At a party recently I was talking to a friend and sharing my anxieties how the world is shaping up around us. All the usual suspects were there: American / Chinese relations. Will Trump take military action in Nth Korea? Terrorism. Immigration Crises – why is it now seemingly impossible for more and more people to have a decent peaceful life in their own country? That was before we got on to the basket of worms that is ‘Brexit’. How I detest that word.
Now I know what you’re thinking – I’m never inviting her to my party.
My friend looked at me, shrugged and said ‘..but what can you do about those things?’ You might as well get on with life……’
A few days after this conversation I attended one of the many great country shows that abound at this time of year. As owners of a packaging business it’s a great place to connect with small producers who form the bulk of our customers.
My friend’s words came back to me and made me re-evaluate my gloomy outlook!!. Here are a group of people who really get on with life. You only have to spend a little time with folk whose heart and soul is invested in what they do and your own energy and zest is reignited.
I met Karen Her company @PeckishKitchen make gorgeous pesto, relish, jams and chutneys. ‘So’, I said. ‘Tell me about your products?’ She lit up with passion and enthusiasm, telling me about her newest product – a very nice pesto – and urging me to trying everything on her display.
What would our workplaces (and economy) be like if most of our employees felt like that?
That conversation was replicated many times that day – artisan oil producers, sauces, jams, cheese, charcuterie, cake, biscuits. You name it, these people make it.
Many of these artisan producers handmake their products in their own kitchen – and proudly tell you so. They use quality ingredients and often labour-intensive methods. Usually it’s a family business with bottling and labelling going on late into the night before a show. Week after week.
Being an artisan producer isn’t a ‘get rich quick’ scheme, and for many, it’s a tough financial existence. They are fiercely independent. One of our customers that I met at the show told me how she’s currently faced with a dilemma – she’s been approached by a major supermarket chain with an offer to stock her product. Tempting – but her core values would be compromised: artisan, niche, independent, special.
We make packaging for many of these producers. When taking a brief about their packaging needs, they talk about how they want their product represented – it might be a three pack of jam or beer, but to them it’s as precious as a Fabergé Egg.
So, the next time you visit one of these shows, I urge you to talk to the producers, taste their products, share their passion and support as many of them as you can. They deserve it – and you’ll feel inspired!