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The Creation of Perthshire Artisans

The idea for Perthshire Artisans was born in the somewhat unlikely setting of an OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) rural enterprise conference in Edinburgh two and half years ago when GrowBiz CEO, Jackie Brierton, was invited to sit on the panel and give a presentation at the conference. While doing so, she got talking to a fellow panelist — a young man from Northern Italy who was engaged in working on a project with artisans in the Milan area who designed and made high-end shoes for major Italian fashion brands.

In most cases, these artisan shoe makers had multi-generational and engaging stories to tell — but they weren’t very good at telling them. Or in other words, they were far better at creating than marketing their creations. So Jackie’s fellow panellist was helping them to develop a one-stop platform where they could tell their stories, promote their ranges and sell their products to the fashion buyers, all at the same time.

Although the platform in question was aimed at marketing to other businesses, after nine years of working with many creative clients for GrowBiz — many of whom were also reluctant when it came to the selling and promotion side of their business — Jackie wondered if a similar platform could work for them. She knew that Perthshire had a real nucleus and diversity in creative businesses, so a concept that could bring them together, help them tell their stories, and provide a route to market, would be of real value. The seed of an idea was sown…

Nine months later, Jackie was involved in another European project—Smart Villages. Smart Villages were designed to provide a digital focal point for a community: a place to to promote, interact, discover and find information. Jackie quickly saw that the concept could be adapted around a different kind of community, one of shared interest, such as creatives. This could contain all the elements of a Smart Village, but with e-commerce options added.

It became clear that the resulting platform would have to be curated, with the creatives possessing a certain level of design and background talent to ensure high quality, and as such could become something truly special. Nine initial artisans were chosen for the first phase of the project — painters Andrew Hunter and Charles Harris, print-makers Anna Malyon and Claire Brownbridge, textile designers Cornelia Weinnman and Izzy Gretton, illustrator Jon Bishop, ceramicist Nicola McCabe and jewellery maker Kate McLaughlin. Perthshire Artisans was born!

With nine new Artisans joining the site in January, bringing an even wider selection of style, type of work and skills to Perthshire Artisans, we encourage you, when you browse our site, not to only look at the products but learn about how they were made and by whom. Read about the Artisan’s creative process and listen to their stories. And thank you for supporting Perthshire Artisans!

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