From SHEILAH ROGERS
July 2, 2009 Ukiah, Mendocino County, North California
From the Intuit – IFTF Future of Small Business Project/Third Installment: The New Artisan Economy:
The next ten years will see a re-emergence of artisans as an economic force. Like their medieval predecessors in pre-Industrial Europe and Asia, these next-generation artisans will ply their trade outside the walls of big business, making a living with their craftsmanship and knowledge. But there will also be marked differences. In many cases, brain will blend with brawns as software and technology replace hard iron and hard labor. Yet in many respects, the result will be the same as it was centuries ago; artisans will craft not only their goods, but shape the economy with an effect reaching far beyond their neighborhoods, even their nations.
Historically, artisans – valued for both their craftsmanship and knowledge – succeeded with skilled hands and savvy mercantilism. Not only did they assemble finished products, they also knew how to put together suppliers, other craftsmen, and ultimately customers. Long before “outsourcing” became popularized, they would turn to others to support parts of their labors. A carriage maker, for example, might purchase wheels from a wheelwright who, in turn, might receive iron rims from a blacksmith. Much of this outsourced work was done in homes or small, shared shops…………
The new generation of artisans will be amplified versions of their medieval counterparts. They’ll be equipped with advanced technology, able to access global local business partners and customers, and will be capable of competing in any industry. Their firms will be agile, flexible, and will often partner with larger firms to accomplish their business goals. Most will be knowledge artisans, relying on human capital to solve complex problems and develop new ideas, products, services, and business models. These artisans will attract and retain highly skilled and creative talent by offering freedom and flexibility and, in many cases, highly competitive compensation.
Editorial/Connecting the Dots Comment:
Mendocino County is home to many artisans. Some of them already operate as described in the above projection… others will do so, as they spot new opportunities to ‘partner’ with suppliers, investors, new markets… West Company has worked with artisans in Mendocino County from Covelo to Laytonville to Hopland to Ukiah to Boonville to Point Arena to Mendocino to Fort Bragg since 1989, and can concur, that this is one of Mendocino County’s economic engines… it is one that embraces heritage and culture, eco and geo-tourism, and includes a range of small businesses and nonprofits that create individual and family income and jobs for crafters, fine artists, gallery owners, retail shops, wholesalers, exporters, performing artists.
From CAMEO, the California Association for MicroEnterprise Opportunity: July is declared by the California State Legislature as MicroEnterprise Month in California… let’s celebrate and be customers of our locally owned micro and small businesses that operate in industries that include the arts; diversified health care; organic agriculture, food and beverages; building and systems construction and maintenance – those identified as the North Coast’s Targets of Opportunity for business growth and job opportunity as some of Mendocino County’s best opportunities for good paying jobs.