Why the Art and Crafts Supplies Industry Needs to Put in Efforts towards Inclusiveness
Millennials have increasingly become major contributors towards the arts and crafts industry, and they are set to become the next generation of master craftsmen. Activities such as painting, knitting, and model construction are witnessing an influx of the younger crowd, owing to the increased interest being given to the DIY trend.
Such activities are being viewed as a great outlet for self-expression, and artists are not only using art supplies for themselves or as gifts, but are also turning their trade into an avenue of income by selling their works.
However, even as this transition is becoming more apparent, shops selling crafts and arts supplies and hobby stores have been struggling to make their businesses attractive to the new age shopper. Younger crafters are not likely to enter old fashioned arts and crafts shops, and are increasingly preferring to opt for online commerce sources for their needs.
Customer Engagement Innovations is the Recipe for Success
The new generation of artists are disrupting the conventional business models. Stores are being pushed to adapt to the changes, or risk losing major business. Businesses running newer models are increasingly focusing on customer interaction with innovations such as in store studios which allow new and experienced artists and crafters to not only purchase their supplies, but also rent equipment, take art classes, and interact with other members of the arts and crafts communities, sharing creative experiences with each other.
New stores also push to create welcoming environments with the aid of high tech facilities such as digital kiosks, which not only allow shoppers to browse the internet for art and craft ideas, but also make it easy to try out samples before making purchases.
Despite a number of changes, many of the arts and crafts stores continue to hang onto practices that were popular decades ago. Such stores are only being operated with the traditional ideas of art practices, while ignoring the needs of consumers who are less than 40 years of age. On the other hand, more than 40 per cent of today’s artists and crafters are millennials. Consequently, the lack of appropriate customer engagement is hurting businesses.
Players Pivot to Grab New Art and Craft Supplies Ideas
Most of the art supplies industry still operates through brick and mortar stores. However, online retailers and home shopping has also developed a niche in the industry. Consequently, it has become important for businesses to take up omni-channel sales strategies to sustain profitable operations.
Further, arts and crafts supplies are no longer limited to traditional mediums. New artists are taking to the practices of recycling, repurposing, and upcycling materials. Others have taken to focusing their skills on refurbishments and repairs. Consequently, businesses can find opportunities of customer engagement by conducting workshops, aftersales services, and advice on different materials and craft styles. Businesses must also focus on the allure of personalization through arts, which is one of the key factors which drives people towards creative crafting and art hobbies in the first place.
Getting to Know Consumers - Art Becomes Accessible to the Blind
The field of art is increasingly becoming a universal avenue of self-expression crossing conventional restrictions of culture, time and language. However, at present, the world is home to several hundred million blind or visually impaired people who until recently were left out.
However, recently a number of innovations, some of which made possible through technology are aiming to make the art industry more inclusive, to allow even the blind to get in on the action. A number of blind people have primarily experienced art through audio descriptions. However, such tools are often not comprehensive, and do not allow blind people to interpret the art for themselves.
Consequently, advocates for the blind in the art industry have taken to adopt the sense of touch to substitute for sight in art projects. For instance, 3D printing technologies allow for the touchable versions of famous art pieces, which allows the blind to feel iconic pieces of art such as the Mona Lisa. Tech advances also allows the activation of audio descriptions, as the person moves around touching such pieces.
Another way which artists make their offerings more inclusive is through the use of traditional braille, which covers for the lack of access to the visual portion of the art and craft works. A similar method for inclusivity is the use of layering in paints, which allows art pieces to provide a more tactile experience to viewers.
On the other hand, artists take this trend to its extreme, which makes it mandatory for viewers to touch the art piece to get the complete experience of what the artist intends to convey. This includes the use of unconventional materials such as pieces of pottery, metal screws, and plastic pieces for art enthusiasts who cannot see.
The trend is spreading from individual artists to even large scale museums and galleries who have started to introduce tactile tours in a bid to boost inclusivity. The art pieces in such tours rely not only on touch but other sensory organs including smell and hearing, which not only widens the demographics of viewers, but also gives artists greater scope for their creativity.
Tech Advancements Herald Changing Times
Over the decades technology has become an increasingly larger part of the art scene. New innovations have resulted in a greater scope of blending art mediums, which fosters human interactions and making art creation in a number of cases, much simpler.
Newer artists have also taken to new supplies and materials such as smoke, lasers, and the use of artificial intelligence, which makes the artwork dynamic, and liable to change. Other art forms make use of reactive robotics, which interacts with viewers, and change depending on the viewers actions.
Other art pieces make use of real time sensors which analyze light, pollution, sound, and other inputs to make changes to art pieces, essentially generating visual arts such as sketches or movies. Such technologies allow artists to come from more tech-inclined demographics. Such efforts into boosting inclusivity in art and crafts is expected to aid the growth of the industry in the foreseeable future.
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