The Craft Economy

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One of my first insights as a young planner while working at Poppe Tyson on a brand called Ravensburger, maker of wooden puzzles and educational games, was the insight that competitors who were flooding the market with what we called “junk games” borrowed from the term junk food. 

Some might disagree with me on this, but I’m afraid a good deal of the products we consume today can be classified as junk. Products for most of the populace are not build to last. Clothes, sneakers, outerwear purchased for under ten dollars at discount stores start unraveling on the way home. But what the heck, they didn’t cost anything.

Carlota Perez, an economist interviewed by Fred Wilson at Web 2.0 last year, says the way forward for our planet is to make products that use less raw material, last a long time and can be serviced by real people earning a wage. This mentality is what I’m calling the Craft Economy.

If we make and consume craft products, we’ll take better care of them.  Craft beer isn’t swilled the way mass market pasteurized beer is.  It’s savored.  Refrigerators that last 25 years, a pair of shoes that are resoled rather than tossed – these are the things of a craft economy. Let’s lose disposable everything. Razor blades. Paper towels. Let’s use more natural products and think sustainability.

The craft economy is coming. And as a trend it will grow faster as economists start building cases for the inherent savings. More Etsy, less junk. Peace!