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2022 | Book

Artisan and Handicraft Entrepreneurs

Past, Present, and Future

Editors: Prof. Dr. Léo-Paul Dana, Prof. Veland Ramadani, Dr. Ramo Palalic, Dr. Aidin Salamzadeh

Publisher: Springer International Publishing

Book Series: Contributions to Management Science


About this book

In handicrafts and artisanal products, industry has witnessed both a technological shift and a renewed interest among customers, especially after the challenges and limitations of mass production became evident under the COVID-19 pandemic. This book portrays the worldwide development of this trend, the nature of entrepreneurship in these industries, and the unique challenges and opportunities that entrepreneurs face.

The book shows how these businesses are gaining a resurgence due to customers preferring ethical, regional, and climate-friendly options to fulfill their needs. The chapters focus on artisan entrepreneurs' contribution to society by not only creating businesses, but also in terms of tourism development. The book reiterates that artisan entrepreneurs enable crucial cultural connections with tradition due to their affinity to a region, city, village, or community. Small business and entrepreneurship researchers as well as policymakers in the cultural sector would benefit from this book.

Table of Contents


Traditional Self-Employed Artisans, Home-Made Goods and Markets

Ground Loom Weaving Among Negev Bedouin Women
It was common to see black tents dotting the Negev landscape in 1948, the year the State of Israel was created. Bedouin women used ground looms to weave tents and carpets from goat hair and sheep/camel wool. However, the tents were replaced by tin shacks when non-sanctioned Bedouin villages sprung up in the Negev in the 1950s–1970s. With urbanization, ground loom weaving continued in the 1980s, but instead of natural goat hair and sheep wool, the women used colourful acrylic yarn to weave carpets and other items. Weaving basically ceased by 2015, and today, it is rare to find a ground loom. Bedouin simply purchase machine-made acrylic carpets for their homes and other purposes. However, in 1991, two Bedouin sisters established a women’s cooperative, ‘Lakiya Negev Bedouin Weaving’, to preserve traditional weaving and provide employment for Bedouin women. Today, there are 30 to 60 Bedouin women employed at the cooperative, most of them working from their homes. A similar pattern of ground loom weaving and its discontinuation among Bedouin women has been described in a number of surrounding countries in the Middle East. Cooperatives were also established in these countries to preserve traditional weaving methods and provide earnings for Bedouin women.
A. Allan Degen, Shaher El-Meccawi
Artisans in Ethiopia
This chapter deals with the status and chief occupations of artisans in Ethiopia, including the challenges faced by them. Following an introduction to the chapter, a succinct overview of the country, conditions of the artisans of Ethiopia, and some of their chief crafts in various fields such as pottery production, handloom textiles, basketry, and ground stone are presented in this chapter. In the end, problems and challenges facing Ethiopian artisans have been brought to light along with necessary recommendations to solve their issues for their betterment and the welfare of the country at large.
Hafiz Wasim Akram
Craft Artisans in Namibia’s Okavango Tribe
This chapter is a result of an exploratory experiment conducted with the Namibia Okavango women on the river banks of Northern Namibia at the Far East Angola/Namibia border. The academic literature link entrepreneurship to innovation and creativity. With this in mind, this chapter explores the role of women in Namibian small businesses in crafts and art in preserving culture while improving the livelihoods of the Okavango Tribe. Without a doubt, this experiment will inform another cultural layer that the world has never experienced before. The ground-breaking works of Joseph Schumpeter linked to culture as an essential component of innovation. Numerous scholars after his works had a very similar viewpoint. Using these insights, the Namibia government has come with various initiatives (such as policies) to promote entrepreneurship among small businesses, but the crafts and arts market has been neglected, or the sector is not deemed as critical. This chapter will interview 30 local women from the Okavango tribe in Namibia. In addition, secondary data will be explored through books and oral histories, and this chapter serves as one of the springboards for many more experiments to be conducted in this space in terms of women entrepreneurs in crafts and arts in Namibia from an African context.
Wilfred Isak April
Artisan Enterprise in the Rural Economy: Drystone Walling in North Yorkshire
The chapter sets out to explore the significance of ‘creative enterprise’ and ‘the cultural industries’ in the rural economy. It does this by providing a case study of two drystone wallers, based in North Yorkshire, a region of the UK. By so doing, it demonstrates how creative enterprises in the rural economy can be conceptualised to aid understanding, further research and development.
Gerard McElwee
Traditional Food and Self-Employed Artisans in Druze Villages
Food tourism or culinary tourism is attractive around the globe. It can represent the culture of a nation, region or community. It offers to travellers and tourists delicious food and relaxation, and to researchers, it provides a great reflection of a people’s life. In this context, this chapter depicts potential in Druze villages in culinary tourism that is currently facing challenges and obstacles to get its full potential. New women entrepreneurs appear on the horizon, highly motivated to contribute to the region’s development and attractiveness. As culinary tourism is growing and attracting people from all around the world, in this regard, an interview was performed to get fresh insights about culinary tourism that is considered part of cultural tourism and the culture in this region. Other insights into this business potential are highlighted and further discussed.
Osnat Akirav, Gil Cohen

