Friday, January 24, 2014

Is Jewelry Making Becoming Less Popular?

By on Friday, January 24, 2014 9 Comments

Someone made this chance comment at the Grand River Bead Society not too long ago. She lamented that the jewelry making classes at some bead shows weren't filling up as they used to.  Interesting comment, I thought.  Is it just an isolated period or is there really a downward trend?


"Jewelry" search term - worldwide Trend
There are no large surveys I know of for bead show attendance across the board. But there is one tool that could shed some light on the subject.  Google Trends not only keeps numerical track of search terms people use but even forecasts trends. Note they only have data going back to about 2004. So I ran some common search terms as an experiment. Please bear in mind these are just broad terms. Most people would be using much more specific search terms.

The graph above shows the search term data for "jewelry" worldwide.  There is a slight decline from 2004-2007, but it remains steady after that. The spikes are during the Christmas run up with tiny bumps around Valentine's Day and Mother's Day. So people generally research for jewelry at one main time of year. The letters mark where jewelry was observed in news headlines.

"Handmade Jewelry" search term - worldwide trend
"Handmade jewelry" showed a shallow decline but there was no strong correlation with time of year. Perhaps people use handmade bracelet or handcrafted necklace or handmade pearl ring etc rather than just handmade jewelry.  So I switched to just "handmade" and whoa!  The trend is definitely on the up and up for all sorts of handmade products, not just jewelry. So did the term "DIY" (not shown). It is heartening to see growing interest in non-factory manufactured things.

"Handmade" search term - worldwide
When I ran "jewelry tutorial" in Google Trends, the results also showed a distinct rise in interest.

"Jewelry Tutorial" search term- worldwide
I can definitely relate to the jewelry tutorial trend results with my own blog.  When I started my blog back in January 2007, there weren't that many tutorials around. However, in the last couple of years or so, I have noticed a large increase in online tutorials making my hunting for the best finds both easy and hard at the same time! Easy because there is so much out there; hard because the curating now takes a lot longer!

Perhaps that's the real reason why people are not attending some show workshops as much. Although I'll bet the workshops are still popular at major shows. I think it is not really a decline in interest but a change in how and where people want to learn.  Increasingly, people are finding it more convenient to learn (and shop) online in their own time.  It is the only option for those who live far from major cities and find it hard to travel.

So what do YOU think? Is the handmade jewelry making craft on the decline? Please vote and share your thoughts and observations in the comments.

Do you think interest in handmade jewelry making is on the decline?
  
pollcode.com free polls 

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Original Post by THE BEADING GEM
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9 comments:

  1. No, I don't think handmade jewelry is becoming less popular. It's quite the contrary. I believe that more people are hopping on the band wagon and trying to do more themselves. The whole concept of self-sufficiency in many areas is spilling over into jewelry making. Now there are so many resources available everywhere. You really don't have to travel to a class anywhere. Just about anything can be researched online for free.

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  2. I agree - there are so many free tutorials, I think people are utilizing them more, rather than taking individual classes. I liked seeing the big uplift in everything handmade. It's a good thing!

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  3. I have noticed an increase in everything related to handmade jewelry in my country - Bulgaria - more stores offering jewelry supplies and selling handmade jewelry, incl. online, more Facebook pages for handmade items and more classes, organized by the above mentioned stores. But people like me, who know a foreign language and can't always afford classes, would rather go for tutorials, both free and paid, there are some very affordable ones. To my opinion, classes are the best, though.

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  4. Thank you for putting this poll out there! Believe the cost of classes can be a factor. If you are making a living at your handmade jewelry you weight-classes vs supplies! Supplies can win out because it helps you achieve YOUR bottom line, tutorials on line are very good!

    Ciao Linda

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  5. I absolutely think that the majority of people are less likely to want to go out and learn in a paid class skills they may find elsewhere like YOUTUBE, a book and most definitely a tutorial. I think there are so many resources online that we don't need to ever leave home. :
    You don't need to schlep all of your tools and supplies to class, you can craft in your PJs too. -

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  6. I do agree with the convenience factor.

    People learn differently. Some prefer having an instructor on hand to ask questions. Others, and increasingly so, are quite comfortable with learning from a tutorial online.

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  7. I am going to be forthright and honestly answer this question. Please do not feel that I am lumping ALL beading shops with this statement. How ever 2 of the local shops where I reside have totally turned not only myself off bu also a number of people I know due to their unethical business practices. Both are guilty of knowingly breaking copywrite information. One told me the bead artist was dead..she is very much alive. One has persistently utilized designs without approval of the design artist yet charges for patterns copied. When an business owner does this type of behavior, I can not help but think what is this person doing to 'cheat' on me. We have formed our own beading group where members are helping each other with the understanding on NOT copying patterns and seeking free information or requesting a 'teaching' fee from a Designer pattern..and we are getting our supplies from on line groups. It is not the entire picture, but in my area it is a major picture of deceit.

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  8. I think there are fewer people in classes for the same reason there are fewer people at shows-there are so many of them that they are just split up more. Where there once were only 2 or 3 classes a month in my area there are now 2 or 3 per week.

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    Replies
    1. I think you are right, Dawn. Not just for classes but for everything else - blogs, websites, Facebook pages. You name it, there are now more of them.

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