The crafting, or "maker" industry, is worth $30 billion annually according to the national Craft & Hobby Association's data.
"While the emergence of crafting as a viable career path is thanks in part to the Buy Local movement, there's more to it than just supporting the local economy," Amanda Roberge writes for telegram.com.
"Two entrepreneurs, Kim Sullivan of Rutland and Suzi Capone of Ipswich, have launched LocalPorch.com, a new website that marries the principles behind Etsy.com and Craigslist.com by connecting local makers with their nearby buyers."
"Sullivan said there is a growing desire among consumers to "know the story" behind the items they are purchasing."
The most recent data from AudienceSCAN supports this. 22.3% of U.S. adults make an effort to buy locally made (non-food) products.
"They want to learn about the person who crafted their jewelry or their cutting board," she said, adding that LocalPorch encourages buyers and sellers to connect in person for the exchange of goods, a personal detail of standard retail that has gone by the wayside as super-seller sites like ebay, Amazon and Etsy have emerged. "We want to give people a chance to ask questions and to learn more about the product and the people behind it."
"The current culture of consumerism, she added, is starting to make a sharp shift away from the anonymity and magnitude of big-box stores, particularly during gift-giving season."
Newspaper (print, online, mobile or tablet) advertising is a great way to reach these shoppers, as well as share the story of the makers. According to the latest AudienceSCAN research, 29.2% of Locally Made Product Shoppers took action after reading newspaper ads in the past month.
"Tina Zlody, co-founder and co-director of stART, asserts that the growing desire for connection — to food, to community and to "things" — has led to the exciting success in the handmade market."
"Other makers are responding to consumer demand for a "connection" to the crafts for sale by sharing their background as an artist, or connecting with customers over similar interests. "There is this great trend happening all over the country," said Amy Lynn Chase, owner of the Crompton Collective, a curated boutique marketplace in a funky Canal District mill building. "People want to know their baker, their farmer and who brewed their beer. People now care about where their food is from and who made their clothes and gifts."
57.1% of Locally Made Product Shoppers make a point of shopping where salespeople are helpful and friendly, according to AudienceSCAN research.
"The Crompton Collective has become synonymous with the maker movement, hosting a popular weekly farmer's market that is based in that notion of connectivity that comes along with shopping locally and buying handmade."
"The locations dedicated to selling handmade items are also attracting a younger crowd on both ends — the makers themselves and the customers who buy their products."
"In fact, some feel that millennials are leading the charge toward promoting the local economy."
"These young professionals who are building their lives — they aren't putting just anything in their homes," said Ms. Evans, the Worcester ceramic artist. "They appreciate unique, handmade things — they want to know who made it, how it was made, and what the inspiration was behind the piece."
71.2% of Locally Made Product Shoppers make an effort to buy American whenever possible, the AudienceSCAN survey reported.
"Pop-up craft sales are growing in popularity, allowing for not only sustainability for the makers trying to eke out a living through their talent but also allowing for crafters to get in-person feedback on the consumers' desires."