Crafts. There’s something about the word which evokes the very opposite of entrepreneurship, ambition, seriousness. ‘Crafts’ conjures images of grannies knitting, bracelets made out of shells, cross stitch, carved animals, beachside tat.
Yet we would be wrong to think of crafts as a small sector at the fringes of the global economy. Far from it, crafts are in fact the second largest employer in the developing world, and have a proven track record of leading a number of developing world countries towards developed world status.
Take Morocco for instance. Today, the craft industry in Morocco is worth over $6.2 Billion every year, accounting for around 20% of the country’s GDP. Over the Mediterranean, in Italy, the crafts play a similarly crucial role in the economy, generating around 17% of Italy’s GDP, and employing over 3.8 million people.
The sheer number of people involved in the craft sector partly explains why it is such a powerful tool for economic development. Take one of our kilims for example. When you buy an ISHKAR kilim you are not only providing employment for the women who weave the rug. They are in fact only one small part of a supply chain which stretches from farmers who rear the sheep and harvest the natural plant dies, to the men responsible for washing, cutting the carpet to give the rug its supple finish.
These long supply chains, are poised to benefit from emerging consumer trends. While cheap ‘crafts’ might be uncool, high quality craftsmanship is not. International markets are booming for ethically sourced, environmentally responsible handmade products, which are well-made hand have a strong story.
In our fast paced world ‘slowmade’ products are increasingly attractive. We consumers are increasingly socially and environmentally conscious, and we want our purchases to reflect that.