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As the editors of Craftastrophe, Sam and Karen are on the cutting edge of viral Internet humor. What started out as a fun idea to get a few laughs has blossomed into an online forum of the worst the Internet has to offer.
As Craftastrophe celebrates one year of hilarious craft mishaps and mistakes, we catch up with Sam and Karen, its two hilarious bloggers. Craftastrophe shows that knowing what’s not cool can be just as fantastic as knowing what is.
13 Questions with Sam and Karen of Craftastrophe
1. How did you get involved in craft blogging and what motivates you to continue?
Craftastrophe was born after a night of IMing each other with strange things we found on Etsy.com. We were laughing our butts off and decided other people would, too! Our motivation is typically based on our audience’s reaction to our site, we love how well received it’s been!
2. How significant are the topics of cool hunting and trend spotting in the world of craftastrophic blogging?
Hunting for stuff to make fun of is fairly minimal as readers send in bad crafts and links to bad crafts all the time. Trend spotting with crafting is more about the materials used than anything else. For a while it was wet felting (which is hideous) and lately we’ve been getting a lot of female genitalia inspired crafts - polymer clay has been really popular.
3. How do you define a trend?
Something that goes viral on Twitter or Facebook usually trends well.
4. How do you define cool? Or, perhaps for your team, the more appropriate question is how do you define ‘not cool’?
Most of the stuff we feature? NOT COOL. But there have been a few items that, even though they’re a little out in left field have received many comments from people who would—and have—purchased from the shop owners.
5. Do you need a culture of innovation to create something that is cool?
I don’t think so, no. Cool can come from many facets of a homemade item no matter the current trends. The funny and craftastrophic-ness comes from when the creator completely misses the mark.
6. What is the best way to create an infectious idea, product or service?
Word of mouth—always; Twitter has been awesome for that. Seeing the Internet trends of what’s hot at the moment and taking that idea and running with it. Talking to others and ‘research’ your idea before completely jumping in can make a big difference in how it’s received.
7. What is the key to innovation?
Paying attention to what topics, ideas and items have been trending and running with that works well for what we do. For example, Obama running for President and ‘Twilight’ have helped create a whole new genre of cult classic-type fan memorabilia. The political “bad crafts’ have been hilarious!
8. What are the most important trends you see in the DIY/craft industry?
Upcyling has been FABULOUS. For one, items are reused to create something else, and also it’s been fabulous for when the crafter completely misses the mark making for something that generates quite a few laughs. The Toothbrush Bracelet is a good example of that.
9. What are your ambitions for Craftastrophe.net?
A year after starting the site, I think our ambitions are still the same: make people laugh. Once we’re unable to do that anymore, I think that will be the point where we reconsider its future.
10. What is an example of a time where you have thrown away an existing idea to force yourself to find something new?
There’s been a few occasions when getting to the funny was taking too long. I think we’ve both thrown out MANY of those posts.
11. How do you reset yourself to be creative? Do you have any rituals?
When we’re fighting to find the funny, listening to Dane Cook brings it back, nearly every time.
12. Professionally, what do you want to be doing or studying in 10 years?
Karen: I’m going back to school next year to become a nurse. Craftastrophe plays no role in that. LOL!
Sam: I already work at my career, which I don’t really talk about in my online world. ;)
13. What are your most important hobbies?
Karen: Running. You know, when I actually go and do it. It clears my head.
Sam: Hobbies? Pffft. Unless wiping butt and making lunches are hobbies, I got nothing.