Author Archive | Eileen Hull
Reported by Eileen Hull
On May 16, I had the pleasure of walking the National Stationery Show. This was the 66th annual show and took place in the
Letterpress was stronger than ever. I saw more booths with designs that took letterpress from traditional to trendy with new fonts, icons and styles.
Mean cards also seemed to be a theme. A booth called Gigi was centered around a doll (which kind of reminded me of Chuckie) doing and saying all kinds of outrageous things, many of them not very nice.
Paper confections are still in. M.Middleton won Best of Show for their cake slice notepad. Cute! Lots of cupcakes and paper eye candy.
Eco products were out in force. I happen to own one of these Eco Cups by Decor Crafts, Inc.
Several booths offered laser cut services – one caught my eye in particular called Papyrus Cutters. The detail on them was unbelievable. Another company called Laser Cut It had a cool display of stacking cut out boxes.
Birds, bicycles and typewriters were common themes and there was one vendor who was selling them right off the floor. I was even able to buy a ribbon for a little blue ABC typewriter I purchased years ago- never could find a source to buy ribbon that would work with it. Only in NYC!
I really enjoyed walking the show and was inspired by all of the creative displays, booths and products. There is definitely crossover between the craft and gift industries, as evidenced by the craft manufacturers who set up in this venue showcasing added ways their product may be used. Can’t wait till next year!
Do you like paper and stationery supplies? Have you ever attended this show? What do you think the latest trends are in the craft industry now? Do you respond to trends or try to create your own?
Here are a few examples of what designers do in the craft industry:
- Create, write instructions and photograph projects for publication in books and magazines
- Make samples for trade show booths, web and advertising.
- Write books and articles on various crafty topics (like the one you’re reading right now)
- Teach classes at trade shows, in stores and on line
- Create one-of-a-kind art pieces
- Demonstrate products at a trade show, store or special event
- Contribute web content for a manufacturer as part of a design team
- Share projects on YouTube, web or live streaming shows
- Develop new products and pitch ideas to manufacturers
So, what will you need to start your designing adventure?
- Creative thinking- in your design aesthetic but also in how you approach your business with regard to marketing and promotion
- Technical skill- yes, some skill and talent are required
- Design from your heart. Authenticity and passion for your craft show in your work and are attractive and make it desirable
- Positive attitude- be ready to deal with rejection without taking it personally
- Persistence-although the idea of becoming an overnight success is very appealing, it rarely happens that way
- Support of friends, like-minded people, or a group to meet with regularly who will encourage you and critique your work
- A plan- what steps are you going to take to make your dream happen
- An awareness of what is happening in the industry- new products, trends, and who’s who
- Computer and photography skills
- Be professional in dress, actions, and correspondence. Spell check.
- Always carry business cards, and be ready to give a quick description of what you do- you never know who you will be sitting next to on a bus at a trade show or seminar
- Establish yourself as an expert. Offer to teach classes to your child’s class, Scout troop, or church group. Write articles about topics you are familiar with and submit to local newspapers, magazines or trade publications. Offer to speak to groups about what you do. There are many opportunities to show your work on webcasts that are starting up and looking for guests. Make videos of yourself demoing products that you like working with and send to the manufacturer.
Take advantage of free seminars, web classes and professional training offered by trade organizations, small business organizations, or the Chamber of Commerce. Business, art, graphic design, or computer classes at local colleges offer great information and are reasonably priced.
Stand out from everyone else and showcase your style. Be yourself!
Spot trends- read magazines, watch TV and fashion, shop with an eye to new colors and themes
There are many low-cost or even free marketing opportunities that just take a little thought and creativity to implement. Visibility in the industry goes a long way and makes you memorable to those companies you want to impress.
- Start a blog if you don’t already have one. Fill it with your best work and think of it as your portfolio
- Join professional organizations relating to your field/media and volunteer on a committee
Becoming a member of the Craft and Hobby Association has been a big help to my career. The Designer Section is open to up-and-coming new artists, those with many years of experience behind them, and to all who fall somewhere in the middle. I have found this group to be very welcoming and supportive. As in any organization, volunteering and getting to know people will start opening doors for you. I am so inspired by all of the talent surrounding me that it makes me push myself to higher standards. The application for CHA Designer Membership lists requirements and guidelines for joining and I highly encourage you to do it if you are seriously thinking of going this route.
flexible work schedule, which is great for those with small children or people who move often
ou can work as much or as little as your life allows
designers are a great bunch of people who “get” you
income is irregular and sporadic
- you have to find or create your own jobs
- can be expensive if you travel to trade shows and meetings on your own dime
- frustrating and lonely if you are trying to do this without support from your friends or family