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The West Virginia Crafts Study:
The Impact of Crafts on the State Economy


· The direct impact of the artists and craftspeople working in the state of West Virginia is $54,512,330 annually.

· The estimated comprehensive economic impact of the arts and crafts industry, including crafts retailers, organizations and publications is $81,176,908 per year.

· The vast majority of artists are working alone in a studio (approximately 70%) located in their home or on their property (88%). Meanwhile, 21% indicated that they work in a studio with a partner or family member. Another 7 % are owners/partners in a studio with paid employees.

· The mean age of craftspeople in West Virginia is 54, only modestly older than the average of other working West Virginians. This is consistent with the hypothesis that craft producers typically require higher than average skill sets than that of other workers – skills that are acquired during a prolonged period of time.

· The annual household income derived from craft-related activities was reported to be $13,114. This income provides, on average, 27.5% of the total household income, while 12% or respondents indicated that craft income was the only source of household income.

· Approximately 75% of the items produced by West Virginia artists and crafters are sold within West Virginia.

· On average, wholesale revenues account for 48.9% of the annual sales/revenue, while direct retailing accounts for an average of 37.7% of annual sales/revenue.

· Craft fairs provide the largest source of retail sales, representing 36.9% of total sales. Studio sales account for 34.7%, while commission sales comprise 14% of total retail sales annually.

· Woodworkers appear to have the highest average sales at $25,476 per year, followed by artists and craftspeople working in paper ($24,263), leather ($23,500) and fiber/textiles ($22,224).

· At approximately $54 million, the crafts industry generates only $13 million less than the personal consumption of fuel oil and coal in West Virginia and only $32 million less than software consumption. However, when consideration is given to the potential comprehensive economic contribution, the crafts industry falls just behind the software industry in West Virginia.

Identified Needs

· The study solicited input from respondents regarding what additional assistance they require in order to improve their businesses.

· More than 34% of respondents indicated a desire for additional technical training in their respective disciplines, while 56% reported a need for business disciplines.

· The respondents also a need for computer skills and bookkeeping.

· Of the business training needs identified, assistance with marketing their work is desired by nearly 28% of respondents. In fact, 28.7% identified marketing related needs as things they require to make their business more successful.