A Week for Craft

You already know the value of American craft; that’s why you’re in the business you’re in. But what about the general public? Do the people in your area really understand what American craft is all about?

American Craft Week, a new initiative organized by Craft Retailers and Artists for Tomorrow (CRAFT) and Craft in America, hopes to improve craft’s recognition across the country. The national celebration, Oct. 1-10, will bring together individuals, retailers and organizations in recognition of how handmade objects improve our daily lives and contribute to the national aesthetic and economy.

Shop Local, Save Money

By now, many consumers understand the benefits that shopping local can have on their communities, but some still need an added incentive. Local businesses in Louisville, Ky., have joined forces to keep a little extra money in consumers’ pockets, and get a few more people through their doors, with the Louisville VIP Card.

Not Constrained by Trying Times

As gallery owners, artists and other craft industry leaders gathered for NICHE magazine’s 2009 Top Retailer Awards, it was clear that this year was a little different. “It’s not my intention to make bad economy jokes all night,” said guest emcee and glass artist Stuart Abelman. “But we could take a minute or two to all cry together.”

But the night was about hope, not helplessness; proof that even in trying times, businesses can continue to innovate and craft can continue to inspire. “All of you deserve to be recognized for your commitment and perseverance,” NICHE publisher Wendy Rosen told the crowd. “We will survive these days.”

The More the Merrier

If you saw your fourth-quarter sales slip last year due to a slow holiday season, now is the time to start forming your game plan for a stronger showing in 2009. According to The Conference Board in New York, N.Y., consumer confidence rose more than expected in August, an indication that shoppers’ outlook on the economy may be improving.

Although it’s difficult to gauge when the recession will begin to abate—even business experts find it impossible to come up with a solid forecast or corresponding numbers—there are things you can do to encourage customers to bring their holiday shopping lists through your doors.