Sunday, 25 February 2018

The truth about working in the craft industry (and the people in it)

I often find myself in conversations with customers in my shop and online with fellow creatives about life working in the craft and design industry. I often  get told 'you are so lucky to be doing this job' when i am out demonstrating...i wouldn't call myself lucky, i didn't get my roles through luck, i got them through hard work and determination.


Working in the craft and design industry is viewed in a variety of ways and different people find it effects them in different ways. Personally I found it a very lonely career at first, i designed from home in my studio (this is going back 7-8 years) and would spend a lot of time alone listening to music and not talking to people very often, this was through choice at the time. When I opened my first craft shop (in 2012 with my young sons in tow)  I started spending more time in my shop working and less time alone designing in my studio I started to find I became more social and confident around others. I reduced the amount of time I worked on designing and switched to working in the shop more, this helped me to build up my confidence, I'm happy to openly admit I have mental health conditions and anxiety is something I struggle a lot with, as well as making friends and trusting people. Slowly I built up my confidence dealing directly with customers and making creative friends who have the same interests as me.

When I progressed to demonstrating and designing products / finished samples for companies I remember the real challenges starting. The industry is very competitive and the trends and styles change fast. There will be times you apply for jobs / DT roles that you get turned down, you can feel deflated but it is important not to give up, just remember there will always be other opportunities. I remember the feeling of pride and excitement for every design that got taken on and for every DT role I got, it really does give you a boost.


I will admit that the industry can be tough and you will find that some people can be very rude / nasty online to each other but it is best to ignore that and focus on the kind and friendly people. I have also been in the situation when demonstrating in stores around the South West where passers by have made hurtful comments like 'I've been crafting for over 30years, longer than you have been alive. I bet I could do a better job than you' that is without even looking at my creations i may add. I may well be young, especially for someone in this industry but I've been in it now for over 10 years and I've had experience in many different roles so I think I have a lot to offer and I hope that I can inspire others to take up arts & crafts or try something new. 

As I mentioned I don't trust easily or open up and make close friends so for me to find not one but two ladies I would consider 'best friends' has meant a lot to me. I met one of the ladies called Sam via my son's school, she is a talented crafter who enjoys all things creative so we get on very well and both having young children we understand the challenges of getting time to craft without little hands trying to steal everything.



The other lady, Claire I met at a designers conference. I knew of Claire before meeting her in person as I had seen her beautiful work in magazines. When we met we got on straight away and kept in contact after the event, even though we live miles apart (England and Ireland) months of us chatting online passed and then I decided to ask Claire if she wanted to join me at Imagine Design Create, luckily she said yes and the rest is history! We spent around 6 - 8 months planning and then In April 2017 we launched our first range of own brand products and things have been crazy busy ever since.
Years on and I have found a good designing and shop working balance as well home life with my two young sons. I still design and demonstrate for other companies as well as my own, I enjoy the variety. 


So the truth about the industry is that it isn't all roses and sunshine, it can be tough and it can get upsetting but in it you will find the most amazing people and if you love to design and create then you will definitely enjoy it so keep at it!


*Disclaimer: I wrote this whilst being stuck at home poorly with what i think is flu and feeling very rough so i do hope it makes sense and please note that this is all personal opinion. 

14 comments:

  1. I think you hit the nail on the head with this post Kerri-Ann it is extremely tough out there I'm so happy for you and Claire huge hugs Sand xx

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    1. Hiya Sandra, thank you for your kind comments. I was unsure if it would come across in the way i meant to write it but i'm glad it did. I feel very lucky to have found my crafty partner in crime x

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  2. Loved reading this. Such an inspiration. I would love to be a demonstrator but living in France the language is a bit of a problem. So have started baby steps and got myself a place on a language course and also work experience in a craft and stationery supplies shop.

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    1. Thank you for your kind words. I really hope the language course goes well and you enjoy working in the craft shop. x

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  3. Spot on. When We started in business in 2005 we found it extremely hard to get help and advice because we were immediately seen as competitors. We found a few people in the craft business who were willing to point us in the right direction and as time went on and we got more experienced we made loads of like minded friends. The shop has gone now and I make my living teaching arts and crafts and I have learnt the hard way that I do this for me and the pleasure of likeminded crafters. I love seeing people learn, get messy, make friends and laugh till their sides ache. When it stops being fun I will retire but I will always craft xxxx

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    1. Thanks Julie for your comment. I'm glad what i'm saying in my post makes sense and relates to others too. I totally agree, i think crafting and creating runs in our blood, i can't imagine a time where i wouldn't want to create and for those like us its about enjoying it and inspiring others x

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  4. Your words were like reading the last 20 years of my life, they are so true Kerri-Ann. The industry can be a huge roller coaster ride! Still very much in and loving it but have learnt to take the rough with the smooth, not sure I could do anything else now |:) Sending hugs xx

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    1. Thanks Jackie for your comment, i'm so glad it is something others can relate too and agree with. x

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  5. 100% with you on this post. I started out many years ago, I now work freelance designing paper kits for different companies. I have found it very tough and come across some very unprofessional so called crafting personalities. Like you, I now have trust issues too....I love Jackies explanation of it being a roller coaster ride, I’m pleased you have found a balance of working, having the right people around you who care, really helps. Good luck with the future, really interesting and truthful post. X

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  6. I agree with you on this all the way! It sure is a roller coaster ride that is for sure! Trust issues are also a bit thing too. I am so chuffed for you and Claire too.
    Hugs
    Linda xxx

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  7. Well done you've just said what a lot of us have felt or experienced. You're an inspiration xx

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  8. Totally get you on this Kerri-Ann, have felt same things myself many times. Best wishes for the future x

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  9. I understand you completely :) Thanks for writing such a great post. I often find people ask how to get to where I am and when I start explaining, they really didn't realize this is a full time job. I'm happy that you have found your successes in the industry :) Thanks for joining in on the video hop. I finally got your picture to work! So weird it wasn't working! Hugs!

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  10. Very inspiring. People in any walk of life can be rude and learning to overcome that is difficult. I shall be showing this to my husband who is coping with anxiety and embarking on crafting. He got the bug from me. Keep doing what you’re doing xxx

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