Listen to the article
With inflation rising and logistics issues affecting shipping times, everything is getting pricey. Everything from cereal at the grocery store to car parts to furniture is noticeably more expensive. According to a recent U.S. Department of Agriculture forecast, food-at-home prices are expected to increase between 3% and 4% by late 2022. However, another market is beginning to worry consumers; the crafting industry.
Crafting is simultaneously becoming increasingly popular and expensive. Both at-home DIY crafters and trade professionals like ceramicists are feeling the burn.
U.K. Professionals Feel the Heat
In the U.K., the Financial Times reported that supply chain problems and shipping conundrums caused by the global pandemic, plus the disruption to trade caused by Brexit and the ongoing war in Ukraine, have caused prices for raw materials to skyrocket.
For many craftspeople, obtaining crucial materials from glazes and clay to specific woods and metals has become a costly dilemma. In earlier decades, some manufacturing offshored from the U.K. has returned, but many vital materials must now be imported. For example, a glaze ordered from a U.K. supplier could arrive three months late because one element from Spain was delayed. This, in turn, could delay the delivery of a U.S. customer’s bespoke tiles order, and so on..
The Times also reported that glass blowers Bethany Wood and Elliot Walker, who are setting up their studio, paid 3p per kilowatt-hour at their previous location. The cheapest fixed deal quote for gas in their new studio was 9p, and some quotes were upwards of about 15p-20p. They settled on 9.4p for three years, with an £800 early exit penalty.
This is just the tip of the iceberg.
Supply Costs Soar
In the states, crafters and DIY home renovators also see record-breaking supply pricing. Look at the paint debacle. Multiple factors, from an unusual freeze earlier this year in Texas to surging demand to ongoing supply chain issues has created a widespread paint shortage– and if you can find it, the cost is going up.
The other side of the issue is that crafters around the country are finding it tougher to get the paint they want as store owners struggle to keep products on shelves due to the increased interest in DIY projects.
The production freeze down south slowed petroleum production, a critical ingredient for paint. Shortages of other goods have backed-up supply chains everywhere, all while the demand for chantilly lace, tricorn black and green smoke, the most popular colors, soars.
Crafting suppliers initially benefited when consumers headed to their stores for masks and other personal protective equipment and crafting hobbies to stay occupied at home. In April 2020, NPD Group reported a 70% increase in arts and crafts sales, particularly craft kits and reusable compounds. According to Google Trends, the increased consumer interest continued throughout 2020, with indexed Google search volumes for terms like “knitting,” “embroidery,” and “crocheting,” outpacing the year prior by 6%, 12%, and 18%, respectively.
Now, supplies are limited, and prices are jaw-dropping. With the government reporting that consumer inflation reached 7.5% over the past year (a 40-year high), the acceleration of prices is hitting everyone where it hurts.
Another crucial crafting supply is facing soaring prices as well. A. Sakthivel, Chairman of the Apparel Export Promotion Council, said that the price of 40- count cotton yarn increased 60% in the last year. Apparel exporters are now unable to book orders, and Sakthivel says that the textile mill associations should urge their members to bring stability to yarn prices.
Unfortunately, the globe is experiencing inflation that is causing a ripple effect of shortages and price gouging across a plethora of markets, and the crafting industry is no exception. However, CNBC notes that the Federal Reserve insists that the current spate of higher inflation is only temporary or “transitory,” as the central bank puts it. It is already showing signs of slowing. White House officials are more sensitive to rising prices. Still, they see the supply chain issues subsiding while observing essential expenses, such as hardware, lumber, and building materials, falling from their peaks.