November 07, 2012

It's That Damn Rustic Artisan Look - It's So Hot Right Now!

Craft beer and vintage clothing is way cool. It's also big business. I discuss. [This article was originally published on Elephant Creative on October 30 2012]

These days craft is way cool: craft beer, ye olde style cider, bespoke brogues, handmade leather satchels, vintage clothes, old time décor, provincial produce and bucolic settings. That’s what the people with disposable income are buying these days. And that includes fashion conscious people in foreign markets of course! And quite rightly some people are making a killing tapping into this worldwide demand for craft and bespoke products. But isn't it ironic that in a digital age, people are baulking products from big corporations and reverting back to the small time, local look and feel of start-ups and one room ateliers?

In these times of economic slack it’s as though people are railing against crass commercialism in a subconscious protest over the pace of modernity and the incessant force of change; maybe it’s a dissent against the powers of capitalism and captains of industry who got us into this whole economic mess. Who knows…either way, craft products meet a demand: a demand for a sense and feeling of the olden days, your childhood and grandmas where things ran at a quieter pace. But enough of the high brow musings and back to business! We know that craft is in, but who’s meeting the demand for craft products and who’s setting the pace?

Well Cambridge Satchel Co. is a fantastic example of a company that does craft products very well. CSC was founded by England’s Julie Deane as can be seen in the latest Google + advert. The company produces bespoke, handmade leather satchels and is fervently committed to keeping the raw materials and workers in Britain. And by playing on the cliché English look of old CSC has built a brand known and sought after worldwide. You can find out more about the company and the products it offers by clicking here.

But what’s the secret behind the success of Cambridge Satchel Co.? Well the first thing is that the company taps into that demand for old, local look products. But what really sets Julie Deane and the team at Cambridge Satchel apart is that they marry seamlessly local with global and old with modern. Old with modern: yes they make satchels, but you can get them in all sizes and in every colour of the rainbow. How cool is that!? That’s a firm that is innovative and making the routine revolutionary by taking something old and making it appear very new.

Local with Global: Cambridge Satchel Co. is fronting the latest Google marketing effort under the heading: “the internet is what you make of it.” That’s because Cambridge Satchel are a small operation that has leveraged the internet and all the tools available to listen to, connect, engage and influence with the global online audience. So what can we take from this?
  1. Rustic and craft is a big growth sector
  2. The entire world is your market when you talk craft.
  3. You don’t have to be big to make a splash, just have big ideas.
  4. Give your product an identity – English satchels…what about Irish brogues?
  5. You do have to add a twist to your product – what about multicolored Irish brogues?
  6. You need to make yourself known online – get a website, use Twitter, Facebook and every social media platform available and make some noise.
  7. Make sure you give the entire customer experience – give a story behind your company, explain how it was made and just make everything feel local.
Some more craft companies making a splash that you should check out:
  1. The Liverpool Craft Beer Co. – this is a funky Liverpool craft brew set up who’s slogan is: “Just like out beer, our brewery has been built with our own hands.” Read more about them here.
  2. Ewing’s Belfast Fishmongers – this is an old-timey feel fishmongers who really play on the local but do global. They've recently sealed a deal to export their fine Irish produce to the UAE. Read more about them here.
  3. Pips Cider – this is a craft cider producer tucked away in rural Hertfordshire, England. You can read more about them here.
  4. Atelier Tally is a blog on what’s going on in the world craft and artisan, you can see what’s going on here
  5. Loake Shoemakers in Northampton, England is a big company but looks and feels local and does global. Yes it’s big but small start-ups can learn from this family shoemaker. Read more about them here.

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