Many artisans will tell you, that producing finely-made merchandise is the easy part of this business. It is getting people to recognise their worth that is the real challenge.
Perhaps we should blame the Ikea model which introduced an era of consumerism that overlooked durable quality in favour of low-cost, easily replaceable items? Perhaps the reality of competing against mass made products has constricted the market? In any case, the challenge is real and it helps to have an audience you can meet face-to-face, who might take the time to understand the true merit of your enterprise.
For these reasons, craft fairs like the monthly Morningside Makers Market, offer a vital opportunity to individuals and enterprises like us. Renting your own retail premises is expensive and the overheads of a commercial property let will only increase the costs of what are already premium value products. In addition to this, despite the immense commercial outreach of the internet, a picture cannot always tell a thousand words - even if you have ten thousand likes! So when it comes to artisanal merchandise, nothing compares to the visual appreciation you get from seeing finely-made products up close; getting the chance to touch and explore the intricacy of their design.
Having made our debut at the Morningside Makers Market this past weekend, it was encouraging to see so many talented artisans all gathered under a single roof. Moreover, it was uplifting to see that there is still some demand for unique goods and that buyers appreciate having a genuine connection with the makers themselves. The lady on our left, Beverley, had a wide array of gemstones that enticed many customers, several of whom buy from her often and on our right, Andala Crafts was a big drawcard for craft lovers with a passion for Scotland's awe inspiring landscapes.
Having learnt a great deal from the event organisers, Tania and Carolyn, as well as the contiguous artisans around us, we plan to exhibit at the MMM again. In the future, we hope that the patrons of this particular event will share in Harmattan's vision, to extol the merit of African enterprise and to be part of our unique approach to sustainable socio-economic change.
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