What do you call yourself?

This is an ongoing discussion in our office as we prepare the prospectus for the big move to Washington, DC and the rebranding of the Buyers Market into the American Made Show.  For years we've been using the term craft, but the association with hobbyists or non-professionals is holding us back.

Here are my own thoughts:  Why American Made Show?

If we are going to "grab" the attention of new wholesale buyers then we must come up with some new words for what we do.  Here are some of the terms we are considering... Your "generation" has so much to do with the use of these words... boomers and academics (like me) are comfortable with handmade and craft, but things are changing.  Lasers, CAD weaving, computers and other new "tools" are now part of our world.  So what words to you prefer?

Mini-facturer, Maker, Designer producer, Applied Designer, Cottage Industrialist, Local Producer, Studio Artist, Artisan, handmade ceo, DIY, Estian, creator, creative entrepreneur, Artrepreneur.  Do you have other great descriptive words for your title or business.  Add them here!

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  • Our little one sentence description "high end ceramic artists who create one of a kind artwork in their studio just outside of Pinehurst, NC."

    We have that on the back of our business cards, and use it in as many of the online directory sites as possible, adding words if allowed as space permits.

    • Linda and Jim,

      Do you sell at your studio? But what does "high end" mean to your customers?  Is it 200+  or 500+ or 2000+ ????  Is is sculpture or functional?  We need a way to say more with fewer words.

  • Doesn't "artist" cover it all? 

    • Yes, but the term artist is often viewed as elitist. Art galleries are changing too. They have realized that like jewelry stores... they need to sell MORE to a broader audience.  ...Lower price points help them do that.  The result is that customers will "shop" more often.  Consumer behavior is changing drastically.  Everyday goods are purchased online, "specialty items" personal gifts are often purchased on Main Street.  We can't be everything to everyone.... but it is necessary to cover overhead and earn a liveable wage.  So yes, artist covers it... but to appeal to a broad audience (5% not just 1%) you need to qualify the word.

      • I understand what you're saying - but I think that maybe we need to focus on redefining - or at least broadening - the term "artist," rather than seeking alternatives that are all too often clunky or misleading/narrow. 

        I like "artisan," but it does have a sort of rough-bread feel.  I really don't like the term "maker." It feels awkward to me, and with a sort of best-of-bad-choices vibe. I am a painter, an artist - and I do think of myself as a craftsman (craftswoman), but I agree, "craft" can bring to mind crocheted toilet-paper covers and the like. 

        "Contemporary artist"? Even "modern artist"? I do like the phrase "modern art and fine craft," though, yes! it does contain a whisper of "expensive." 

        Interesting problem/opportunity. 

  • Good question......Artist/craftsmen for the longest time but it seems the title has been hijacked and watered down.............have been leaning towards "Maker".

  • Its like a lot of other terms that get abused if it is possibly profitable, food labeling for one.  Is it possible it will become another government regulated term?

  • I actually like cottage industrialist, artisan, and studio artist.  But I agree with Geri on the word artisan.  I have seen that on food labels in a regular grocery store.  Not on foods that are made in small batches with special characteristics, but on loaves of bread and a frozen pizza box in a freezer.  I just don't think those are works of art.  Food marketers are hijacking that word.

  • I feel that whatever word, titles or descriptions, however fancy or basic that someone wants to call themselves and their creations are just that...words. What really is important is what impression and visual impact your craft, art, or whatever fancy name you choose to describe what you do is instilled on those who view it.

    • So true! Good work photo'd well is everything!

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