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Why are so many craft supplies shops closing?

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  • Why are so many craft supplies shops closing?

    Just wondered what you think about the amount of bricks and mortar craft supplies shops closing down. I know of around 5 that have closed in as many months. It is worrying that these shops are going out of business. Anyone have an opinion on why this is becoming more common?
    Handmade Hannah Blog

  • #2
    I would like to think that it is not a reflection on craft work, in that it is in a decline. However, I really do think it has a lot to do with buying online. Although it is great to see what you are buying, and I do have a great local shop I buy from regularly, I also buy a lot of repeat items (embellishments, peel-offs, card, paper, envelopes, etc) so I don't need to go to a shop and buy them and will use online companies. Not always quicker, but as I am restricted as to when I can go to the shop, it makes buying a lot easier for me. I know this will not be the way everyone likes to buy their craft items, but it works for me.

    One craft project, like one cookie, is never enough!
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    • #3
      It is not just craft shops that are closing, look down any High Street, there are so many vacant shops.

      I think that high rents, rates and parking fees are partly to blame, as is the recession?

      Also the trend is more to web shopping, if you work out how much it costs to drive to town at .45p per mile plus, then pay for parking etc it is much less expensive to buy online and pay for postage.

      Perhaps one day, and I do hope not, there will be no shops at all, just internet shopping.

      I personally do all my shopping on line, I hate shopping in town, I do however support my local corner shop as much as I can as I do want it to be there when/if I am unable to drive anywhere.

      Basically, if we do not support the smaller shops, they will go?

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      • #4
        I agree with Jill. I actually think there has been a rise in the number of people getting into crafting, but online prices are so much better than craft shops. I have found around here though, that several shops have branched out into having a craft department. We have a local 'everything' shop that sells all sorts including bulk packs of cards for the same price as I can get them online, which is just fab. Our local deli (having been affected by the arrival of Waitrose) now does sugar craft supplies which they started when our local craft shop closed and they bought their stock. Their prices are brilliant too Actually, perhaps my town is just odd, because we've got a fabric/applique shop just opened too and a brilliant haberdashery which sells *everything* lol
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        • #5
          I don't think it's due to a decline in crafting, if you look along many high streets you will see numerous empty shops with signs saying to let. I think it's due to the recession, the cost of commercial rents and council tax. Physical shops have considerable higher overheads than on line shops and therefore must have a higher profit margin must achieve far higher sales.

          I think all of the above have contributed to the decline in numerous high street stores and the trend will only continue to rise.


          • #6
            My town must be odd too as we've just had a new craft shop open, we also have one that does mainly patchwork and quilting and a haberdashery, all within about 5 minutes of each other!


            • #7
              I only buy my crafting supplies on line as there are no shops any where near me that cater for my tastes. This could be a gap in the market to fill, or it could be the fact that there is no market for such products. I would love to feel and see the products before I buy them. I have made a few mistakes in the past buying on line as I couldn't feel the thickness of the card/get a feel of the dimensions of something.
              I think one of the biggest stumbling blocks with craft shops is that you are relying on people to use their imagination and be creative. Not everyone has the ability or inclination to do such things. They might think 'Ooh I'd like to make my own cards....but I need embellishments, card blanks, adhesives, patterned papers, punches, a die cutting machine.....' They then see a card in their local 'sells everything shop' for £1 and buy that instead - much less hassle, mess and cost.
              Handmade Hannah Blog


              • #8
                It's definitely not a decline in crafting in my opinion. I think Jane hit it right on the head with her comment about rent, rates and customer parking.

                Unless you're prepared to open a shop off the beaten track it's very expensive for anyone but large brands to stay on the high street. I've always thought councils would be wiser to lower rates significantly in order to encourage more small businesses into the high streets and boost employment levels... but then local councils don't care much for employment levels as that's a national statistic!

                I try and support independents where I can whether it's art & craft shops, sandwhich shops or even video game shops!

                On another note internet shopping *is* great... but often a lot are selling the same stuff and there never is as much variety as you think... also when it comes down to product knowledge/ordering unusual items (fairly important in crafting) you can't beat a bit of good friendly advice from a knowledgeable shop owner... even if he/she has a vested interest!


                • #9
                  Well I opened a shop in Bristol about 6 months ago and the cost of business rates, rent, insurance, every kind of council by law, business electrics, the list of outgoings was endless, then people would come in, look at your stuff and say, can get that at 1/2 the price on ebay. Net result, another empty shop and back to selling on ebay. And you dont get shop lifters on ebay either.



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                  • #10
                    For me I cant always get to a craft shop, working every day and some weekends does not help! which I should imagine is the case for a lot of people. I would really much rather buy from a local independant craft shop than a chain one.
                    I think the internet is the reason for craft shop closure as you get much more choice and often cheaper than you could buy in the shops.
                    The disadvantage of buying online like Hannah said you cant feel the weight of card or the quailty of the beads etc. And then you have to WAIT! for your items to come!
                    (Gone are the days of feeling like a kid in a sweet shop!!)
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                    • #11
                      I had a physical shop for 2 years before I went back to online only and there were a number of reasons why we decided not to renew our lease. There were personal reasons such as my hubby's job being at risk and an awful awful landlord but there were lots of business reasons too...

                      As abbybeads said the rent, rates, electric, phone, insurance etc really really added up and even on a good month once I'd deducted all these outgoings plus the cost of stock I'd be lucky to make much of a profit from the actual shop, it was the online sales that kept the business going. A lot of the craft supplies are low cost items so even though you might have a really busy day in the shop the total value of sales won't necessarily be too high, the recession means that people are a bit more careful spending on a hobby when that money is needed elsewhere. Customers also want a large choice (I know I do) so lots of stock is needed, and for your regular customers new products every few weeks too.

                      I miss the shop and I especially miss my customers but I know I made the right decision for us at this time - I'd never say never again though.
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                      • #12
                        Agreed, our last remaining haberdashery is closing I am gutted. Visited yesterday, with that 'kid in sweetshop' feeling to find she is closing at the end of October. So, our town will have nothing left. Must admit though I detest town and rarely visited, much easier to shop on line - but of course, just needed some trim there and then, so my own fault for not supporting better.
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                        • #13
                          I agree that it's the rise in online shopping that is a big cause of bricks and mortar shops closing. I had a bead shop from 1997 to 2008, and took the decision to close it and sell online. A part of the reason was that online buying had really taken off and was affecting business in the shop. For me, it was a good decision and has worked out ok, but I know that people miss being able to see beads in real life. It's difficult to have both. For shops, they have such a lot of costs that online selling doesn't, which makes it difficult to compete.

                          There are, however, many more bead fairs around the country than there used to be, and I wonder if this will become the future of craft shopping? A place to see and choose, and get to know your suppliers.
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