Crafting industry takes hit, but adapting amid pandemic – Montreal

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This time of the year is usually when business picks up for Bijal Shah.

Her crafts, BsBowzart, are regularly on display at local Montreal-area fairs and markets, but the pandemic has forced things to work a little differently.

Crafts designed and created by Bijal Shah.

Crafts designed and created by Bijal Shah.

Felicia Parrillo/Global News

“Now we feel more of the impact because all of the fairs are cancelled,” said Shah.

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“So a lot of people are turning to online, so we’ve started to spruce up our Etsy stores.”

Shah has been selling her crafts online for years, but local fairs are usually how she does the bulk of her business.

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She sits on the committee of Boîte de Noël, a 40-year-old craft fair that features dozens of local artisans.

But with that, too. being cancelled this season, Shah says she’s participating in new events — like virtual fairs.

“I don’t expect the same amount of sales this year, but at least it keeps me busy and it makes me look forward to something different,” she said.

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Jenna Kroon is also looking forward to the different ways she’ll be selling this year.

Her business, Kroon Designs Upcycled Creations, usually takes part in a number of local events.

Now, she, too, is shifting online.

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“If nothing else, this time in the world, has been a real boost to get the online website going,” said Kroon. “So that way, we’re just a click away from finding something special.”

The Canadian Crafts Federation says just like many industries, crafters across the country have been forced to adapt during the pandemic.

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“It’s quite a big change for people to be shifting completely online, to new systems,” said Maegen Black, director of the Canadian Crafts Federation.

“But at the same time, this has been a trend in craft sales for some time. It’s been a trend in online shopping in general for some time now.

“COVID forced us to move quite a bit faster.”

Since these crafters and many others can be found online, they’re hoping people will take the time, and an extra click, to search for them this holiday season.

“When you get machinery to mass-produce things, the magic’s lost in the volume,” said Kroon. “So it’s so special to have something that’s been created with so much love.”

© 2020 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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