London-based online crafts marketplace LoveCrafts has secured £26m ($33.5m) in funding to expand its social media platform and e-commerce marketplace.
Designed to be a digital community where home crafters can share pictures of their completed works, trade patterns and buy supplies for new projects, the site blends free social networking with low-cost patterns and competitively priced craft equipment. The company has raised more than £43m ($55.5m) since its launch in 2012, and currently hosts millions of users across 140 countries.
Commenting after the close of the funding round, LoveCrafts’ founder Edward Griffith said: “It’s always been our goal to connect makers, designers and creatives across the world in a social and accessible way, and this investment will help us to do this in more markets, with greater scale and better tools.”
The site enjoys the most popularity among American hobbyists and crafting enthusiasts, with the US accounting for 45% of LoveCrafts’ market. Led by new investor Scottish Equity Partners, LoveCrafts is set to extend the site into new categories, such as quilting and baking. However, founders say the site intends to remain true to its existing model, announcing no further plans for membership fees or other monetisation channels.
The increasing popularity of education-based online arts and crafts communities echoes the desire for upskilling and further education among key consumer groups. For more on the key consumer groups eager to enhance, learn and share skills online, see Crafty Millennials and Impatient Upskillers.