When it comes to any business venture, to consider beginning one you have to be passionate about your product, but nowhere do I see this more than within the craft industries. Small-scale food and beverage companies offer so much zeal and knowledge about their creations that they inspire others to share in their enthusiasm. While this may seem to be only a small number of businesses across hospitality, I think it is the only way to succeed.
With so many mass-marketed products of unknown provenance filling the aisles of supermarkets and plates of high street chains, what truly appeals to the discerning diner is in the narrative behind an ingredient, a beverage and even a condiment. As front of house staff or shop keepers convey this narrative, they are able to involve the customer in the process and it is only through this level of transparency that guests will regain faith in their food. So how do you know that you are serious about your craft?
For those with a passion for their niche, they have a yearning to learn the intricacies of every process. The old adage ‘knowledge is power’ is true, and so being able to follow a product from the raw ingredients to the final item, through packaging and marketing, the transparency a producer can offer a customer is unparalleled.
Often craft industries embrace both tradition and innovation simultaneously. Being able to return to historical processes, equipment and even in some case ingredients (hence the rise in ancient grains) and couple them with the latest advances in modern technology, they are able to bring us an experience that is purer than others on the market.
Large corporations spend enormous sums in market analysis, customer surveys and clever tracking of digital trends, but the ability to engage with your customers on a personal level is irreplaceable. As people become more aware of the food they consume, they also become more demanding about the quality and locality. Eating green is a concern, especially among millennials and we don’t mean veg! Not only do locally-sourced products have the bonus of a smaller carbon footprint, they also mean that should a customer so desire, they can visit that farm less than 20 miles away and see where their honey is produced.
Occasionally a product comes to define a place, as can be seen with Plymouth and its gin or Kendal and its mint cake. This doesn’t necessarily mean the business has to grow beyond its craft status as while it stays true to its values and continues concentrating on quality, it is the epitome of craft.
Craft helping craft
Those who are passionate about their craft are able to recognise and value those who also hold their own merchandise to the same high standards. Whether they are looking to supply to a business that uphold their values, or pair their goods with an equally exclusive beverage, craft companies are quick to praise and trade with other esteemed craft businesses.
To be serious about your craft, you have to uphold quality throughout, from ingredients to its final incarnation. Through a genuine interest in your item’s reception to candid collaborations with businesses that match your ethos a standard of honest engagement not only betters other businesses but also your customer experience.