Tech Industry

CraftClick.com envisions arts-and-crafts empire

CraftClick.com, a 5-month-old arts-and-crafts site, has bought Stenciling.com to add the site's community of decorative arts enthusiasts to its network.

Long the fabric of small-town mom-and-pop shops, arts and crafts are becoming the goods for superstores on the Web.

CraftClick.com, a 5-month-old arts-and-crafts site, said today it bought Stenciling.com to add the site's community of decorative arts enthusiasts to its network. CraftClick boasts 100,000 products in its supply store and offers content, Web hosting and free email for those in its community.

Stenciling is the 12th small arts-and-crafts site that CraftClick has bought in the past three months. By buying up small niche community sites, including Stamparoo.com and Tolenet.com, CraftClick said it hopes to be the largest arts-and-crafts resource on the Net.

"Our goal is to control all the significant entry points to arts and crafts on the Internet," said company chief executive Peter Yollin. Yollin said the network currently has 500,000 registered users and pulls in 750,000 unique visitors per month.

The company is among many newly formed supersites for arts-and-crafts consumers and hobbyists, a group that in the United States spends an estimated $20 billion annually. Craftopia.com, backed by Santa Monica, Calif.-based eCompanies, launched in March. IdeaForest.com, backed by Bain Capital's bainlab and Media Technology Ventures, among others, is expected to launch in the next couple of months. Michaels, the largest arts-and-crafts retail chain in the United States, said it is planning to open an e-commerce site shortly.

"The industry just isn't going to support this many competitors. The number will drill down and that will happen either through attrition and acquisition," Yollin said.

"And we're interested in acquiring every significant competitor in our space."

CraftClick was also talking with another recently defunct competitor CraftShop.com, which filed for bankruptcy after only a year in operation. CraftShop's investors included CMGI's @Ventures, Primedia and Brand-Equity Ventures.

CraftClick has raised about $1.4 million from investment firm Venture Catalyst and is in talks to raise another $10 million. CraftClick is traded on the over the counter market.