From beer to beauty, artisan products – goods made in small batches to reflect high-quality craftsmanship and care – are extremely popular among consumers right now. Unlike mainstream and mass-produced products, artisan products represent unique, affordable luxuries made with mastery.

Millennials drive artisan sales
Artisan products are a hit among Millennials, as this powerful cohort values authenticity, creativity and local goods.1Retail Trends and Predictions 2017: 12 forecasts for the retail industry in 2017. Vend. 2017.
Millennials flock to artisan websites like Etsy, an e-commerce portal focused on handmade, vintage and craft items.2Ringnes, Isabelle. The Millennial Demographic. Isabellekringnes.com.

Slow artisanal crafts are a
counterpoint to fast technology

As one expert explains, “slow artisanal crafts, like cross stitch or cheese making or micro brewing, [are] a counterpoint to fast technology.”3 Baker, Lindsay. What ever happened to Generation X? BBC. March 21, 2017. Immersed in technology for most of their lives, Millennials appreciate artisan goods because they encourage people to slow down and savor impeccably made craftsmanship.

Millennials also like to express their individuality by buying one-of-a-kind items, plus artisan goods are often local goods made by small businesses. Whether artisan or handcrafted breads, cheese or beer, Millennials want to know where their food is coming from.4 Mealey, Lorri. 10 Millennial Restaurant Dining Trends. The Balance. February 21, 2017.

Retail companies embrace all things artisan
Although the term ‘artisan’ often refers to small, independent connoisseurs, even massive multinationals are getting in on the artisan action.

For instance, you know a trend is hot if McDonald’s is all over it. To appeal to Millennials, the chain introduced three new artisan sandwiches with the national launch of its upscale Signature Crafted Recipes line.5Meyer, Zlati. No, you’re not at Panera: McDonald’s goes “artisanal” with fancy sandwiches. USA Today. May 15, 2017.

E-commerce giant Amazon launched Handmade at Amazon to offer original, artisan-designed products – including jewelry, stationery and wedding decorations – to compete with Etsy. 6Peres, Sarah. Amazon takes on Etsy with a new shop featuring handcrafted items for weddings. TechCrunch. May 23, 2017.

For a refined artisan coffee experience, Starbucks Reserve Roastery shows customers
the entire process of how coffee gets made while they indulge in premium drinks.7Levy, Nat. As Amazon expands beyond online commerce, retailers look to compete with unique experiences. GeekWire. June 26, 2017.

Beyond food and beverages, Target has partnered with local artisans to sell unique products related to style (apparel, beauty, home décor, jewelry) and wellness (food, sporting goods, fitness apparel).8Target. Meet the Makers: Three Artisans Bringing Local Charm to LA Target Stores. May 24, 2016. Beauty giant Sephora also sells artisan cosmetic brands and products. In home décor, more consumers are buying individually handcrafted pieces made by an artisan for a distinct personal touch.9Pistilli, Camilla. The Next Big Interior Design Trend: The Artisan Way. Huffington Post. January 24, 2017.

Artisan food halls flourish
As more evidence of this trend, artisanal food halls have popped up across the United States. For instance, Baltimore’s Mount Vernon Marketplace offers freshly-prepared artisanal sandwiches, charcuterie and cheese.Trend-setting cities like New York and LA, as well as Denver, Dallas, Detroit, and Austin, have also welcomed artisanal food halls, evoking an authentic market feel by showcasing local food artisans to create inviting communal drinking and dining spaces.10Filloon, Whitney. Nine New Food Halls to Get Excited About in 2016. Eater. March 10, 2016.

Craft is cool
From premium coffee and alcohol drinks to brews, craft continues to be a big influencer in beverages. The attention to detail among products from smaller producers has encouraged big companies to offer sophisticated limited-edition products to compete in beverages.11Muller, Bahar. ‘Top ten trends that are shaping the beverage industry.’ FoodBev Media. May 31, 2017.

In particular, craft beer is performing well. In 2016, US craft brewers produced a 6% increase in volume and big brewers purchased an unprecedented amount of craft beer companies.12 Eads, Lauren. Growth of US craft beer slows as ‘big beer’ snaps up brewers. The Drinks Business. March 29, 2017.

Artisan ale: The surging popularity of craft brewing has been welcome news
for the bustling Fieldwork Brewing Company in Berkeley, California.

Among Millennials, artisan craft brews have grown in popularity faster than mainstream beer brands. To attract this generation, Denmark-based brewery Carlsberg recently invested nearly $20 million in rebranding, including the relaunch of its lager Carlsberg Export. The new design replaces Carlsberg’s famous green bottles and provides a more premium feel that celebrates the brand’s Danish heritage, including the distinctive Danish Ø and the signature of Carlsberg founder J.C. Jacobsen.13Hosie, Rachel. Carlsberg beer undergoes £15m rebrand in attempt to win back millennials. Independent. December 13, 2016.

3 tips for selling artisan goods
For proven ways to successfully sell homemade and handcrafted artisan goods, consider these tips:

  • Tell your brand story: People love great stories, so share your why – the purpose that fuels you to create exceptional products. Infuse your story with passion and educate your audience about the fine details of your art.
  • Find your tribe: Tap into local artist communities for potential shared marketing opportunities. Attend artisan fairs, farmers markets, art shows and Christmas fairs to spark word of mouth referrals. Network in neighborhoods that are shopper destinations for unique artwork, crafts and gifts.
  • Entice Millennial shoppers: To earn Millennials’ attention and trust, share how your products are unique and local, offer incentives like special deals, and share product reviews and recommendations.

Artisan products enrich the marketplace with variety and satisfy consumers’ desire for distinct products and superior quality. Share how your products help customers slow down, invest in quality and luxuriate in items made with care.

In an upcoming post we’ll focus on this year’s hottest culinary trends for foodies.

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1. Retail Trends and Predictions 2017: 12 forecasts for the retail industry in 2017. Vend. 2017.
2. Ringnes, Isabelle. The Millennial Demographic. Isabellekringnes.com.
3. Baker, Lindsay. What ever happened to Generation X? BBC. March 21, 2017.
4. Mealey, Lorri. 10 Millennial Restaurant Dining Trends. The Balance. February 21, 2017.
5. Meyer, Zlati. No, you’re not at Panera: McDonald’s goes “artisanal” with fancy sandwiches. USA Today. May 15, 2017.
6. Peres, Sarah. Amazon takes on Etsy with a new shop featuring handcrafted items for weddings. TechCrunch. May 23, 2017.
7. Levy, Nat. As Amazon expands beyond online commerce, retailers look to compete with unique experiences. GeekWire. June 26, 2017.
8. Target. Meet the Makers: Three Artisans Bringing Local Charm to LA Target Stores. May 24, 2016.
9. Pistilli, Camilla. The Next Big Interior Design Trend: The Artisan Way. Huffington Post. January 24, 2017.
10. Filloon, Whitney. Nine New Food Halls to Get Excited About in 2016. Eater. March 10, 2016.
11. Muller, Bahar. ‘Top ten trends that are shaping the beverage industry.’ FoodBev Media. May 31, 2017.
12. Eads, Lauren. Growth of US craft beer slows as ‘big beer’ snaps up brewers. The Drinks Business. March 29, 2017.
13. Hosie, Rachel. Carlsberg beer undergoes £15m rebrand in attempt to win back millennials. Independent. December 13, 2016.
Lisa Goller
Lisa Goller is a marketing and communications professional with over 15 years of experience serving retail, consumer goods, B2B and technology companies. She helps businesses tell their story through irresistible content marketing and strategic communications.

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