Positive Yarn

January 26, 2009

But will she trade clubs for crops?

Martha Stewart’s scrapbooking line makes sense. Paris Hilton’s does not. Or does it?

When I first heard reports from the floor of last weekend’s Craft & Hobby Association (CHA) Show that not only did the heiress lend her name as a scrapbooking and fabric embellishments brand, she was actually at the show to promote it, my jaw dropped. What are they thinking?

Actually, it seems they’re thinking good business thoughts. As the topic made its rounds on the industry message boards, some pointed out that while you may love her or hate her, you know of Paris Hilton, which brings the brand instant status and recognition. In these credit-crunched times, it makes more sense for her to associate with products that are more affordable than, say, a line of high-end clothing that few can afford. It also speaks to people wanting to turn to their home lives and memories for entertainment — a night of scrapping is certainly more affordable than a night on the town.

Another selling point for “Paris Hilton: The Creativity Collection”: It seems to be aimed more at tweens and teens than at soccer moms — or even other women who are Paris’ clubbing-aged equals (although I’m sure someone’s 21st birthday photos might get a special laugh when noted that they’re at least partying on Paris paper).

While some of Ms. Hilton’s past escapades haven’t exactly been rated PG, much of the junior high set is either oblivious to that or can overlook it while being charmed by the pretty pink floral themes. As a parent of a budding photographer, I can attest that putting a camera into a young person’s hands can make you see the world from a different view, where something as mundane as a blanket draped on a chair can be interesting at the right angle. As I’ve banged the drum before, the future of many creative industries rests on the interest of the next generation — if they don’t want to learn how to make something, there won’t be anyone to sell to in the coming years. So kudos to you, Wooky Entertainment. I’ll be interested to see how this all pans out.

However, our fascination with celebrities and their hobbies isn’t a new trend. Look no further than the 1972 Celebrity Needlepoint Book by Joan Scobey and Lee Parr McGrath, a coffee table tome with such luminaries as Princess Grace of Monaco, Mary Tyler Moore, Betty White and even football great Rosey Grier. Mr. Grier is also known for his knitting, as is Madonna, Tracey Ullman, Sarah Jessica Parker and several other famous folks.

Which all leads me to wait patiently for 2010, when avid knitter Julia Roberts graces our movie theater screens with the Friday Night Knitting Club. In the meantime, my recommendation for a cold winter week is to consider warming up your shop with a Hollywood-themed open house. The Academy Awards is just weeks away — why not fill a “Curious Case” with “Benjamin Buttons,” for example? Or for the TV crowd, host a “yarn tasting” that showcases Vanna White’s own brand?

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