The Story of Modern Craft
Modern Craft is a shop with a soul, selling handmade, well-designed products that are people and planet friendly.
Modern Craft is also me, Gemma, and an idea that suddenly made complete sense when everything else didn’t.
After training in Buying as a post-graduate, I spent years working in industry, for big businesses who projected neon numbers marking profit onto their white walls, and asked me to call factories in China to get products on the boat faster, or they would dock more money (I walked out of that particular job after two weeks, despite having done unpaid internships for over a year, because I genuinely couldn’t sleep at the thought of it). I moved from fashion to heritage, in the search for more meaning, yet continuing to watch numbers move across corporate spreadsheets - although I knew that gift-shops keep museums open - still felt soulless.
Then personal tragedy disrupted my life. In the space of 16 months, I had 4 miscarriages. I felt disconnected from everything - people, my surroundings, myself. I went back to a job where I wasn’t happy and continued the cycle of numbness. But although I didn’t have a baby growing inside me, I gradually realised that I did have an idea, one that tugged at my mind until I couldn’t ignore it any longer. There was one thing in my life I couldn’t control, but I knew I was doing myself a disservice if I didn’t listen and act on the things I knew to be true:
- The way we currently shop is making us neither happy nor fulfilled.
- The planet cannot sustain the way we shop.
- Life is better if we feel connected to the things around us, invest according to our principles, and support people who deserve it.
At a time when I needed something to believe in, I realised I already did. As I’d navigated my way through my own traumas, I’d realised what was important to me. I didn’t want to continue to participate in big business - who were keeping their profits high, whilst depleting resources, damaging the planet and exploiting cheap labour. I’d felt a growing need to connect not just to where things were from, but with the people who made them and their stories. By seeking out items with meaning, I gained greater meaning in my life - going beyond the labels of ‘handmade’, of ‘eco-friendly’, of ‘independent makers’. I knew that having connection to the things we surround ourselves with means that we treasure our belongings, celebrate the place they have in our lives, and ultimately reject throwaway culture.
Modern Craft was born from a desire to feel more personally invested in the objects I surrounded myself with, to help me feel more invested and connected to myself. To celebrate the handmade alongside the healing. In the same way that products can be both functional and beautiful, they can also be ordinary yet magical. And I want to share them with you, share their stories.
Here, you’ll find products designed to uplift your surroundings and enrich your life. Modern Craft is committed to championing makers, artists, creatives, family businesses; to showing that the way we spend our money can align with our values (making a special effort to support women, people who are LGBTQ+, BAME, or disadvantaged). By buying directly from the makers and hearing their stories, Modern Craft can give you all the information you need to make mindful and empowered purchasing decisions.
Modern Craft started as me, but I hope it will become you too.