REINVENTING THE CRAFT INDUSTRY UTILISING DIGITAL TEXTILE PRINTING
The Craft Sector is a huge worldwide network of multiple small businesses and one that has expanded with incredible speed as it has embraced the commercial opportunities offered by digital disruption.
In the Craft Council’s Publication of November 2018, ‘Supporting Makers Needs’, the UK’s Craft Industry as a whole was reported to have contributed over £4.6 Billion to the UK GDP per annum , of which 18% (£828m) was attributable to Textile based products.
The Industry was said by the survey to be primarily composed of small businesses, sole traders and the like, who often practice their craft alongside another career. As the Craft Council showed, over 50% of the 11,000 plus Craft Businesses had a turnover of less than £10,000, and with total Craft Employment at 43,650, it can truly be said to be a Cottage Industry. It is for this reason that we have witnessed the growth in the Digital Print Bureau (PSP) for custom printed textile fabrics worldwide.
Digital technologies offer unlimited customisation, alongside personalisation, and fuel creativity amongst the craft and artisan community.
Typically, with textile products such as Tea Towels Aprons, Kitchenware, Cushions, Quilts, Gifts, Fashion Garments and Interior Accessories. The arrival of Digital Textile Printing has proved to be an extraordinary boost for the Craft Industry. The advantages of Digital Textile Printing for the Craft Industry are many:
Digital print technology facilitates fabric production in any volume. For the crafter, the capability to have short production runs has offered diversity and reduced the financial risk and burden for many small businesses.
With the advent of affordable and easy to use software, creating original artwork through Photoshop and other software has allowed the product designer an independent route from concept to final product.
Colour was once restricted by the affordability of screens, but with digital tech, printed colour is unlimited and the creative has access to 16.7 million colours. All of which can be utilised simultaneously with no additional cost or loss of speed.
Localised efficient production, often required in under 48 hours, has empowered the micro-factory and “Roll to Roll” digital print service provider. Servicing the craft community with a clean efficient, online supply chain.
All of these factors have enabled creative individuals, designers and artisans to build their own unique businesses and together generate a vibrant craft Industry in ever increasing numbers.
As the consumer demands customisation and that unique personalised product, the craft business sector has a prosperous future, worldwide.
Etsy, the number one online market place for handmade and craft products shows this conclusively. With 1.93 million sellers (in 2017) worldwide with over 65 million buyers! It’s the best-known global marketplace for unique and creative goods from one-off handmade products to homeware treasures.
In this vibrant ecommerce eco-system, Etsy is closely followed by other online vehicles such as Not on the High Street (UK), where more than 5,000 Creative business owners join together in a curated online store, that offers products to nearly 40 million annual visitors looking to own innovative, affordable, trend driven personalised gifts and homewares.
Driven by the consumers demand for production in any volume, Digital Print Bureau’s have sprung up to service this demand. However the millennial printer has a very different business model to the textile converter of the past. Often with only a single printing machine in a small space, and a digital printing machine that's capable of printing over 30-300m of custom printed fabric per hour.
The expansion of this sector owes much to the technical innovations of the print machine manufacturers, chemists, and specialists, and their collaboration with the traditional textile supplier to change process, increase sustainable manufacturing and bring about change.
In the UK alone there are over 85 of these micro print businesses, the future for the creative and the print industry working together is set for huge growth…
IMAGE CREDIT: KORNIT DIGITAL
CAPTION: KORNIT OFFER UNIQUE, SUSTAINABLE DIGITAL PRINT TECHNOLOGY FOR THE MILLENNIAL MANUFACTURER.