Sunday, 23 June 2013

Is crafting the poor relation of the blogging world?

This weekend I didn't spend my Friday night with my husband watching a DVD. I didn't spend my Saturday doing a trolley dash around Sainsbury's. No, this weekend was different. It was the UK female blogging event of the year. It was Brit Mum's Live!


500 (mainly female but a couple if brave male) bloggers descended on London, and what a brilliant 2 day event it was. There were lots of brilliant sessions by a inspiring bloggers and social media experts, and I have a box full of business cards of the great people I met to look up and keep in touch with (smashing Susanna's target of 3 new people)

As well as the sessions giving tips on using various social media, and improve writing and photography there were also a few sessions about making money from your blog.

Make serious money from my blog?

This wasn't something I'd every really considered. I started this blog as a hobby to share my crafting and learn from others. Whilst like most people I'd love to make my hobby my career I'd never really considered that it would be possible. But there were fellow blogger stating the £££ they were making from sponsored posts and reviews, wow.

But who would be interested in my blog? A major craft retailer? Well, I contacted Hobbycraft a few months ago (I contacted twice to be exact) with a proposition which mixed blogging and IRL career experience, and they didn't even have the manners to respond (rude!). Then a few more ideas started to tumble into my mind. I scribbled madly on my note pad making a major do-to list feeling inspired and daydreaming about quitting the day job and spending my days making beautiful items to share with you lovely people.

I was lifted, content and excited at the possibilities

That same evening were the Brilliance in Blogging award (BiBs), 500 bloggers assembled in the main hall to praise those among us who are going above and beyond and truly inspiring the rest of us. As I sipped my rather yummy red wine (thanks for Asda for sponsoring) I browsed the categories, nominations and sponsors

Fresh Voice sponsored by due date club
Food Category sponsored by Vitamix
Inspire sponsored by Plum
Photo sponsored by Art Finder
and so on down to Craft

The Craft category was sponsored by ..... no one! 


No one?

Yep.... out of the 16 categories only 2 were left with no sponsor.... the Video and Craft categories.

I started I blogging about a subject which is worthless? do the companies I purchase resources from really think so little of my work that they wont sponsor this blogging category?

My mood dropped to confused, angry and frustrated

Is craft the poor relation of the blogging world?

Maybe my blank from Hobbycraft wasn't as personal as I had initially thought (although a non-reply is still just rude in my book!), maybe they just don't get blogging and what it can offer them??

I think the opportunities for a business in the craft blogging space are immense, and I have some seriously good ideas as to how the craft retailer / producer / distributor and blogging community can work together to mutual benefit.

Contact me if you'd like to buy me a coffee and chat about these 

There is most definitely an opportunity to drive traffic in both directions and ultimately drive business sales, I think that craft companies are just a little behind the curve, there has to be an advantage to stepping into the bloggersphere first, I wonder who will do it?

grumble over....

Aside from this I had an amazing time and I'm already booked in for next year's conference, although quite how the organizers can top Kirstie Allsop as the opening keynote speaker is a mystery to me.


  1. I think crafts are behind the curve in terms of that blogger/brand relationship, my blog was about knitting mostly for years before the tiny daughters arrived and the idea of someone even sending you a new product to review was completely alien. I wonder whether it's not so much behind as that sort or relationship is considered superfluous. After all, if I write about a jumper I knitted or a dress I sewed I'll give details of the pattern, the yarn or the fabric, often with links because that's what makes that sort of post interesting as a fellow creator - if we're all doing it for free, why would they consider more formal blog advertising? I'm not sure what the answer is but I'm glad I'm not the only one that found the world of parenting blogging so very different.

    1. Carie, thanks for your comment. I think you have a really good point on the fact we almost do the advertising for free, but I still think there is some influence available and there is a commercial opportunity there.

      I think as an industry craft is slow moving....crickey we are still knitting and crocheting like our great great grandmothers, the industry hasnt needed to move very fast until now and it might be a head in the sand moment for the big bosses.

  2. Gosh, that really surprises me, I was under the impression that crafting was really hot right now. Perhaps it needs its own blogger event?

    1. Jo, thanks for the comment. Craft blogging is huge within the crafters but companies dont seem to have really caught on. talking to some parent bloggers who have been contacted and offered all sorts of products really shocked me.

      dont get me wrong I'm not striding round with "I want free stuff" on a banner but I think there is a commercial opportunity to be had.

  3. Hi Becca,
    So lovely to meet you and chat at BritMums Live. I've been admiring your handiwork...I'm not too good with a sewing machine unless it only involves straight lines!
    As you know from our chat, the lack of support in the UK crafting blogosphere is a mystery to me too! Perhaps you are the lady to kick start some changes?

