I spend a lot of time thinking about where the craft industry is going and why I have an irrational amount of frustration, maybe even anger, at what it’s like today. Sometime in high school or college I realized that my love for crafting became uncool. While I didn’t really care either way, I still could never really understand why making things wasn’t cool… except perhaps when I set foot in a craft store. They might be convenient, they might have 40% off coupons all the freaking time, but big box craft stores are sure as hell not cool. Actually, I don’t even find them inspiring. (An epic feat of disappointment!) For me, the word that comes to mind when I think of craft stores is that they’re a bummer. So much opportunity, so many cool products, beautiful colors and materials all askew inside a box of fluorescent light, yellowed shelves and dingy linoleum. Don’t even get me started on the sample projects and sad free project idea flyers. Or trying to find someone to help when you have a question. Or the godforsaken ever-present lines.
Will craft stores ever be cool? Does it even matter? Maybe, maybe not. But they absolutely need to be inspiring. Why doesn’t Micheals look like Sephora? (I’m calling out Michaels here because they are the largest, but it could just as easily be Joann or Hobby Lobby. They’re all the same in this respect.) Michaels Stores and Sephora, for the record, are similarly sized – both have in the neighborhood of 4 billion (with a B!) in sales. But Sephora’s owned by luxury conglomerate LVMH – they understand presentation- while Michaels is (for now) owned by some private equity funds.
Wouldn’t it be great if walking into a craft store felt like walking into a Sephora? When I walk into Sephora I feel a little cooler and more stylish than I actually am. Wouldn’t it be great if when you were shopping for craft supplies you felt a little more creative than you normally feel? A little more inspired?
There’s such a chasm between the experience of DIY/craft online (beautiful + inspiring blogs and images on Pinterest) and the experience when you set foot into a big box craft store. Why is this? It’s one of the things we’re working hard to change at Whimseybox. While we don’t have physical stores (yet???) we want to make the experience of buying supplies online easy, inspiring and beautiful. We want you to be bursting with ideas, we want to help answer any questions you have and we want to make sure you don’t have to stand in line! We’re really rethinking the entire experience around craft supplies.
Next Up: The State of DIY and Craft Blog Affiliate Programs and Monetization
We’ve started a weekly web show at Whimseybox where Ali and I highlight 5 of our favorite DIY projects from the week, talk about what’s going on at the Whimseybox offices and then chat about other silly stuff. Each episode is 5 – 10 minutes long and we hope it inspires you to get crafty, or at least have a good laugh along with us. Here are the first three episodes – let us know what you think!
Show Notes: http://blog.whimseybox.com/diy5-episode-1
Show Notes : http://blog.whimseybox.com/diy5-episode-2
Show Notes: http://blog.whimseybox.com/diy5-episode-3
Things I’ve Learned So Far:
- Even a cheap mic is better than no mic. We’re shooting on a DSLR with a >$100 shotgun mic that I picked up at our local camera store. This happened after we shot and never released #DIY5 Episode 0 because the sound was terrrrrrrrrible.
- We need some kind of mirror/monitor so I can see when my hair gets all messed up because no one around here is ever going to bother to mention it! (Or maybe I should just get a freaking haircut. It’s been a year!)
- Pause before talking! It makes the editing way easier.
- Speaking of editing, we’re using iMovie. Good enough is good enough, at least for now!
- I look like a chubby contestant in Toddlers + Tiaras in a tissue paper dress. Oh well!
- A good script goes a loooong way. Even though we know what we want to say, it’s easy to freeze up on camera. I whipped up a DIY teleprompter by placing my laptop right beneath the camera lens and putting our script up on it (in like 100pt font so it’s big enough to read) and then keeping a wireless mouse in my hand off camera to scroll. Even when we’re reading directly from the monitor you can’t really tell. (Right?)
That’s pretty much it so far. We’re having fun with it, and at the very least I know my parents are fans
… is still going strong around these parts. We just got in limited quantities of a few super cute sets at Whimseybox. Three of the sets I can’t show you yet because we’re giving our Pro members first dibs at them, but here are the two others – one we’re calling the Chub Collection because it’s super thick and the other is the Glitter Collection which everyone went wild for when we posted it on Instagram earlier this week. (I hardly ever Instagram, but follow Whimseybox because we post daily there.)
What’s this? A DIY post? What the what?! I know, it’s been forevs. And that’s crazy because I’ve been wanting to make this sweatshirt for so long and hadn’t gotten around to it. Today I did and (with the help of Whimseybox designer Alyssa) it came out so amazing and was super easy! You should totally send me stuff that you want jewels ironed-on to because I’ve got a bunch leftover and want to put them on everything now.
A clerk and a ladder and warm golden light, and then: the right book exactly, at exactly the right time.
- Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore
Buy it immediately, right now. You have a Kindle, right? I enjoyed this book more than any in quite a while. Download it now, so when you find yourself on an airplane at some point you’ll open up the app and think ‘huh, what was this again and why did I want to read it?’ But by the time the plane lands you’ll be too engrossed to get in the car and drive home so instead you’ll find a random bench at the airport and read until the battery on your iPad dies.
Between the holidays and CHA and some other events I’ve been traveling a fair amount lately and thanks to the rules that (finally!) permit the use of an iPad during takeover and landing, I’ve been reading quite a bit more than usual. I’m kind of a readaholic though (once I start I just can’t stop) and I’m currently on a bender.
Over the last few weeks I’ve read the Divergent series (Divergent, Insurgent, Alliegent) and enjoyed them, mostly. (The first two more than the third, though.) I really, really enjoyed No Better Time, the story of Akamai founder Danny Lewin who helped build the modern Internet and died on 9/11. (Not sure I’d recommend this as airplane reading, though.) I read The Circle because everyone was talking about it and honestly, meh. I mean, go ahead and read it so we can talk about it, but I kind of felt like Eggers was bashing me over the head with his message. I’ve read a few other books as well, but these are the ones worth mentioning. Have you read anything good lately? Let me know! My Kindle is hungry and I’m headed to the airport again tomorrow.