What's new

The Artisan

I think it’s difficult to compare artisan to mass-market. An artisan product can be created in small amount but it also can be made in bulk. I think it is more about the product. My handcrafted soaps may be considered "artisan" by some but I can make them in small batches and large production batches as well! Does that then make them a mass-market product when I make larger batches with different manufacturing techniques and different equipment? It's still the same soap and it still looks and acts the same way! I don’t it does.

To me an artisan product is a more "hands-on" kind of creation from inception through to finished product but those products can be handmade or manufactured with the same results. An “artisan” product can be made by one person with the right tools and equipment or by several people each performing a step in the process and often only knowing their part in the production process. If it is being touted as an “artisan” product does the method of production that make it any less of an “artisan” product? I don’t it does.

In developing my shaving cream, I used cosmetic chemistry to create a product as close to the well-known names out there and I don't consider it an "artisan" shaving cream. My customers don't seem to either and several have compared it to the mass-market brands. Do a comparison of the ingredients lists to mine and you will see the similarity. I didn’t use typical "soapmaker" ingredients like a variety of oils and exotic butters but rather the exact ingredients that the “big companies” use. Even though I don’t think of it as an “artisan” shaving cream, it is an “artisan” shaving cream because I offer it in 15 different and unique scents!

The market doesn’t matter and the manufacturing process doesn’t matter in defining an “artisan” product. What matters is the end result and that is often affected by the creator “thinking outside the box” and coming up with a product that has its own special characteristics and is unique in its own special way. Major manufacturers are not going to do that because their major concern is about price and profit! That is where the “artisans” come in! The most important thing for the “artisan” is to make a special and unique product and make sure that their product favorably compares to the mass-market product! That is the difficult part of being an “artisan”!