The career advice experts always suggest that you “follow your bliss” to find your perfect job. The more practical-minded suggest that you concentrate on the things you do best and like to do and farm out the other stuff to people who like to do those things.
That’s all well and good, but for most of us in the needlepoint business, we are too small to wear just the hats we like best.
But that’s starting to change and it’s a good thing for our industry and a good thing for us stitchers.
Changes in Shops: New needlepoint shops are being opened. The folks who are opening them have had careers in business, often in sales, so they understand things like merchandising and customer service. Because of their backgrounds, they’ll put stores on a firm financial footing instead of the “loss leader” shops I used to see.
These new shopowners understand that the Internet is essential to a good business, so they will support internet sales, social media, and phone orders. For those of us who live far from a shop, this is great news. We can expect what available to us through our computers just to get better.
Changes in Designers: A needlepoint designer is often a one-person shop: designing, managing inventory, dealing with painting services, selling, shipping, and doing the books. If you are an artist, this cuts deeply into your designing time. More and more designers are handing over the non-design work to distributors. These can be companies such as Fleur de Paris, a traditional distributor, or they can be a designer, like Painted Pony, who distributes other canvases in addition to their own designs.
For us as stitchers this is great. Shops can have access to a bigger selection of designs without creating new accounts. Great designers are encouraged to do what they love best. Beloved lines don’t disappear.
Changes in Artists: It used to be that not many artists who didn’t design needlepoint licensed their work to be produced on canvas. Only a few companies specialized in this and many popular artist weren’t available in needlepoint at all.
Licensed artwork on needlepoint canvas is an exploding market. There are many companies that specialize in this and many more who only license one or two artists.
For us as stitchers this increases the chances that art you love will be turned into needlepoint. It also means that a far greater variety of artist styles is available to us.
Does the needlepoint industry still have obstacles to overcome? Yes.
Are we on the edge of a new bloom of needlepoint popularitry? Not quite yet.
But it’s an exciting time to be a stitcher.