Knitting a teal scarf

Crafting a business over lockdown

As the world changed and we went through various stages of lockdowns and re-openings, many people newly working from home, on furlough, made redundant or just looking for a welcome distraction, rediscovered new domestic hobbies from baking banana bread and sourdough, to gardening.

Lockdown for many was both a blessing and a curse, a chance to slow down and reflect but a challenging time for businesses, suppliers and people working in uncertainty.

One industry that experienced a huge lockdown business popularity boom was crafting from knitting to macrame, crochet to painting.

Previously seen as an old-fashioned feminine pastime, “granny chic” is all the rage with millenials and “sew bros” are breaking the stereotypes and picking up the knitting needles.

Tom Daley is the latest figure to have proudly shown off his stitching prowess during the Tokyo Olympics.

He credits learning to knit and crochet with “keeping him sane” throughout this last year and his dedicated Instagram page @madewithlovebytomdaley now has 1.4 million followers.

And he is not the only crafting celebrity gaining praiseGeorge Clooney and David Beckham sew clothes for their family, Greta Thurnberg does cross-stitch and Stacey Solomon has undertaken many crafting projects during lockdown.

This crafting boom is backed up by UK’s largest arts and crafts seller, Hobbycraft, 2021 sales report showing a huge increase of 151.8% in their e-commerce sales compared to 2019.

This comes alongside Etsy’s Seller Census for 2020 showing a new growing group of hobbyists turned entrepreneurs who are turning their free time craft into legitimate businesses.

The global online selling platform found that the pandemic played a crucial role in people taking the plunge into setting up an independent business.

Half of all sellers surveyed said financial challenges prompted them to start their creative businesses.

The three main factors were loss of employment (8%), inability to find new work (16%) and inability to work as they were caring for a family member 7%).

South West Londoner spoke to six women who have turned their crafting hobbies and passions into a successful business and had to adapt over lockdown.

Read the full story here

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