Originally Posted by moderntailoremma
In Japan, there are so many artisans who live on their crafts - family businesses, family crafts that endure decades after decades of innovation and cultural shifts
In the United States, there are so many artisans who live on their crafts, as well.
I know a fellow who makes furniture. Just as his father and grandfather did, before him. His prices are high, but so is the quality of his work.
Day before yesterday, I bought some chocolate from a chocolatier who still does things the old fashioned way. He learned his craft in Switzerland, then came back to the US to pursue his passion for superb, old style chocolate. He probably produces less product in a year than one of the major chocolate companies does in an hour. His prices are fairly high, but so is the quality of his work.
But the thing is, being an "artisan" and doing things the old fashioned way, does not earn these people automatic success. They still have to be realistic businessmen. If they let expenses grow out of control (say, by renting an excessively expensive retail location), they can fail. If they suffer long-term illness/injury, they can go broke. If they don't pay attention to taxes and licensing and zoning and all of that, they can be put out of business.
I know this couple - they're chefs. Brilliant chefs. Their food is incredible.
They've twice opened restaurants. Both failed. Because while they can turn out the best food I've ever eaten, they have little talent for - or even concern about - running a business. So their restaurants lose money and close down, while other restaurants - perhaps run by people less gifted when it comes to creating fantastic food, but more aware of business realities - succeed.
I could easily imagine the finest tailor in NYC failing as a tailor in NYC - because there's more to running a successful bespoke clothing operation than the ultimate quality of the final product, important as that element of it is. I would find it much less easy to accept that this tailor failed to earn a decent living because of the softness of the American market for high end bespoke clothing.
But then, I know which is the better story.