09 January 2016
Australian Handmade Trends of 2015
The year 2015 was great for handmade. More and more customers turned to handmade as the 'slow' movement gained momentum through the year and customers became more conscious of where the products and presents they bought were coming from, and those brands that connected with their target audience on an emotional level – thrived. There were, of course, some products that gained cult status through the year; did anyone not have a foil-lettering inspo-quote print on their studio wall? But there were also some overall trends that defined 2015.
The Grateful Red Studio’s inspo-quote print in foil lettering was on-trend in 2015
It was a year of very few colours. The standout colours for the year, across all handmade items, were mint – which continued after a strong 2014 – peach, and copper. Although not technically a colour, monochrome was everywhere in 2015. Instagram feeds the world-over were themed in monochrome; interiors were styled in monochrome; Insta-quotes were largely monochromatic; and it was all spurred on again by the overwhelming popularity of marble in the early- to mid-year. Marble trays, marble candle vessels, marble coasters – we're talking real, crane-lifted off the ship, Italian marble hand-cut by the maker – the marble trend started in homewares (as trends often do), and went on to grace jewellery, then marble-printed fabrics, marble backgrounds on wall-prints, marble-swirled concrete planters – you get the idea.
Colour Trends: Urban Décor’s mint and marbled concrete-planter and Blossom Couture’s copper and marble jewellery set
You may be able to guess the top handmade product trends of 2015. You've seen them everywhere and my bet is that, as a maker who appreciates handmade, you own at least one of the following: a polymer clay necklace or trinket bowl; a woven wall hanging (most probably with tassels); a soy candle in a vessel (marble, copper or glass with an inspo quote); a t-shirt yarn, oversized, crocheted floor rug or basket; or a blonde-wood home decor item like a plywood cut novelty-shaped shelf, Swiss-cross hook, an oversized wooden-bead garland, or blocks and Scandi trees for all your shelfies. Like me, you've probably lusted over some of the super chunky knitted throws made using PVC pipes for needles.
Hand-woven wall-hanging by Georgieva Art Studio
Unlike the previous year, 2015 saw less diversity in handmade branding. If you went around any market towards the end of the year you could be guaranteed about a third of the stalls would have plywood signs with their brand name cut or painted in, and another third would have light-boxes from typo or Kmart. Logos were mainly about brush script calligraphy, water colours and botanical vectors. Another strong trend in logos was geometric shapes and clean Sans Serif capital lettering.
Light-box signage was popular for market-stall branding last year. (Image credit: ninasaycheese.com)
Instagram was queen this year in handmade marketing. With loops, tag games and brand-rep searches, makers were on their phones more than ever, if not promoting, then working hard to get the perfect shot with a crisp white background. Post production was a long process for many this year, through Canva, Wordswag, Flipagram and a host of other, seemingly endless, new apps. The one app that came, and abruptly left, was 'followers', which drove instagrammers crazy, obsessing over who liked, and then un-liked them after the initial liking was reciprocated, (note - if you haven't deleted it yet - do it now for your own sanity!)
Our predictions for handmade marketing in 2016 are that Instagram will continue strongly but the relationship-marketing trend we are seeing with big business will become more accessible to handmade businesses. In 2015 handmade entrepreneurs were better, on whole, in communicating their brand story and finding their tribe (both customers and like-minded makers). However, in 2016, as people get smarter about how to use Facebook to reach their ideal customer with an offer that is likely to interest them, rather than broadcasting out to all potential customers, it's going to be a much more personal shopping experience. This will involve individualised offers for customers and more direct email marketing.
Our top pick for handmade marketing success in 2016 is to have strong collaborations. The best products will be from handmade entrepreneurs living their brand stories, coming together and creating limited-edition handmade products that appeal to the existing customer base of each brand, and creating even greater value for both brands. By working smarter together to enhance the customer experience, 2016 will be wins-all-round for handmade businesses.
Rumble & Co. Co-founder. Fairy Godmother to creative businesses, people investor, and grand-planner.
Rumble & Co. help small businesses realise their dreams. With degree qualifications in marketing and management and experience managing multiple retail and wholesale stores (including eight of their own), whether it's pixel perfect graphic design and creative business development and marketing strategies you need - you'll get results when you work with Rumble.