Roundup #1

painting ceramics in cuenca ecuador

Roundup #1

This article was updated on April 12th, 2018 and first published on March 28th, 2018

Over the last few weeks I’ve put together articles on cups and rugs made by artisans, and the ‘where to buy‘ page.

As a result, I’ve had a chance to get a decent overview of stores selling goods made by artisans under fair trade conditions.

While running our own store over the last ten years, I have to admit I’ve probably been a bit lazy keeping up with what other stores have been doing.

This is especially so outside of the UK, where I was based until last year.

Some observations

Below are some personal, non-scientific observations.

Of course, as it’s such a wide field there are plenty of stores and products I’ve missed. I hope to get round to those soon.

  • There are a lot of nice-looking stores selling strong ranges of products in the US.
  • My impression is that in the UK, the current style of homewares tends to the rustic, with solid and neutral colours. While in Europe and Australia brighter and more colourful. In America traditional patterns and ethnic motifs are more common.
  • The differences in quality of websites and product photos are striking. There are some really well-designed websites out there that specialise in goods made by artisans. I think this area is doubly important for handmade and artisan products as it becomes more mainstream, with customers becoming more demanding in regards to levels of quality and professionalism. When looking for products to feature on this website I am definitely biased towards selecting products with good photos from really attractive and professional-looking websites.
  • There must be more stores in European countries like Germany, France and the Scandinavian countries but I didn’t find a whole lot that caught my eye. Admittedly I haven’t spent a lot of time researching here and will spend more time on this.
  • I have barely looked at all at what’s happening in Japan (where I have lived since September 2017).
  • I’m interested to see how artisans are using websites like Etsy to sell directly to customers around the world.
  • Likewise, I’m curious to look further into Amazon handmade offers but it looks like another channel for sellers, without necessarily providing anything unique.
  • More sellers are shipping worldwide, though costs still tend to be high.

Suggestions welcome

The plan is to put together a regular roundup as way to get some thoughts down in writing. These opinions may change over time as I write more posts.

I would welcome any suggestions on stores and products.

I’m also interested in innovative business models in the artisan sphere, and projects working to develop artisan industries in developing countries.

Please feel free to comment below.

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