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?

October 24, 2008

Trying to spin a positive yarn

Filed under: Business marketing — heathergooch @ 6:14 pm
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

So here I am, ready to take Gooch & Gooch (my half, anyway — my husband can keep on plugging away) into a new direction and focus on helping people in a field that I love. I’m scared to death, but I just got back from a COSE conference and feel emboldened.

Based in Cleveland, COSE is an acronym for the Council of Smaller Enterprises. I’ve just spent two days with some fantastic small-business owners from all over Northeast Ohio. We’ve done a lot of talking about new media and how to harness it. Now it’s time for me to file the business cards away, quit talking about what I want to do and start doing it.

I’ve spent 13 years in business-to-business media, the majority of which has been spent on covering the professional pest management industry. But as great a group as the pest controllers are — Joe the Plumber seriously pales in comparison when it comes to being down to earth, loyal, patriotic and er, licensed — I want to shift my focus toward things that interest me personally. I want to write about, and help publicize, professionals who design with and/or supply the pretties I love so much: beads, yarns, threads, fabrics. What can I say? Sites like Etsy.com and IndiePublic.com were practically designed with me in mind!

Business Directions Owner Sherry Mulne, an absolutely fantastic person and a marketing communications consultant for The National NeedleArts Association, took a chance on me last year as her part-time assistant. I am delighted to report that working for Sherry has been great, and has been a wonderful introduction to the business side of the needle arts (defined as crochet, knit, embroidery, counted cross-stitch and needlepoint; tattoos are merely a matter of personal preference). While I hope to continue fulfilling assignments for Sherry, I want to start taking on additional clients involved in needle arts and related crafts. I want to help build a brand for an independent retail shop. I want to spread the word about some wonderful patterns someone has designed. I want to get someone’s handmade item into everyone’s Christmas stocking.

Want, want, want. I guess I should first pull back and identify the needs.

That’s where you come in. What can I do to help build your business, and in turn, help build mine?

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