In our experience, the best way to get to know today's makers is by engaging them in real, honest conversation. Using the connections we've made during our work with makers at ATA, we're inviting brands to get in on these conversations, too.
In January, we hosted our second Maker Focus Group, this time focusing on makers who use sewing and fabrics to bring their creative ideas into reality. These makers are a huge part of the diverse and powerful crafter market segment. We sat down with a panel of real makers to discuss how online connections and content influence what products they purchase. To view the full video of our round table, click here. In the meantime, you can read just a few of the major insights from our Maker Focus Group featuring Today's Sewers, Sewists, and Seamstresses in this blog post.
Highlights from Our Conversation with Sewers, Sewists, and Seamstresses
- Makers who use fabric and sewing can go by many names. We've written on the "identity crisis" in this maker segment on our blog before, so we made sure to ask our panel where they stood on labeling themselves. When we posed the question, several panelists said they liked the sound of "sewist," though they hadn't really heard the term before. Some of the alternate answers our panelists gave include fashion artist and designer, but most just consider themselves "creators who sew" instead of subscribing to a rigid label. While we didn't expect to come to a consensus, the input of our panelists is valuable for a brand looking to build a genuine connection with makers like them.
- Their favorite online brand interactions are inspiring and tailored to their needs. When we asked our panel about their online experience with brands, the responses were mixed. Some have managed to find brands they love and that they feel understand them. Others cited that their biggest struggle is finding brands and wholesalers that can supply them with the best quality at the right price and quantity - and a lot of that has to do with a poor web experience that doesn't offer much choice or information. The content our panel loves most from the brands they follow are tutorial/webinar learning courses as well as social media posts that feature the work of other "sewists." Our panel takes this type of content as a sign that the brand truly cares about the work of makers.
- The connections theybuild with other sewers, sewists, and seamstresses online are bothpractical and emotional. Within their own online networks, makers who sew love to support the work of others. Even if they've never met a particular maker in person, following their journey through social media uplifts and inspires their own work ethic (not to mention the products and techniques they choose to use). In a practical sense, sewing makers do pick up tips and recommendations from their online communities, but the emotional aspect of following those they admire may play a bigger role in their use of social media.
Conclusion: Sewing Brands Have A Long Way To Go When It Comes To Makers
When it comes to accessibility to products and materials for truly devoted makers, we heard right from the makers themselves that brands and wholesalers could certainly do better. Our panelists revealed that they've struggled to find providers that can offer the right amount and quality of products for their hobbies and small businesses. They told us that manufacturer websites and customer service, across the board, could be much more helpful and understanding of their needs as modern makers. While some fabric brands have taken strides to reach cosplay makers with the best experience, the sewing market segment as a whole has a lot of growing to do.
In response, we encourage sewing brands to do two things: 1) watch the full video of our focus group to understand exactly what our panel wishes the brands they use could do, and 2) use that research to really stand out as a great partner that genuinely understands makers. Now's the time to claim your space in the maker segment.