Since the dawn of time (or, well, Pinterest) average folks across the county have gotten the bug to make. Make cakes, decorations, quilts, bags, candles, clothes, curtains, anything and pretty much everything.
The idea of “domestic divas” isn’t new. After all, Martha Stewart has been around for quite a while, to say nothing of Julia Child. But now, anyone with a computer can access an unending supply of inspiration and ideas on blogs, websites, online magazines & newspapers, and, of course, Pinterest. Not to mention that in economic times such as these, lots of people are looking to buy less and do more themselves, whether it’s a gift for someone else or a home renovation for their own family.
And while lots of people have caught the crafty bug, it doesn’t mean all of them were born with an innate ability to sew and cook a perfect meal. That means that a whole culture of online sources have popped up to help.
For example, a search for “Cake Baking Tutorial” on YouTube gives you (at current time) 186,000 results.That’s a lot of cakes. And while anyone with a video camera and a kitchen could create one, there are businesses reaching a whole new wave of customers by producing professional, high quality help for those who need a little guidance.
One example that has come to my aid in the past is the Missouri Star Quilt Co. They are definitely one of the best examples that I have seen of a businesses in the crafting industry taking hold of content and using it to their benefit. Their “Cutting Table Blog” discusses different topics pertaining to the store, products, and lessons, and the voice behind the blog is one that many quilters could relate to. They also host a forum where their audience can connect and offer up their own content. There are help topics, topics where quilters can show off their work, and unrelated topics, such as a category where users can share recipes they love. They use Facebook to share deals and quilting humor, Twitter to respond to customers and share news, and YouTube to host their incredible wealth of tutorials that have over 30 million views.
For those with cooking on their minds, Breville is a company that makes small kitchen gadgets (think blenders, slow cookers and sandwich makers) who are, as they say, “food thinkers.” They have utilized the Breville YouTube channel to not only give users tips and tricks about their products, but to share recipes from famous chefs and the owners of some of the most popular eateries in the United States. Their videos often appear in series form, like recipes all from Florida or from the owner of Momofuku Milk Bar. Their tutorials have reached a wide audience, with nearly 3.5 million views.
Finally, Craftsy is a company that has incorporated all different kinds of classes, from cooking to gardening to quilting, and taken them to the next level. Classes on Craftsy are not free, but they are all taught by experienced instructors and are high quality. They are available online and through an app, and users can access them whenever and wherever, for as long as they want. They also have the added benefit of being able to interact with other students, ask the instructor questions, and get supporting material like patters or tip guides. There are plenty of photos on the site to give crafters inspiration and the ability to connect with each other. They maintain a Craftsy blog with useful information and peeks at the people behind their classes and materials, and they have made good use of social networks to share their materials. They have over 50,000 followers on Pinterest and nearly 2 million YouTube views of their free material and previews.
All of these companies have made use of content to connect with the online crafting crowd. Tutorials, photos and fun blogs, and forums are connecting people, teaching people, and are maybe even developing the next Martha Stewart along the way.