While crafting today is often a hobby, it has, fairly recently, become something else, too. In the 21st century, crafts have become profitable.
Like the craftsmen of old who practiced their art as a living, the modern crafter has found a real market for his or her creations that reaches far beyond the local artists' co-op. It may have begun in the '90s with eBay, but it's Etsy, launched in 2005, that really highlighted crafting's potential as an entrepreneurial pursuit. The online marketplace connects craft-makers with craft buyers all over the world, featuring 800,000 sellers and 14 million registered users in 2012. Sales, mostly of handmade items (some Etsy stores sell vintage goods), totaled more than half a billion dollars in 2011.
And there are other sites, with names like Artsefest, Art Fire and Crafters Buzz, dedicated to helping crafters sell their wares. Crafts have become such a big small-business genre that Etsy holds an annual Summit on Small Business and Sustainability, hosted in cities around the world, where crafters and artists can learn about the financial, marketing, sales and eco-friendly sides of their industry.
And, yes, they can even learn about selling their hair jewelry. The market is small, but enthusiastic.
For more information on crafting, including ideas and instructions for projects, check out the links on the next page.