Yesterday afternoon, my wife and I attended the second Keepers event hosted by Carrie K Artisan Jewellery thanks to the invitation of Geri and her gang at linea Communications. Themed "Aspects of Love" in time for Valentine's Day, the showcase featured various artisans and "bespoke" businesses with products ranging from visual art, design, champagne, desserts, poetry and jewellery.
As I browsed the displays and spoke to the various "artrepreneurs" proudly displaying the fruits of their labour, I realise that most were highly qualified and educated professionals. Discarding their power suits for a maker's apron, they heeded the clarion call of self actualisation and the fulfillment of a dream, taking that leap of faith into independence.
So who are these artisanal entrepreneurs or "keepers"?
- Jewellery designer and silversmith Carrie K. (Carolyn Kan), a former advertising director who decided to invest her creative ideas into necklaces, bracelets and rings. Her latest "Word" collection mixes designs with words that are customised for maker and wearer alike.
- Former corporate lawyer turned fine art and design dealer Wendy Lotter, who brought along the works of two South African artists Bronwen Vaughan-Evans and Lisa Firer.
- Poet and energy consultant Sanjay C Kuttan, who waxed lyrical about love, life and happenings around his world, publishing an anthology "Where Fires Rage".
- Lollapalooza Singapore's Pang Hian Tee, who switched his focus from events marketing to distributing grower producer champagne, while curating gourmet experiences at Lolla's Secret Suppers.
- Sandra Liao, an engineer by training who turned self taught pastry chef with online store Milkbar, showcasing an irresistibly delectable selection of homemade cakes, tarts and preserves slowly and traditionally made from the finest ingredients.
In an age of 24/7 real-time hyperconnectivity with a relentless drive towards greater efficiency and commercialisation, it is interesting to note the growing trend of consumers, producers and prosumers leaning towards authentic, original, and home-made products.
While big companies are "zigging" towards bigger volumes, lower costs, and larger global markets, these corporate suits turned crafts-folk are "zagging" towards micro-niches of painstakingly made products that are lovingly shaped for the most discerning market. By banding together, they're able to pool their resources and generate a greater collective impact in an increasingly competitive consumer marketplace.
Labels: artisanal businesses, artisans, artists, artrepreneur, entrepreneurs, small businesses, SMEs