Research commissioned by Amazon Handmade has revealed that last year Britain saw the biggest increase of new handmade artisans in a decade, with a 33 per cent increase in self-employed crafters recorded between 2019 and 2020 alone. This growth contributed to an overall rise of 21 per cent more makers setting up handmade businesses over the last ten years.

Amazon Handmade – a store for handcrafted personalised products, supporting local artisans – conducted the research which identifies Birmingham, Edinburgh, and London as Great British craft hotspots. Birmingham and the West Midlands saw more growth during the pandemic than any other region in the UK, and Edinburgh (home to 18 per cent of Scotland’s artisans) and London (31 per cent of Britain’s artisans) host the highest number of artisans nationally.

To celebrate these craft hotspots, and to support and inspire local artisans, Amazon Handmade has gifted three large-scale, 3D, handmade billboards to three established independent artisans in their home cities of Birmingham, Edinburgh and London.

Lisa Butters, Global Store Manager, Amazon Handmade said: “Last year was a record for number of self-employed artisans across the country, showing just how resilient Britons were in the face of a truly unique time. With the huge rise, we saw that people took to creative outlets to express themselves and created so much with their craftwork that they began selling their handmade goods, and even created their own businesses. The entrepreneurial Brit is growing, and we want to support our local artisans as much as possible this festive season and beyond.”

Brits interested in shopping for beautiful, local and handcrafted products can learn more at Amazon Handmade.

The craft revolution

The growth shows no sign of slowing as Amazon Handmade found lockdown crafting has inspired a wave of creative side hustles among Brits. One in five (18 per cent) of those who took up creative hobbies during the pandemic have been inspired to leave their 9-5 to sell their own handmade goods, with over 80 per cent of people under 35 who took up craft during the pandemic now selling products they make themselves either full or part-time.

Those who chose to leave their 9-5 job to pursue selling their handmade goods full time cited improved mental wellbeing (66 per cent), a desire to be more creatively fulfilled (51 per cent) and career autonomy (52 per cent) as their reasons why.

The data shows that Gen-Z and Millennials are at the centre of the nation’s 9-5 exodus, as 36 per cent of people who took up craft during lockdown under the age of 35 surveyed now sell handmade items as their main income.

Artisans in Beauty and Grooming saw the biggest growth since 2010, with a 141 per cent increase, followed by Sporting Goods (47 per cent) and Toys/Games/Musical Instruments (20 per cent). Craft specialisms for areas across Britain were also identified, with the South West specialising in tanning leather, North East in manufacturing carpets and rugs, Scotland for knitting and textiles, and West Midlands for jewellery.

Amazon Handmade billboards #CraftedWithLove

The report, based on data mined by economic consultants Metro Dynamics spanning the past 10 years, found that of the key UK craft hubs, Edinburgh indexes particularly highly for textile artisans, Birmingham for jewellers, and London for beauty and grooming artisans. To keep these traditions alive and support local makers, Amazon Handmade has chosen the below businesses to celebrate with a handcrafted billboard:

Dawn McKenna with the Bowzos Dog Collars billboard in Edinburgh

Dawn McKenna, 52, Edinburgh

Dawn has been celebrated with a Textiles billboard to promote her business Bowzos.

Dawn commented: “Bowzos started in 2014 when a new member of the family came along, our naughty Beagle, Honey.

"I was inspired to make her something special as I couldn't find anything unique, so with some scraps of fabric and my history of crafting, I made her a collar using local tweed.

"Now I sell tartan bow-tie collars worldwide, all inspired from my love for Honey. She’s just turned 8 years old, and this billboard is just the birthday present she deserves!”

Antje Kriesche, 52, London

Antje Kriesche at the Funky Soap billboard in London

Antje has been celebrated with a Beauty & Grooming billboard to promote her business Funky Soap Shop.

Antje said “Funky Soap started 10 years ago in my kitchen. With my obsession for skincare and everything handmade, I created our first batches of soap and shampoo.

"From this point business developed quickly and we soon had to find a workshop and expand. But our ideas have stayed the same. We are dedicated to crafting high quality, healthy and effective skin and hair care products that are kind to our planet.

"Our mission is simple: To use the power and simplicity of nature to cleanse, soothe, heal and protect your skin and hair!”

Asad Bangash & Asiya Asad, both 35, Birmingham

Asad and Asiya at the Mani and Lizaa billboard in Birmingham

Asad and Asiya have been celebrated with a jewellery billboard to promote their business Mani and Lizaa.

Asiya commented: “Mani & Lizaa was started in 2019 named after our two beautiful daughters Iman & Aliza.

"I started making embroidery art when I was only 12 years old and never stopped since that moment. My husband is passionate about wooden jewellery and really loves making and designing exclusive designs and wooden products in between his mental health supporting job at NHS.

"All our products are designed/created by us and are truly one of a kind.”

Customers can shop artisan businesses on Amazon Handmade.