Accepted paper:

Meanings of the concepts craft and handmade in small scale textile and fashion businesses


Viveka Torell (Faculty of Textiles, Engineering and Business (including The Swedish School of Textiles))

Paper short abstract:

By presenting results from interviews with five company owners this paper starts mapping meanings of the concepts craft and handmade, expressed in the small scale textile- and fashion sector in Sweden today: How do the entrepreneurs comprehend the concepts in relation to their businesses?

Paper long abstract:

The intention of this paper is to start mapping meanings of the concepts craft and handmade expressed in the textile- and fashion making-sector in Sweden today. Making here is used to bridge between handmade and made with digital tools and/or small machines (compare Charny 2011). To promote the economic growth of this kind of production - both craft production and small-scale industrial production - The Swedish Agency for Economic and Regional Growth, The National Swedish Handicraft Council and interest groups, together have published a "National agenda for business development of the area sloyd, craft and small scale design production" (2015). Marketing is not discussed much in the agenda. Instead structural changes in financial support for business development, and further education in business for persons working in the sector, are proposed. However one conclusion from a survey presented in the agenda, is that producers suggest marketing as one factor for success. They also suggest that the creativity of business models adapted to micro-scale have to be enlightened, to be better understood. By presenting results from five interviews with entrepreneurs, owning small-scale textile businesses, this paper takes these suggestions as point of departure. Aspects of the companies' business models are discussed, and from the point of view that there is a need for discussing meaning-making about craft in relation to creating customer value, questions that get special attention are: How do the entrepreneurs comprehend the concepts craft and handmade in relation to their businesses? What meanings of the concepts do they convey in marketing?

panel Mat03
Dwelling in craft