It’s one of the more bizarre global trends, and perhaps it says something about how we humans yearn to get back to the simple life, or are forced to during the lean years of a recession. Entrepreneur Magazine names crafting one of the top growing industries of 2011, with close on $10 billion in annual sales (as reported by the Association of Arts and Creative Industries) in the United States.

What is Crafting?

Crafting is a creative pursuit which involves hand-making objects (for example, from wood, paper, beads, cloth etc.), sometimes as a hobby and sometimes to create objects to sell.

Why is Crafting Hot Right Now?

Once upon a time, we were all crafters – making products for our own consumption, to give away to family and friends, or to sell at the local market to supplement the family income (actually, many families in the developing world still do this). Then came the industrial age and consumerism; we stopped making and started buying mass produced goods. Crafting allows us to indulge our almost-primal urge to be creators instead of consumers – wiling away a few hours whittling wood or rendering candles is good for body, mind and soul. But crafting offers more than taking our minds off mundane everyday woes; it’s also providing millions of Americans with a supplementary income stream during the most serious economic downturn since the Great Depression.  For some, crafting has even grown into a fully fledged and thriving business, as people scramble to purchase gorgeous hand-crafted goodies.

Who’s Crafting?

Just about everyone’s cashing in on crafting, these days:

  • Etsy – an online platform where crafters can promote and sell their goods, Etsy raked in a cool $72 million in 2011. Wall street firm Greencrest Capital has tipped Etsy’s revenue to grow to $201 million in 2016.
  • Craftstylish – as well as showcasing crafting businesses, Craftstylish also offers crafting How to’s.
  • Craft Mafia – a forum for crafters to network and to share inspirations and ideas.