Retailer Spotlight: The New Craftsmen
"The real voyage of discovery is not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes"
We live in a time when visual inspiration is recycled by the minute, a virtual ecosystem of images into which new life has been breathed. Grainy interiors and dusty rooms that would have once gone forgotten are now re-posted with fervor, a bushy tail of hashtags on their tail. Or, better yet, the silent confidence to attach nothing beneath them, the 'likes' their phantom limbs. We are in many ways told who to look out for, what emerging designers to repost. Recently, In a tidal of imagery one such wave of photos stood out to me under the instagram @thenewcraftsman,
I quickly followed the yellow brick road to their website and found their mission to deeply resonate with what Lakeside talks about when we talk about "mission-driven retail".
The London-based store works with a selection of Britain’s finest craft makers to showcase the skills and craft products of the British Isles. It was founded by a trio of industry thought-leaders, Catherine Lock, Natalie Melton and Mark Henderson. Lock had spent the past 15 years as a product, trend and brand developer for British high street brands while Natalie Melton had spent 5 years as the commercial director of Art & Business. Henderson has worked in luxury goods for his whole life and is currently Chairman of Gieves & Hawkes, No 1 Savile Row, Chairman of the London Luxury Quarter (Mayfair & St James’s), and a director of Walpole (the UK luxury industry association). A mouthful.
The website is a joy to read, engaging in its visuals and educational in its content. It epitomizes the power of user experience to recreate the delight in discovery present in the most successful retail environments:
"The New Craftsmen works with a selection of Britain’s finest craft makers to showcase the materials, skills and craft products of the British Isles. Founded in 2012 in Mayfair, London, The New Craftsmen currently represents a network of over 75 makers working in textiles, silverware, furniture, ceramics, jewellery, glassware and beyond. We showcase and sell a carefully selected range of products, limited editions and exclusive collaborations via our Mayfair shop & online.
We present objects that are deeply connected to culture and place. Our distinct position is to forge collaborations with designers and makers to give a contemporary take on specific skills and materials. From this we offer our customers, interior designers, and architects a range of services that enable them to customise, commission and collaborate with us on developing bespoke pieces.
The New Craftsmen represents a vision of sustainable, real luxury, expressed through dedication to makers, materials, method and design."