Entrepreneurial Innovation in the Artisanal Sector

Artisan Food Production: What Makes Food ‘Artisan’?
Artisan food is characterised as being made through creativity, passion and traditional methods and with traditional ingredients. John McKenna describes this as the quartet of place, product, passion and personality of the producer, with tradition being implicit rather than explicit in this description. This chapter considers the contemporary framing of artisan food and artisan producers, how the use of the term ‘artisan’ has evolved over time, and the emergent trends within the artisan food sector. The research question arising from these ideas is, Can artisan food be both innovative and traditional at the same time? The chapter discusses three food producers and critically evaluates the extent to which they fit within existing definitions of ‘artisan food’. The term ‘artisan’ can be said to be socially constructed; that is, the meaning is constantly reconstructed as new innovations are adopted and associated with place, product and producer. Artisan food needs to stand out in some contemporary way from more mass-produced food, especially as it often has higher costs of production or includes an embedded environmental or social value that the purchaser must be willing to pay for.
Sophia Lingham, Inge Hill, Louise Manning
Enterprise Culture in Art: Artist-Entrepreneur Graham McKean
There is a growing appreciation of the ‘aesthetic’ dimensions of enterprise culture and the power of artisanal entrepreneurship as a driving force in local economies and enterprise cultures, but despite a growing body of research on the topic, there is little research on how ‘artisans’ operationalise their business models to extract value from their environments. This is important because many artisanal businesses do not at first glance appear to follow the classic entrepreneurial business model and aesthetics, nor do ‘artisans’ adopt an obvious entrepreneurial identity. We see them as artists, artistes and creatives, not as entrepreneurs, because we focus on the artisanal aspects of their businesses. In this chapter, I examine the business model of the Scottish artist Graham McKean and establish that as well as being an artist he is also a shrewd artist-entrepreneur attuned to the nuances of his localised enterprise culture and that his art also captures and commodifies the unique enterprise culture of ‘Glasgow’ and the ‘South of Scotland’ area and its masculine characterisation. The men are portrayed as heroic individuals and resonate with corporate and entrepreneurial mythology. Using semiotic analysis, this study examines a selected strand of his artistic output and identifies how artistic tropes such as caricature, meme and parody can be used to depict and sell visual aspects of ‘success’ and ‘enterprise culture’ and how enterprise becomes infused into the artisanal business.
Robert Smith
Arts Entrepreneurs in an Emerging Economy
Artists who bring creative products to the market in the innovation economy, such as handcrafters and others, mostly do not make it to a more prospering entrepreneurial venture and bring economic rent from their talent. In order to shed light on this issue, the role of an entrepreneurial mindset and the use of business tools such as social media by creative workers in the cultural innovation economy cannot be neglected. In this chapter, we bring an overview on how entrepreneurial mindset in such players plays a crucial role inside the innovation economy, how arts entrepreneurship can bring profound results, and how, as the aftermath of COVID-19 prevailed, gaining entrepreneurial skills and use of business tools have surged, more specifically, the use of social media for promoting products and branding the artists themselves.
