‘I built my business around something I love’

Brian Waring left the corporate world to create Craft Editions, a platform that sells ‘beautiful things made by hand’. This is his journey so far. 

What was your journey – how and why did you set up Craft Editions?

After 25 years working at a senior level for companies including Virgin and Starbucks I was looking for a new challenge. I have always had a passion for crafts and beautiful things made by hand. On a trip to South Africa in 2015, I decided to launch Craft Editions and build a business around something that I love. 

You have a section called ‘Featured Makers’. This is a nice blend of content and commerce, is this the way you see the development of the platform?

Yes absolutely. A fundamental part of Craft Editions is to tell the story behind the makers of the pieces that we will sell. I think in an era of mass production people increasingly want to find and acquire beautiful things that are individual and to understand the story behind the person who made it and how it is made. 

craft editions

How do you ‘source’ the craftspeople and their wares?

Over the last year, I have travelled throughout Ireland, the UK and South Africa meeting talented makers and visiting craft exhibitions. I have immersed myself in the world of craft. I have met many wonderful people and have shared many of these stories via the Craft Editions website. For our Curated Editions, I choose a selection of craftspeople whom I have met and whose work I love, and I collaborate with them to create beautiful works for people to collect.

What’s your ambition for the platform?

My ambition is to grow Craft Editions organically to a size that feels manageable. I want a business that stays true to the personal connection with each of the makers. In 2017 we will launch two Curated Editions, The Craft Edition Summer 2017 (launched) and The Craft Edition Winter 2017 (in October). 

How did you fund your business to date?

I financed it through a personal loan to the company, and this gives me control over the direction of the brand and business. 

What’s the thing that surprised you most about setting up the platform, what was the most difficult thing?

The most surprising thing is how many great craftspeople there are out there; many of whom are relatively unknown. The most difficult thing is the sheer amount of administration when setting up a business.

Top five – who are the craft makers we should all look out for?

Of course, I would have to say the markers that I have selected for The Craft Edition Summer 2017: Mourne Textiles, Kate Jones, Sally McGill, Justin Oh, Owen Leather, Barrydale Weavers, John Newdigate and all the excellent hand weavers that make baskets for Design Afrika.

For more check out Craft Editions.