(Feature image CIRCA 1970: Photo of Mose Allison Photo by Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)
Famed jazz & bluesman - and immaculate song craftsman - Mose Allison wryly sang about wanting the good things in life:
I don't want much in this world, it's the simple things I treasure.
'Till I die, I would get by, on fame, riches and sensual pleasure.
Some people just never seem to get enough.
Some people, want salvation, paradise and all that stuff.
But I’m so easy going, don't even keep the score.
All I want is plenty, but I will take more….
We appreciate the good things in life too, erm…being luxury brand consultants.
Add in quality, rarity, heritage and a good brand narrative.
In a world of 24/7, mass-produced everything and the tech crucible, faster and newer isn’t always better.
Sometimes faster is just, you know, faster.
Newer in many cases is just the old dressed up.
And no one knows that better than the skilled people who make it by hand, old school, and most definitely analogue.
Distilling, maturing, lathing, sketching, hammering, colouring, sewing, finishing, enamelling, smelling, touching, moulding, soldering. From fabrics to leather, wine to jewellery, fashion to accessories…not an algorithm in sight.
Craftsmanship as a reflection of culture
The UN said that traditional craftsmanship is perhaps the most tangible manifestation of intangible cultural heritage. Understandably they want to encourage artisans to continue and pass their skills and knowledge onto others.
It’s a complex issue since globalisation poses challenges to the survival of traditional forms of craftsmanship. Mass production can often supply goods needed for daily life at a lower cost, in currency and time, than hand production. Many craftspeople struggle to adapt to this competition. Environmental and climatic pressures impact on traditional craftsmanship too.
The “Maître d’art” Jean Dominique Fleury, painter on glass, among its apprentices © Alexis Lecomte, Ministère de la Culture - France
So, trying to figure out the proper role and place of craftsmanship in today’s world is hard.
But here are some observations on the subject in relation to luxury brand marketing; why it matters and why it should remain a key part of luxury brands.
Reflections on craftsmanship
Knowledge and skill
Craftspeople are experts in their field. Most want to continue to perfect their skills, keep on learning, using new tools and techniques to improve how they work and get a more superior end result
Attention to detail
The constant pursuit of craft mastery demands time and attention. This translates in striving for ever-improving quality standards. It means a high awareness of the problems when you cut corners. It also means patience. A rare quality today.
Many view their work as a lifestyle. They take their work personally. Not the same where the focus is more on salary than on the work itself. Craftsmen care about their work in a way a machine doesn't. If your work is about creating durable, timeless and elegant pieces, you are playing a different game
Customers are buying something which end up, often, as a precious emotional connection.
They know that sometime, somewhere, somehow, their purchase was worked on by a person who gave their whole attention to it. For many luxury brand buyers this connects at an almost spiritual level. Think fine wine, watches, jewellery, art, houses, objets d’art…
Imagine if craftsmanship disappeared
Well, nothing can be taken for granted as we know.
If luxury goods did not have, in some way, a craft component, how very dull and boring life would be.
What would it say about us as a society if there were not a few things you could buy with the beautiful imperfections and one-off quality of its maker?
What would it say about us as a society if we were unable to keep all that individual historic knowledge and skill alive?
Not the same as buying a new iPhone.
The very existence of craftsmanship says a lot about who we are.
The same way great art and music touches our soul, craftsmanship speaks of creativity and of our constant strive for beauty.
Sounds pretty important to us...
At Anew, we get it:
We are brand development and marketing specialists for ambitious businesses of excellence. We help companies increase brand profitability through sharper insights, distinctive propositions, creative ideas and faultless execution. We are particularly adept at working directly with luxury brands, business owners, start-ups and entrepreneurs who are committed to sustainability, outstanding quality and craft.
You can read more about us here
Drop us an email. Based in the heart of London, we'd be delighted to meet for a coffee, either face-to-face or virtually to discuss your brief.