It used to be when you thought of crafts you thought of grandmotherly creations that might cover a toaster oven or tissue box. At least that's what I thought of, but such are not the crafts of today. Today's crafts are the sophisticated result of highly skilled people who desire to create something of meaning and share it with others.
The craft industry spans a variety of goods, from craft beers and spirits to woodworking, soap making, jewelry making, quilting and pottery. Even food preparation has been elevated to an art.
The craft industry today is a $30 billion industry and one reason for the increased interest is that it's gaining popularity among millennials.
Today, consumers want to surround themselves with more interesting everyday objects. Whether it's a hand carved wooden spoon or a hand potted sponge holder perched next to the kitchen sink, people want more than an item that anyone could find at a big box store. It's not just that the piece looks different from the machine massed produced item, it's about the experience of buying the object as well. Consider the difference between going to a big box store to perform a transaction for a soap dish versus strolling through an art market and meeting the creator of the exact unique "something" you didn't even know you needed. You learn about how that everyday item is made and when the creator learned to do such a thing. In many cases, learning their craft was passed down from a prior generation who honed their skill out of necessity or passion. The cliché, labor of love, has new meaning and consumers want a piece of that. Suddenly not only is the object interesting, but the creator is interesting and the consumer has an enhanced pride in owning something meaningful and handmade.
Household goods that used to be handmade out of necessity are now being recreated as a form of personal expression when quality is desired or out of the passion for creating. In a time when consumer products are mostly disposable and mass produced overseas, there is a growing interest in the truly authentic, slower process of that which is handmade. This is where art meets utility. It's not just made in America, it many cases it is made in the next town and can have a positive impact on continuing a tradition and supporting the very thing that makes your region special and thrive.
- Buying artisan made goods preserves a skill set that can be passed to future generations
- The purchase creates meaningful manufacturing jobs that produce goods made in America
- Supporting craft businesses promotes authenticity and quality
- It enhances a regional economy by promoting local products and local business owners
- Vanity! Cool people buy cool things
This blogger graduated from Goldman Sachs' 10,000 Small Businesses program. Goldman Sachs is a partner of the What Is Working: Small Businesses section.