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Thread: Looking for info on the Creche market.

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Western Massachusetts

    Smile Looking for info on the Creche market.

    Hi everybody,

    This being my first post, I'll start off by saying I'm glad to find a forum like this. Christmas has always been a "big deal" in our home as it is I'm sure for most of you. Well, you wouldn't be here, right? On the other hand, if you're a newbie like myself (numerically) but not as gung ho about Christmas, keep poppin' in, but with an open heart, mind, soul and eyes. (Oh yes, and let your eyes and heart play the role of your ears.)

    NOW, my craft -- CRECHE BUILDING -- and inquiries about its place in the overall scheme of Christmas sales, etc. Forgive the awkwardness, but I'm trying hard not to step over any lines. I'm in the process of trying to obtain some funding for what's now a one-man creche-building shop, and this means, of course, I've got to come up with a "business plan," and do my homework. One of the questions centers on the overall status of the arts/crafts business I'd like to expand on. Well, outside of the
    specialized woodcrafting Houses (yes they are deservedly dynastic!) in Oberammergau, Germany, Italy (Fontanini) and perhaps other areas in the Alps and Holy Land where creche stalls are made, I'm completely in the dark as to what the market looks like. These German Houses and Fontanini are "perennials," but I don't see much of the same potential in our country; which could be a good thing.

    It's awfully discouraging to trudge into a Wallyworld in the months before Christmas knowing it'll have its ten dollar special (with figures, too) that looks like it came from the devil's own factory. Well, it may as well have since it has "Made In China" by a special arrangement with Wal-Mart, no less; which leaves Wal-Mart in the unenviable position of having to explain its dealings with the Red giant given China's ever-so-tolerant attitude towards Christians.

    Just to make the creche stalls in various styles takes a considerable amount of time, never mind making figures. (However, most of mine have a consistent Germanic-"Eurocentric" look.)

    I'm not convinced that nativity creches will ever "go out of style" but it sure seems like a lot of people, including church Sunday School volunteers, are -- to save a few bucks -- willing to settle for cheap-looking plastic or sloppily-made/glue-splotched wooden models --coming from overseas with precious fewer carrying "Made in Germany," "Made in Italy," or "Made in Austria" labels on them. So, is there a potential market for an "American school" to rise up and take its rightful place? I know Bill Egan's been a wonderful leader/teacher with Christmas International, and there's a Creche exhibit at the Knights of Columbus Museum in New Haven, CT, and the University of Dayton's Library has a terrific standing display of creche art.

    But I'd like to know if there's potential to put more of this art where it belongs, in front of our children and grandchildren. (Far better to see them re-enact the Nativity than get hooked on Idio-games.)

    Sorry to give you so much in my first do-drop-in, but a curious mind needs to know a few things fairly soon.

    Thanks and glad to be here!Steven

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Connecticut, USA
    Hello Steven! Welcome!

    I think your idea of building quality creches here in America is a great idea. I wish our country had more quality craftsmen.

    I would think that there would be a market for them, especially if people were buying them as heirloom gifts.
    The holly's up, the house is all bright, The tree is ready, the candles alight; Rejoice and be glad, all children tonight.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Western Massachusetts
    Dear Mistletoe,

    Thank you very much for your encouraging words. I tried to get on the Forum last night, but to no avail (just wasn't one of those nights, computerwise) and today while riding a bus to a doctor's appointment, I had the chance to jot down some ideas of how and where I'd like to "take my ideas" and one of those ideas paralleled your message when I came up with the title "Nature's Heirlooms: Hand Crafted Creches, Indoor Decorated Birdhouses..." etc. The title's still up in the air as I'm working out the details on that. Being a former reporter and editor, I have a keen appreciation for a nice and tightly crafted headline much as I do nicely built creches.

    One of my inspirations happens to come from an unusual source for creche-builders, i.e. TLC's "Cake Boss" reality show. Not that I have an delusions (or for that matter, desire) to become a "TV celeb" I'm nevertheless highly impressed with the host and owner Buddy Velastro's professional approach towards designing, crafting and building his cakes on a "to-suit" one-on-one basis. I got to thinking, "Why not use a fairly similar approach towards building creches and decorated birdhouses. etc/. Sometimes it only takes a slight adjustment to transform a structure that looks like it won't sell as a creche, but could have a lot more selling potential as an heirloom-quality home decoration. This way I work along with the customer to create a better product that's worthy of the term, "heirloom quality" and avoid falling into the trap of producing future tag-sale kitsch or schlock items. Forgive me for coming across in an arrogant manner. But let's say you want to buy something nice for your mom to really honor her in the later years of her life. Naturally you'd also would like it to reflect such quality that her grandchildren will be eye-balling it for a while. I did with my grandmother's creche-set from Germany. In the end, who knows what the dollars and cents value might be; what it matters to the family members' hearts is what really counts in the long run.

    What a pleasant surprise to have read your comments after working on my new plan of business earlier today. Right now things are "in flux" as I mull this or that idea and how everything will fit. Recently I've started a blog dealing with creche building and in general promoting The Christmas Creche. It needs a lot of work. But it's allowed me to post some pictures of a few of my creations and a chance to offer a few opinions -- choice (LOL) or otherwise -- about creches and Christmas. (Thankfully I'm better with my woodworking tools than I am with my mouse!

    By all means, I hope you and everybody reading this reply will drop in when you get a chance. I've listed some links you'll also find interesting and hopefully they'll lead you on to even more links. What Forrest Gump's Momma used to tell him about candy boxes can especially be applied to blog and other LINKS!

    Again, Mistletoe, thank you very much for your encouraging words and have a VERY MERRY CHRISTMAS.

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