Mohamad Taghi Toghraee, Ali Ahmadi, Aidin Salamzadeh
Stone Carving in India and the Need for Process Innovation
In the developing and third world countries, in particular, a sustainable livelihood approach to poverty reduction has become a prime concern worldwide, where livelihood depends largely on the outcomes of conventional farming. On the other hand, the handicraft sector traditionally plays an influential role in improving people’s livelihood conditions. It is a growing challenge to conserve and preserve the knowledge and skills of traditional crafts. Handicraft by local craftsmanship and materials are special manifestations of a specific culture or society. However, growing globalization leads to more commoditization of goods, and artisans find their products competitive worldwide. It is also necessary to secure a sustainable livelihood for the artisans who work in this traditional craft. This chapter will explore the traditional art form of stone carving, which is widely practiced among a group of people of the Susunia region of Bankura district of West Bengal, India. This research will look at the limitations and weaknesses associated with stone-carving operations and also aims to investigate the numerous livelihood results obtained from stone-carving activities by stoneworkers through entrepreneurial activities. Entrepreneurship is known as an antidote to poverty and unemployment. This research aims to promote and explore the influence of entrepreneurship on the sustainability of artisans.
Sriparna Guha, Anirban Mandal, Pranam Dhar, Sandeep Poddar, Léo-Paul Dana
Social Entrepreneurship Among Artisans
The present study examines the roles of social entrepreneurs in women empowerment and rural community development in India. It is a qualitative study that analysed cross-case studies of two social entrepreneurial ventures. Firstly, the present research identifies five roles of social entrepreneurs’ self-efficacy for solving social issues like women empowerment and rural community development. Secondly, the study identified the diverse characteristics of social entrepreneurs in rural community development via socio-economic development and sustainable livelihood. Thirdly, the study also found that these roles are interlinked, but each role can also be independently functional, meaningful, and impactful. The application of social entrepreneurship techniques, skills, and knowledge was critical to the transformation of rural community development. Sharing this new addition is fundamentally an essential contribution to social entrepreneurship knowledge. The present study follows a qualitative method using a cross-case analysis with particular attention to social entrepreneurial ventures engaged in handicraft social enterprises. The study is based on in-depth interviews, focus group discussions, and participant observations, including photos taken and videos made of the location. Social entrepreneurs are acting as change agents for solving the prevalent social problems of society like women’s empowerment and rural community development. It facilitates social mobility and uplifting aspirations, particularly for social entrepreneurs, and hopes for a region otherwise less developed. It may have social infrastructural development potentiality and social policymaking. It would be an essential source for policy decision-making, policy determination, economic planning tool, and a practical guide in addressing wide-ranging social issues like sustainability, socio-economic development, women empowerment, and social entrepreneurs’ role in rural community development.
Gaitri Kumari, Ebikinei Stanley Eguruze

