Around one million hobbyists changed their careers to sell clothing and other craft products over the past two years, according to research by supplier LoveCrafts.
They were prompted to set up e-commerce businesses after the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, resulting in 4.1 million people in the UK now selling their own craft items as a part-time or full-time job.
LoveCrafts, which supplies products such as yarn, needles, threads, fabrics and hooks for hobbyists, found that 6% of Britons – 1.7 million people – now make their living from selling products they have made.
The survey found that 5% of Britons – 1 million – said the pandemic had led them to change their career in 2020 and 2021 and they have switched to selling their own products as their main job.
Edward Griffith, CEO and founder of LoveCrafts, said: “Coming through such a difficult couple of years, we’ve seen a rise in hobbyists monetising their crafts and it’s been dubbed ‘the year of the hobby hustle’.
“We have thousands of independent knitting, crochet and stitching designers who have uploaded hundreds of thousands of patterns to LoveCrafts, and in 2021, there were millions of downloads for indie patterns.
“We work with, and promote, ‘indies’ at every opportunity and offer help and support with marketing, including yarn and thread support, and the chance to collaborate with our marketing and design teams.
“It’s so gratifying to see how much the value of handmade crafts has increased, given the endless hours of creativity and skill that goes into them, and it’s great to see that handmade items are so sought after.”
Inspirational examples cited by LoveCrafts include acclaimed Jamie “Mr X Stitch” Chalmers who has carved a full-time career in embroidery after first picking up an embroidery kit as a hobbyist over 15 years ago.
More recently, Paula Milner gave up a job to turn her passion for craft into a full-time career with The Crafty Lass, based in Northamptonshire. “When I quit my job, people did say to me, ‘You’re a bit stupid, why have you quit a well-paid nine-to-five job to follow what is just your passion, crafts are not going to make you any money’.
“I had a few people say that, and I think if anything it spurred me on to want to prove them wrong, there is a way.”