    1. Emma, thanks for the comment. Would love to think I'm the lady to solve this, in fact I tried with my contact to Hobbycraft. I think Carie has a point above, although I still think there is something there....

      I'm not letting this one go, wish me luck

  4. Hi Becca, and fellow crafter!! yay!!

    Its really weird you say this as the reason I started blogging was as I scrapbooked and that seemed to be what the scrapbookers did. They blogged.

    However in recent years by crafty bloggy friends (who became real life friends) have now turned into mummies too - so the craft blogs seem to be merging into a merge between the two!!

    It seems to me the Craft brands may be missing a trick by not getting bloggers involved - sure there is design teams for shops or kits clubs but actual brand or stores like hobbycraft could easily get bloggers involved in a movement. Or maybe its because crafters are more willing to share they inspiration, with sites like pinterest proving crafting is hot stuff!!

    Maybe we can join forces and share some ideas on how we can incorporate the crafting world with the world of mummy bloggers. Shame we never met at the weekend - but sounds like you had an awesome time! x

    1. Hello fellow crafter, thanks for stopping by.

      Pinterest is wonderful (am totally addicted) and I think you have a point that we give our ideas away for free, but there has to be a commercial opportunity in influencing the materials and tools we use.

      I will keep on at this,loving the debate I've sparked

  5. Hi Becca! That's so interesting! Maybe it's because I read so many American craft blogs, but I hve never even noticed that companies don't get involved with the UK craft blogs. I do know there's a lack of involvement with art blogs though and have been working on getting them on board.

    1. Thanks for stopping by my blog and leaving a comment. Pleased to hear you've been tackling this for art blogs, what have you been doing and what response have you had?

  6. I've been contacted by several of the craft box companies to review them, or have an advert or an affiliate link - I reckon that would be a good option for you.
    Also you could have a list of great craft books on Amazon and earn from that.

    I was surprised too - but then the lovely RedTedArt proves that there is a future in craft, as does Kirstie Allsopp.

    1. Hi, thanks for stopping by my blog and leaving a comment. Definitely agree there is a future in craft (isn't RedTedArt wonderful). I had a good chat with paragon books and hopefully we can work together. It might be that craft companies aren't interested in the opportunities and that would be fine, I just don't think the resource manufacturers have considered what they might be missing.

      Amazon is a great idea, thanks

  7. Some of my very favourite blogs are about or heavily include crafts, so don't be disheartened. Just look at Red Ted Art and Cherry Menlove who both have books published after their blogs were noticed!! xx

  8. Some really good points in your post and in the comments above :) I think for me the difference is that 'craft bloggers' often just write about craft where as 'parent bloggers' are often really lifestyle bloggers. If you look at how parent bloggers make money it's often not on parenting itself but other stuff that can fit in with the general theme of their blog, how easily could most craft bloggers put in something about pensions or mobile phones?? It's always worth signing up with an ads company just to show that you are interested in that kind of thing, but yes, I also agree that craft companies do miss a trick a bit by not working with bloggers as much as they could! (And email me if I can help at all with anything!! x )

  9. Hi! I really think you have some interesting points and I think it's very rude that Hobbycraft didn't reply!! I just set up my own blog which includes crafting, knitting and other jaunts in that world and I think there is something to be said for the free patterns etc you can find on the internet, on blogs and otherwise? Perhaps companies feel they cant compete with this?

    I think maybe a forum/event for us crafty bloggers is a great idea. It may encourage companies as I think craft is in quite high demand at the moment! X

  10. Seriously, I don't think it's just blogging. The reality is, craft companies are, in general, cheap. I worked for some major craft magazines on the editorial team - you would not believe how difficult it was to get them to send in sample products to feature (and most wanted the samples returned afterwards!)! And paid advertising or sponsorship of a stand at a show? Well, good luck!

    In my experience - bar a few major players - craft companies are set up by hobbyists who love what they do so they think they'll set up shop. They're often older, not tech savvy and not incredibly business savvy. The exception being the beading world. Generally bead companies are a bit more ahead of the game.

    Craft is incredibly popular at the moment and has been on the rise for years. But we're still lacking the huge money spinners that the USA enjoys and until that happens, the market will be full of small business owners just trying to scrape by - trying to keep their costs down and they're sales up. It's a real shame because there's some amazing products out there, but if retailers don't push them then craft won't become totally mainstream.

    1. Emily, thanks for your comment - its intersting you can see this too. I wonder if there is anything we can do to fix this balance?

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