Crafts avoid media rebuff by utilizing Web

Thanks in part to the "nesting" phenomenon, home-based crafts have experienced a renaissance in recent years.

Thanks in part to the "nesting" phenomenon, home-based crafts have experienced a renaissance in recent years.

But even with the flurry of stories surrounding the hip, urban knitting circles that popped up a few years back, much of this growth has occurred without mainstream media help.

"We've had our 'moments' of mainstream media doing stories on scrapbooking," explains Brian Tippetts, editor-in-chief of Creating Keepsakes. "We've been covered on Oprah, Today, and in Seventeen. Unfortunately, the mainstream media tend to stereotype what scrapbooking is."

Antarra Communications VP Doris Emich, who represents craft product company UniKeep, adds, "I tried pitching outlets like Real Simple and Better Homes & Gardens, but it seems that it's only the enthusiast magazines that are really interested."

Part of the problem is that many of these crafts have a bit of an image problem. That hasn't prevented growth, but it has dampened media interest.

"There's a huge untapped market that will help the industry stay strong as word spreads about what scrapbooking really is," says Creative Memories managing editor Brittany Beattie. "Not the dowdy stereotype it has."

Surprisingly, technology may help these crafts shake off that image. SVP Worldwide, the largest sewing machine company in the world, last week held an event in New York for 60 lifestyle and women's magazine editors to showcase a new Singer sewing machine line that can be connected to laptops.

"You can download designs off the Internet, connect your laptop to the sewing machine, and the machine is off and sewing," says George Bowie, CEO of Provo, UT-based Westmoor Consulting, which represents SVP. "A lot of editors initially think sewing is difficult, but with all the new innovations, we can show them how to do a whole bunch of exciting things."

Steve Fiore, a VP at SZPR who represents craft-training tutorial company Software Cinema, says many fans of old-school crafts have migrated to online communities.

"We're focusing less on the traditional print publications and more on the bloggers and online sites dedicated to scrapbooking," he says. "The key is to make sure you have a tips-driven pitch, since many of these sites want to show their audience how to use Photoshop to create different backgrounds or manipulate images."

A celebrity component can't hurt either. Bowie says SVP has a deal with Martha Stewart to add a sewing section to her TV show, and to do sewing coverage in Martha Stewart Living.

PITCHING... home-based crafts

Pitch the numbers. Scrapbooking, for example, is a multi-billion dollar industry and pushing that fact in a pitch is going to increase media interest

Leverage interest in shows like Project Runway to show that with the right sewing machine, many can be like fashion designers and create their own clothing

Many craft experts work as freelance writers. The right pitch to one of them can get in a lot of different outlets

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