Following the vertical publishing theme last time, I thought I’d explore this a bit more. In particular to consider how we’ve broken out our vertical market of craft into one of the fast developing businesses we’re running today.
I’m happy to admit to something of a mistake I made back in 2009 when we originally launched our consumer and eCommerce businesses. At the time I was new to both publishing and craft (I’m still learning a lot about both). I assumed that craft was our niche, and that’s where we should focus. It felt like a category with opportunity, scope for growth and it was clearly a strength of our publishing list. Much of that was true, and we have enjoyed good growth on the back of the general explosion of interest in craft.
Craft may be described as a niche vertical, but it’s a large market. Reports size the arts and crafts market in the UK between £1.5bn/£2bn and almost everyone has crafted at some level, or has a relative or friend that does. When you think about it, craft is hardly a niche at all. It’s ubiquitous, whether it’s embedded in your family through an ardent crafter, out of necessity to repair the odd button or something to entertain your children on rainy weekends.
So, back to my mistake. I thought we needed to build an online monster in craft. An exhaustive all encompassing giant shopping offer that covered all categories and where you could get every product you needed. What I’ve learnt is that this was probably not the best strategy. We could do it better.