03-24-2015, 03:25 AM
#1
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I have just started a PIF over on the Contest thread. In it I have asked people's opinion on the UK Artisan Market. So for those not in the PIF this is for those who haven't written there.

So the full question is, Why do we not have any comparable UK Artisans turning out great soaps like US Artisans?

My opinion, and this if open to debate, is that even though we have a few UK Artisans they just don't compare because of tradition. I think it is harder for an artisan market to grow in Blighty because we are renowned for being stuck in are ways. Don't get me wrong, I love history and tradition but there comes a time when we need to move forwards. I think if we are to have a more competitive UK Artisan/wet shaving market we need to modernise a bit, similar to the way US artisans are going. I like businesses like, TOBS, Geo F Trumper, T&H and Dr Harris but they are very old fashioned in there ways.

So what do others think, agree or disagree, have another opinion, I like debate! (Friendly though)

Have a good day Smile

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 03-24-2015, 04:38 AM
#2
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Also there are the strict EU regulations about soapmaking which US producers don't have to deal with.

Have you Wickham or Nanny's Silly Soap's soaps?

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 03-24-2015, 04:47 AM
#3
  • MPH
  • Member
  • UK
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Hi,

I just commented on your other post. I think we do have some good artisans in the UK, but as the US is soo much bigger they are bound to have more.

To be fair, I dont think we are stuck in our ways, but I guess we have quite alot of very old traditional companies that have been around for years, and maybe these put off new companies/artisans from starting as it would be very hard to compete with them. At the end of the day its a pretty Niche product so I imagine it would be difficult to earn a living from unless you either have a big market at home, or you can affordably post the product world wide. Postage costs in the UK are pretty prohibitive, so maybe that is an issue, unless you are a big enough company to ship loads at a time to shaving shops.

Obviously I have no idea what I am talking about, but this would be my guess. ;-)

Matt

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 03-24-2015, 06:45 AM
#4
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There are several good artisan soaps in the UK.
Wickham, Nanny's, Professor Blighty's, Dr. K Soap Company, Handmade Soap Company,  Scent from Heaven are the ones that come to mind...

But I understand your argument here. There are plenty of good non-artisan soaps in the UK. That leaves very few market share for the artisan ones.

In the US, is difficult to find a US-made non-artisan soap. I can only remember few ones, like VdH, Col. Conk and the "famous" Williams. Tongue That leaves plenty of room for the artisan ones.

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 03-24-2015, 07:20 AM
#5
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I agree with you all to an extent. There is some very good arguments about why it shouldn't grow like the US market. But do you really believe companies like Wickhams and Nannys compete with the likes of Cold River and Barrister and Mann. I know they are following some guidelines set by the EU which is going to hinder them. 

I will add I do like Wickhams Soaps and they are by far the best UK artisan but unfortunately they will only be made on a very small scale these days due to some personal issues the owner is having. 

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 03-24-2015, 11:31 AM
#6
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There are many UK made shaving soaps, they just not known on the forums. We have British commercial companies that never get a mention either for that matter. Droyt's anyone? Anyone? I see shaving soaps in every craft market I go to, I just wouldn't touch them with a barge pole. I could see why Italy and France would produce artisan soaps, but the emergence in the US is surprising.

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 03-25-2015, 03:14 AM
#7
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I don't find it surprising at all. With their resurgence of interest in handcrafted products (the counterculture to mass produced goods starting with the explosion in craft beers) and combined with the power of internet marketing it makes perfect sense. Due to the large open market, no language, trade and production barriers and vocal consumers in the forums (face it, most popular shaving forums members are predominantly US/CA residents (judging from all the CONUS only BSTs) their artisans get most of the advertising and create a dominant presence in the market. 
If you peruse local EU forums you'll find there are many new artisans popping up (baume.be in belgium, meisner tremonia in germany, vreto in serbia, not to mention a slew of french and italian artisans) but they run into obstacles when trying to sell on a larger scale and are forced to comply to the regulations or remain a hobby scaled business.

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 03-25-2015, 07:18 AM
#8
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the answer may be simpler. i just dont think Europeans give as much of a sh*t (pardon my french)
any european entering the trad shaving market, immediately comes across proraso, simpsons, plisson, MdC, T&H, DRH, ingram, GFT, MWF, EJ, semogue etc etc that you can immediately pick up a decent shaving set to suit all pockets and boom, problem solved. then we go out an enjoy all that european life as to offer. only a select few of us stick around to enjoy it as a hobby. because we have such a rich source of shaving nirvana on our doorstep... we dont really have that need or yearning for artisans. Where as Americans lack that natural selection so you guys turn your hand to it yourselves. 

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 03-25-2015, 09:09 AM
#9
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(03-25-2015, 07:18 AM)riskybadger Wrote: the answer may be simpler. i just dont think Europeans give as much of a sh*t (pardon my french)
any european entering the trad shaving market, immediately comes across proraso, simpsons, plisson, MdC, T&H, DRH, ingram, GFT, MWF, EJ, semogue etc etc that you can immediately pick up a decent shaving set to suit all pockets and boom, problem solved. then we go out an enjoy all that european life as to offer. only a select few of us stick around to enjoy it as a hobby. because we have such a rich source of shaving nirvana on our doorstep... we dont really have that need or yearning for artisans. Where as Americans lack that natural selection so you guys turn your hand to it yourselves. 

Not being in the UK I was going to say much the same thing, but differently.

We had at most a handful of soaps here in the US and not many years ago, six, I knew of one that was any good (IMO of course). Nature abhors a vacuum, so it got filled.

The UK, and the EU, has plenty of good soaps and such to choose from.

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 03-25-2015, 05:23 PM
#10
  • Teddyboy
  • Guilty, with an explanation
  • NYC
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I think the UK's traditional soaps have been so excellent that the shaving population evolved an expectation of excellence and ease of locating/purchasing quality shaving soap.  In the US, whatever passed as traditional wetshaving soap was far inferior to those in the UK.  So, in contrast to the UK we never could depend on a solid foundation of quality products.  This, I believe, is what fuels US artisans to fill a niche that the UK has had filled for centuries by these awesome brands of soaps.  For shaving enthusiasts in the UK, the need for geographically dispersed artisanal soapmakers was far less evident because of the great soaps available for at least a century.

More to the point, I'll bet that not one of the US artisan soapmakers can make a decent steak and kidney pie! Sherlock

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