If scrapbooking — a hobby more popular than golf in the United States, and worth billions of dollars a year — is anything to go by, business in the arts and crafts sector is set to boom. And mosaicing is fast establishing itself as the next hot arts and crafts trend — good news for Jacqui Charles, founder of Mosaic Works.
Charles’ company sells mosaic tiles, products and DIY kits wholesale to arts and crafts retailers. She fell in love with mosaicing after doing a workshop, while employed at a company that made glass tiles. “It made me look at the ‘reject’ tiles in a new light. They had very minor defects but I realised they would be perfect for mosaicing and that there must be a market for them,” she says.
When she started, however, that market was small. “I needed to make more people aware of it and get them excited about mosaicing,” says Charles. But doing so was easier said than done, particularly since Mosaic Works dealt primarily with retailers and not the end-consumer.
She started running mosaic workshops for retailers and consumers, and kept in close contact with stores where her products were listed, keeping them up to date on new products and trends. “It’s important that the retailers are excited about our new products if we want them to pass this excitement on to their customers,” she says.
Charles also publishes a monthly newsletter, maintains a regular advertising and editorial presence in arts and craft magazines, and attends exhibitions and trade shows. She’s already run one corporate ‘mosaic morning’ event and is exploring new opportunities offered by bachelorette parties, training and corporate events.
The efforts are starting to show results. “I can’t take credit for single-handedly starting a mosaic movement, but things are definitely picking up,” she says. On a weekly basis, the company gets at least two unsolicited requests from new retailers interested in listing its products. “This is driven directly by an increased demand from consumers for mosaic products,” says Charles. When the trend starts to peak, she’ll be sitting in the pound seat.