Editor’s note: ahead of our release of our newest report The New DIY: Retail Opportunity in the Passion Economy, our team Slack was abuzz with our latest obsessions and how they have a direct influence on the products we purchase. Below is that chat.

With less travel and more individuals staying home this summer, we saw a boom like never before in the DIY space. It seems like we all needed to find our own ways to stay sane during quarantine. A quick look at any of our search history on Google or Youtube would give a precise record of our DIY efforts, successful and not-so-successful.   When my wife came home to me attempting to give myself a fade, there was the search “How to cut hair” on Youtube.

But there were successes, too. Maybe this was the year you finally kept a houseplant alive, learned to play an instrument, or made risotto. With all of the world’s knowledge at our fingertips, all it takes is motivation, and sometimes a little cash.

There’s a network established for successful DIY and there’s economic opportunity in each step of the way; a virtuous cycle of Inspiration, Education, and Participation. This is the thesis for our newest report, out this Wednesday. Our interest can be piqued by a single Instagram post. On Youtube, content creators equip us with the know-how to turn our interest into an obsession. And when we're ready to make the leap, retailers are ready to sell us the goods we need.

In honor of our newest report, we asked some of our fully-remote team members at Future Commerce to share some of their new hobbies and the purchases they made to help them get started:

Jesse - Creative

After years of being a skate enthusiast who didn’t know how to do any real tricks (a poser), I finally decided this would be the year I’d learn to kickflip. I went to my local skate shop to stock up on the basics for making this dream come true.

The Creative Director's new whip
  • Complete skateboard: $160
  • Skate tool: $10
  • Skateboarding shoes: $80

Erin - Operations

I’ve always been an avid at-home cook/baker. While I didn’t pick up any new skills/hobbies in this area this year, I definitely think I’ve honed my cooking skills and cook better now than ever before! While I didn’t spend anything extra on new toys for my kitchen, I have picked up a few different crafts since the beginning of 2020.

Watercolor: ~$120

  • New Paints - $40
  • Paint Pans - $25
  • New Brushes - $25
  • Watercolor Paper - $20
  • Membership to a watercolor community $10

Crochet: ~$160

  • “How to Crochet book/kit” - $10
  • YouTube Tutorials - $0
  • ALL the yarn - $100
  • Crochet Hooks - $20
  • Patterns - $10
  • Postage to send my kitschy baby blankets to my nieces: $20

Nicolette - Social

As an apartment-dwelling Seattleite, I have always wanted a kayak or stand up paddleboard, but never had the room to store them or a car that can transport them. Once summer hit in the shutdown, we purchased INFLATABLE standup paddle boards and have been on them multiple days a week since:
  • SUP boards (2) - $900 on Amazon
  • Dry bag - $10 on Amazon
  • Life vests - $40 online Cabella’s
  • Sun shirts - $40 on Amazon
  • Cooler - $20 on Amazon
  • Electric Pump - $60

Kristen - Production

I have done a lot of purging, organizing, and redecorating in my home over the past six months, but I had to spend almost nothing on it because my husband didn't have a job for months (He does now). My favorite project has definitely been the 15 paintings I finished throughout our home...
  • Canvases and/or frames - $0 (I used ones I already had waiting for me and painted over others we already had as well)
  • More paint - $40 (via Amazon)
  • Audiobooks to listen to while I painted - $16 (via Chirp - great deals on audiobooks)

Kaylee - Intern

When my classes moved fully online and coffee shops closed, I was “forced” to teach myself at-home brewing methods (I of course wouldn’t settle for Keurig coffee being the coffee snob I am).

Soooo, I picked up a few must have items and learned a few different brewing methods:
  • Chemex- $45
  • Chemex filters- $15
  • Grinder- $30
  • Bonavita Kettle- $120
  • Scale- $55
  • French press- $20
  • Beans- $15-$25 (recurring)


These purchases aren’t simple goods for currency exchange. Instead, they’re investments that compound interest over time. If we were to tally the Total Economic Impact™(Trademark Forrester, please don’t sue us) of the 6 team members, they far exceeded the CARES act stimulus. But that’s the thing about DIY. There is no need for elaborate, over-the-top initial buy-in on every hobby. Anyone can join in on the fun, regardless of budget. This new economy of creators and creation leads to a new cycle of retail that the simple buy-use-waste model could never reach. This is the foundation of the Creator Economy and the emergence of a New DIY.