the great reset & the indie craft movement

jody hollier photography - nuts & bolts
nuts & bolts by jody hollier

what’s your class?

I first became aware of Richard Florida and the The Rise of the Creative Class in 2005 while I was working at Borders. He was in my town speaking and we supplied the books for purchase & signing at the event. While I didn’t have the chance to attend, my manager did and she came back completely reinvigorated. Just like me, she was a creative, intelligent woman who felt beat down by our retail, service sector job.

She was so pumped to hear that someone was projecting that creative jobs were on the rise, that you could make a living doing something that you were passionate about, that life was about more than working 9-5 to pay bills. She left a few months later to go back to school and study Art History and Women’s Studies. Richard Florida got her excited. Really excited.

Simply put – the creative class is made up of the jobs that require innovation and creative thinking: healthcare, business, law, writers, artists, musicians, engineers, technology, etc… They’re the jobs that require an extensive education or an extensive amount of self-learning and motivation. These aren’t easy jobs to get but they are (to many) some of the most rewarding.

The creative class comprises over 40 million workers (30% of the workforce) in the United States alone – and earns over 50% of the income of the America workforce. What’s more, the creative class controls 70% of the discretionary income in the United States. Hot damn.

While the creative class – and our burning desire to become a part of it – has been rising steadily since the time Florida has been writing on the subject, with the onset of the current economic crisis, there’s something new to talk about The Great Reset.

new systems of innovation

The Great Reset represents a complete paradigm shift in how economies function from consumer to professional to service provider to government and back again. It happened before in the Industrial Revolution and after the Great Depression. It’s happening again now and it’s benefiting creative people like you & me. Instead of assigning value to piles of stuff sitting in storage units, value & spending have shifted to reflect quality of quantity, passion over pure profit.

To bring the concept into my own experience, the Great Reset is the shift that we are counting on to make the indie craft & design movement work. It’s the shift that provides a hope for creative people to find real value in work that represents their true passion and for others to accept the true value of passionate work. It’s the shift that backs up Rob Kalin’s vision for the future of Etsy, “Instead of having an economy dictate the behavior of communities, to empower communities to influence the behavior of economies.”

Florida has a similar thought, ‘the Great Reset is not the result of overarching government policy – it’s the result of the multitude of tiny resets that individuals are making all over the world.

One of these tiny resets happens every time you – or a neighbor – decide to buy handmade instead of from a huge corporation.

jody hollier photography
photograph by jody hollier

a shift to profiting from your passion

As more workers make the shift from working for a paycheck to having a passion for what they profit from, we as a society will begin to value the creative work that goes into art, craft, and micro-manufacturing. More people will be willing to pay more for their stuff. More people will make creative choices to live within their means but surround themselves with beautiful and inspiring objects.

The indie craft movement is full of people who have made the jump from work that pays the bills to work that pays the bills and feeds the soul. Not only has this movement brought a whole new group into the creative class, it has created a new industry that has begun sending out the creative message to new groups. The indie craft movement provides an attainable goal (not without hard work, for sure), a realistic vision for people who want to reclaim their creativity in a society that for too long has valued dollars over passion.

How does the indie craft movement benefit from the great reset & the rise of the creative class? Easy. The more our society values quality over quantity – whether in goods, jobs, income, sustenance… – the larger the market will be for original design, handmade goods, and real innovative craftsmanship.

What could be better for the indie craft & design movement?

People living lives based on quality and passion, looking to creative people for leadership in rebuilding our economy. It’s happening. Right now. Take advantage of it. Mobilize your town, your neighborhood, your street.

Embrace your creative life.

For more information on the creative class and the Great Reset, check out this podcast with Richard Florida at the Total Picture.

17 thoughts on “the great reset & the indie craft movement

  1. Excellent post! I wholeheartedly agree with you. I think everyone should find their true passion and do what they were meant to do, instead of looking for the best pay check. My husband and I both are doing (what I believe) we were meant to do. My husband has two passions, so he’s lucky. If he gets tired of one, he can pursue the other.

    But I hope the shift to handmade happens. I always talk with my husband about how wonderful it would be if each community could be self-sustaining. While I buy goods from faraway and amazing places, wouldn’t it be nice to support the town that you live in? I felt guilty for buying adirondack chairs from Home Depot (that were made in China), instead of up the street from my house where there are handmade versions from the Amish community. Unfortunately, my bank account had ruling over that purchase. But I make litttle changes every day, or every week to buy handmade. If the handmade keeps the good stuff coming, the public will keep on buying!

