Real men cross-stitch, arrange flowers and make felt dolls

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Real men cross-stitch, arrange flowers and make felt dolls

An image of flowers in a plastic water bottle arranged by a 36-year-old office worker. He recently started learning flower arranging as a new hobby. [JOONGANG ILBO]

An image of flowers in a plastic water bottle arranged by a 36-year-old office worker. He recently started learning flower arranging as a new hobby. [JOONGANG ILBO]

 
A 36-year-old man who works for a marketing company in Seoul took up a new hobby in November: cross-stitching.
 
It was with his girlfriend’s recommendation, and he said he’s having a lot of fun these days since the pandemic forces him to stay indoors and spend lots of time at home.  
 
“Unlike my friends who relieve stress playing online games, I get more stressed out when playing computer games,” the man said. “Cross-stitching is very helpful in easing my mind, and actually is very fun. So I’m really enjoying cross-stitching these days during my leisure time.”  
 
But cross-stitching is not his only hobby. He recently began learning flower arranging via YouTube videos.
 
“It’s really good that I can learn flower arranging through online videos since I do not have to care what others think about me,” he added. “I’m able to purchase related materials online as well, so I’ve been suggesting cross-stitching and flower arranging to all my acquaintances.”
 
More Korean men are now turning to such hobbies to spend their leisure time while the coronavirus pandemic prevents them from enjoying outdoors activities.
 
According to Gmarket, sales of handcraft materials purchased by men skyrocketed 259 percent in January and February compared to same period a year earlier. Sales of cross-stitch materials jumped 81 percent on year, while sales of knitting materials rose by 32 percent on year.  
 
During the same period, sales of flowers to male customers via Gmarket rose 151 percent on year. Sales of secateurs, which are used for flower arranging, increased by 20 percent, while sales of plant pots soared by 48 percent on year.  
 
Handicraft materials being sold at Gmarket. [GMARKET]

Handicraft materials being sold at Gmarket. [GMARKET]

 
A 42-year-old banker recently registered for a drawing-learning course on Class101, an online lecture platform.  
 
“I have always loved drawing, and I guess there are a lot of men who are the same as me,” he said. “There are so many online drawing courses these days, and lots of men are showing interest in them.”  
 
On SSG.com, sales of cross-stitch materials purchased by men soared by 55 percent January-to-February compared to same period a year earlier. Sales of knitting-related materials rose by 32 percent, while sales of gardening products increased by 10 percent.  
 
As demand rises, companies are scrambling to strengthen their product lineups and marketing strategies.  
 
Gmarket recently introduced various types of products that can easily remove thorns from flowers. This includes polyvinyl chloride gloves with soft spikes so that people can easily remove the thorns from the flower stems.  
 
The online retailer also introduced a product that allows customers to make felted wool dolls. The product includes all the materials, as well as instructions.  
 
“On top of online games, more men customers are showing interest in new hobbies such as flower arranging and handcrafts these days as many outdoor activities are banned due to the virus pandemic,” said a spokesperson at Gmarket. “As customers are allowed to purchase all materials online and learn through online videos, it also helped demand.”  
 
BY BAEK MIN-JEONG, CHEA SARAH   [chea.sarah@joongang.co.kr]  
 
 
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