Toward the Future: Social Media, Technology and Obstacles

Social Media Use by Artisans
Social media, in general, is a form of communication that enables users to share content and messages utilizing information technology-enabled applications such as Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. According to the popular social media marketing service provider Hootsuite.​com, the very first social media platform called sixdegrees.​com started in 1997. The platform provided users with features such as sending messages to other users and creating personal profiles. Over the last decade, the number of social media platforms, as well as users of these platforms, has increased substantially. The high rate of adopting such platforms can be attributed to relatively higher access to high-speed Internet, availability of affordable smartphones, and attractiveness of numerous functions offered by the latest social media platforms ranging from video calls to online shopping.
Saurabh Singh, Robert Hisrich, Xiaowei Guo
Artisans and Social Media: Cases from Kosovo
It is hard to imagine today’s world without social networks. About half of the total world population are active social media users. This high number of users was seen by businesses as a good opportunity for their promotion and rising the number of potential customers. These advantages have been exploited especially by small businesses who usually lack marketing expertise and large personal networks and therefore have used the opportunity offered by social media to increase the visibility of their business. Artisans fall into the category of small businesses that face many challenges when it comes to promoting their work. The purpose of this chapter is to explore how these artisans use social media to promote their work and communicate with their customers and to learn whether the use of social media has influenced the survival of artisans in Kosovo. To achieve this objective, we have purposefully chosen five cases of filigree artisans from the city of Prizren in Kosovo who still keep alive the tradition of handicrafts and proudly continue to survive the difficulties of modern times.
Nora Sadiku-Dushi, Afërina Skeja, Veland Ramadani
Social Media and Digital Technologies Among Pottery Makers and in the Sewing Sector
Creative industries are one of the most important areas of the global economy in the twenty-first century. Since the 1990s, they have been recognised as one of the fastest-growing sectors of industry and are now recognised as a key factor in the success of most developing and advanced economies. In today’s world, creative industries are considered from an entrepreneurial point of view. With the development of the digital age, cultural and creative products have influenced most aspects of people’s lives. These products are a combination of advanced business culture and excellent traditional culture. It is essential to pay attention to the creative cultural products due to their capacity for public acceptance, thanks to the cultural heritage of traditions and the need of communities to use those products in daily life, and they will face high economic capacity. To increase productivity in these industries, combining the dimension of innovation and technology with the application of digital technologies and social media to develop the sales market and introduce as many products as possible can be considered effective. This chapter introduces the creative industries and examines relevant issues in cultural and artistic products focusing on the pottery, ceramics, and sewing industries. It also analyses the digital technologies and social media to promote these products. The spatial domain of this research is Iran, which was conducted to investigate the current situation and the research issue in this geographical area.
Aidin Salamzadeh, Samira Sadat Mortazavi, Morteza Hadizadeh
Technology Innovation Among Handicraft Artisans in Lesotho
The establishment of handicraft centres in Lesotho dates far back in history, before and after independence. However, handicraft centres received more attention from the government and other stakeholders during the post-independence era. Most of the craft centres were supported by government and international organisations during the initial years of independence. Some acquired technologies were more relevant at that time, while others use manual labour for the production of different goods. The findings of this study reveal that the situation of handicraft centres in Lesotho has not changed since their establishment. They still use technologies that were acquired during their establishment, while some are still using manual labour. Therefore, handicraft artisans produce traditional goods that are targeted mainly at the tourist market. They use raw materials obtained from the local suppliers, while some get raw materials such as grass freely from the surrounding areas. The use of simple and outdated technologies has restricted handicraft centres in Lesotho to expand into new and modern product lines that can attract local as well as foreign retail shops. It is in this regard that this book chapter recommends that the Lesotho government should assist artisanal entrepreneurs with the procurement of modern machinery that can produce modern fashionable goods.
Tšepiso A. Rantšo
Women Artisans Facing Obstacles
Pakistan is a developing country with a population exceeding 200 million in 2021. Women comprise half of the population and are facing various social, economic, and cultural challenges in Pakistani society. Recent estimates show that more than three-fourths of employed women in urban areas are in non-governmental employment. Hence, the representation of women in the public sector is less than 2%. However, most women work in the informal sector, such as cottage and small-scale industries. Women artisan entrepreneurs have attained various fields such from fabric, material, and embroidery to jewellery, carving, mirror work, and other handicraft items. These women artisan entrepreneurs are striving hard with their lesser income to stand up in the male-dominated society. Hence, the business environment for women artisan entrepreneurs show the complicated interplay of various factors like social, cultural, traditional, and religious which mutually demonstrated a lower status of women in Pakistan. Women artisans may play a dual role in the country’s economic development by keeping the cultural heritage alive for upcoming generations. Due to the lack of researches on women artisan entrepreneurs in developing countries, the present study explores the issues and challenges of women artisan entrepreneurs in Pakistan. A qualitative research strategy and a semi-structured interview technique are used for data collection. The present study’s target population comprises of 20 women artisan entrepreneurs from Punjab zone rural areas. The findings revealed that women artisan entrepreneurs face various challenges such as poor infrastructure, power supply issue, power breakdown, no direct contact with the supplier, exploitation by middleman, limited marketing avenues, no direct customer contact, fewer finances, less familial support, and less profit. The results show that the younger generation is unwilling to continue their ancestors’ profession due to confronted obstacles. This study will help policymakers formulate policies related to education and training facilities for women artisan entrepreneurs to keep this sector alive.
Shaista Noor, Chaudhry Shoaib Akhtar, Shaheryar Naveed, Filzah Md Isa
Artisan and Handicraft Entrepreneurs
Prof. Dr. Léo-Paul Dana
Prof. Veland Ramadani
Dr. Ramo Palalic
Dr. Aidin Salamzadeh
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