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  • Writer's pictureClara Whicher-Grant

What 2020 Meant for the Craft Sector

2020 - a year to remember- what was it like for the craft sector?

A report by Cornelia Costeanu, Founder of Makers United

Well, it has definitely been an interesting year for us all. For many, it has brought about a step-change that has altered our lives and livelihoods in some way or another.

Albeit a challenging period, this obligated pause has had at least one silver-lining - it has given us more time to craft and think creatively!

As we move into a new year with renewed hopes for the future, we wanted to take a minute to look into the effect a global pandemic (amongst other things) has had on the craft industry.

A Decline in Physical Fairs:

Considerably fewer fairs took place and therefore many craft businesses opened e-shops on mainstream selling platforms such as Etsy. More people initially bought handmade products online at the beginning of the pandemic, but sales decreased as more people lost their jobs towards the end of the year.

Makers Fell Through the Support Cracks:

According to Craft Council (read full report here) many craft makers have not been able to access the government support measures such as the self employment Income Scheme.

This may be due to the fact that many makers don’t formally register their business - nor do they keep track of revenue made from selling their crafts - making it difficult to claim back any loss of income.

We strongly encourage craft businesses to register and record their sales as well as invoice buyers for the sold goods.

If one makes a sale and you receive money from a buyer, you are effectively a business.

We are strong believers in making a business from what you love. If you’re making sales and would like to earn a living from your craft, you need to treat it like a business.

We, at Makers United, always encourage our makers to register, have a name, decide on a logo (our graphic designer can give you a hand with it), diversify your craft offer, set goals and reach for the stars!

New Sales Trends Emerged:

We know that this year has been hard, but we have all learnt to be patient, resilient and we have learnt to live with less.

Practical presents and handmade gifts sold well during the various lockdowns and through Christmas, as buyers looked to comfort their loved ones during unsettling times.

We predict this trend to continue well into the year as people will shift to buying what they need, rather than just fancy items, so think of useful crafts for your buyers!

Brexit Changed The Rules:

A new commerce reality has come into the effect with the change of the year. If you have an online shop or sell goods outside of the UK, be sure to check the new regulations now that we have exited the European Union.

Customers Fell in Love with Small Businesses:

It wasn’t all bleak. Last year, we noted a rise in buyers’ appetite to shop small and local, in a bid to rally around the community and support businesses affected by the pandemic.

Now, we shouldn’t look back in anger.

We should look at what we have learnt about ourselves and how little we need to be happy.

As members of Richmond voluntary service, an organisation supporting all charity, community and voluntary activity in the London Borough of Richmond upon Thames, we have been brought to tears to see so many volunteers offering to help those in need. We would like to believe that we have regained our trust in humanity and we will be living our lives differently from now on.

2021 is set to be a golden year for handmade businesses. We foresee a coming together of the community, as lockdown eases and people once again come together to share their passions, learn from their peers and support initiatives they believe in.

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