  2. Great post Tara! Diane’s right… the little changes are what makes the difference. At some point those little changes will turn into the big changes (like the adirondack chairs).

  3. I love this. I first discovered Richard Florida’s book “Rise of the Creative Class” in 2006, and it got me fired up as well. I just finished “The Great Reset,” and I am really excited about what it means for American creativity and innovation. However, I hadn’t tied it in to the indie craft movement and Etsy until I read your post. Thanks for the reminder that buying handmade is one way we can contribute to restructuring our economy and creating the future that we want.

  4. Tara,

    You continue to hit the nail on the head. Within our city (which currently has a solid lack of appreciation for the concept of handmade, quality, art to some degree), I have shifted my focus. I am less interested in how to make a sale and more interested in how to educate people on why purchasing from locals, small business, handmade designers is a good idea. Our team, ReddingHandmade, is seeking to educate our community and spark a passion for creativity. We have been doing this by establishing a recent collaboration of some like minded business. This collaboration has been host to DIY classes, girls night out including handmade shopping, and open houses from team members.

    I’m proud to part of the little resets!


  5. It’s definitely a tough sell here in America, handcrafted well made goods. There’s so much cheap imported stuff available to the throw away society that makes it so easy to grab and go. Our landfills are jammed with it. Playrooms are mountains of plastic. Opening present after present, be it Christmas or birthday, that is multi layered protective petrol made plastic encasing another plastic toy. One after the other, tearing into more trash to get to one little product.

    If we could show the children the way of quality, well made, long lasting, cherished belongings, we could hopefully have a generation that will grow into appreciating that sense when they become major consumers. We adults can learn that fast enough, though some are hard pressed to change their shopaholic behavior. Lets educate the kids on the benefits of the movement. Show them where their outgrown plastic toys wind up (landfill!), introduce them to artists (doll makers, toy train makers, whirly gig makers, soap makers, what ever!) a real person who will have a discussion with them of how their craft is made and what goes into it. Show them that these things don’t come by the boatloads from China. Start with the children. Perhaps this will inspire an artist within them and they themselves will create with their minds and little hands. And open a little shop not far from your community with beautiful handmade, handcrafted goods for us. I’d love to see the next generation grow the economy in this movement. Wouldn’t that be nice.

  6. This topic is a constant challenge for our business. We have a retail space within out studio, and in this location it is so hard to get people to understand that we only carry indie products and what that means. The cost and the fact that they are so used to big box shopping makes it even harder. Thanks for keeping the word out there.

  7. Great post, and I agree completely! I find that when I buy local and handmade, I typically can afford fewer items than if I went to (insert corporate big box store here) and looked for the same sort of items. And I don’t think that’s a bad thing AT ALL. None of us need more “stuff.” At this point in my life I am prioritizing quality over quantity and buying from someone with an actual face!

  8. I think when people get personal with the craftspeople behind items they buy, they see a greater value in their purchases. It’s comes so naturally to put a higher value on something when you make a connection with the source.

  9. Great post and a great discussion. I got my masters in arts management a few years ago and Richard Florida was a part of the curriculum. I completely agree with the idea of quality over quantity and passion over money, but sometimes Florida rubs me the wrong way. Sometimes he seems to place more value on creative folks than on other types of workers… Obviously, I love creative people, but I don’t like thinking of it as a class system… that might just be an issue of semantics, but I don’t want to de-value the work of trash collectors, taxi drivers, day laborers, or others who may not be considered creative. No matter how the economy evolves, we will still need them… unless the robots evolve, too, I guess. :)

    All that being said, I haven’t read “The Great Reset,” so I may be misinformed, or at least, outdated.

  10. Great post…I love the idea of focusing on quality instead of quantity. It seems we have been living in that consumer, buy buy buy, trash trash trash – kind of society…finally things are changing and people are seeing more value in life. I’m so glad that we can be passionate about our work and earn a living… there was a time when people thought it was madness, that you have to sell out to make the money to live.

  11. Thank you for the great book recommendation. Right now I am living in Asia, and there is so much stuff here that is just cheap – price and quality. I love handmade, and I’m doing my small part to be a proponent and supporter of the handmade movement. I might have to read Florida next to Ayn Rand. The Fountainhead reminds me so much of the handmade movement – man seeking to reach and create his best – and living a fulfilling life through your own work.

  12. Thank you for including engineers into your definition of the creative class.

    So many people exclude engineers, because the craft we practice is inaccessible and largely – and hopefully – invisible. The bridge didn’t fall down. The building didn’t sink.

    Engineers typically don’t look for individual credit for a job well done. But it’s nice to know that our skills are valued by society at large.

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