2013 was an amazing year for us at Planet Handmade. We started the year basking in the research from DBIS that put the craft industry forward as an important revenue generator. The heritage craft industry employs nearly 210,000 people with up to a further 112,000 who work on an ad hoc basis in around 85,000 businesses with 96% of these businesses employing 10 people or fewer and 78% classed as self employed because it is just them working in the business. The figures show that 83% of the workforce s male but our experience in the craft sectors we operate in would tend to disagree with this.
By April we were trying to decipher the mess that Royal Mail made of their new charges. And after a lot of noise from organisations like us and individual businesses late in 2013 the parcel charges were revised slightly.
Now the “small parcel” rate applies to any package that “does not exceed 2kg in weight and fits within one of two maximum dimensions: (i) Length 450mm x Width 350mm x Depth 80mm, or (ii) Length 350mm x Width 250mm x Depth 160mm”.
Incidentally, they were to start the consultation process for next year’s charges in December but given their privatisation, it’s not clear what the process now is.
Then we were rocked by another government department trying to delist crafts from the list of creative industries. You can read the full article here. The department was keen to emphasise that it didn’t believe that craft businesses weren’t creative but that it was difficult to collect the necessary data for the reports it needed to produce. As yet there has no report from the consultation so we wait to hear if a solution has been found.
And throughout the year we have been continuing to develop the Planet Handmade website although I have to admit it has been on the back burner for the last 3 months. Not because we have lost any of our passion but purely for financial reasons.
You may not know that our company is made up of three volunteers and we are all self employed. Given the current economic situation we have had to go out and earn money – there is only so long you can live on fresh air. But we do feel we have something to offer to our industry so we are looking at other opportunities such as Crowd Funding but more on that anon.
Meanwhile we will continue to keep you updated on the issue that affect small and growing creative and handmade businesses, and we hope that you will continue to follow us and tell us about your experiences.
We expect 2014 to be an exciting year and hope yours will be too.