Places we love in Amsterdam and why.
Crafted Society Amsterdam.
Out walking one morning on the Prinsengracht, I stumbled across an interesting looking place and went inside to see more. I met with the owner Martin Johnston and he told me an amazing story over a coffee and I thought you too should hear about it. Martin is a British guy that has lived in Amsterdam for a long time and has a long history in the fashion business. His showroom and fitting room has an interesting purpose and so I did a Q+A with him to get more depth about him and his project and here it is.
1.Please tell us where you are from and for how long you have been in Amsterdam.
Originally, I am from a small city in the North West of England, called Chester. In 1999, I arrived in Amsterdam after previously having spent 4 years in the USA and 2 years in Russia. I came to Amsterdam at the end of the 90’s to work for a small American Fashion company. Tommy Hilfiger is not so small anymore! The best thing about Tommy, was that I met my wife and business partner there.
2. Please tell us about your business.
Throughout our almost one year journey through Italy, we decided we wanted to preserve a Crafted Society; hence our brand name.
When a business embraces transparency, it is also forced to produce and operate in a sustainable manner. As one of the world’s worst offenders for human and environmental damage, fashion needs to clean itself up. Luxury; the pinnacle and most aspirational part of fashion, is traditional in many aspects and often scores poorly on sustainable brand indexes. We wanted to do something about this, but we also wanted to democratise luxury – make it more accessible and not, as it has traditionally been, for the elite high net worth individuals. there is a focus to source materials from certified partners who share our vision and values. We are putting people first in all aspects of how we run our brand, ensuring that ethical trading standards are stringently upheld. Finally, we believe all for profit businesses should give something back as a good global citizen. We pledge 1% of our annual sales (not profits) towards non-profits who focus on providing access to quality education for the next generation.
3. Typically who are your clients and where are they from ?
We have clients from all over the world, but the majority of them share some similar characteristics. They all have a high appreciation for handcrafted goods, they are socially conscious consumers meaning they buy less but choose to buy quality. Our products are for men and women alike. We make sneakers, leather bags, cashmere scarves and accessories and make them available for anyone to purchase.
We started as an online only business in 2017. First customers were actually premier league footballers. It’s a funny story.
For our next phase of brand experiences, we decided to open a pop-up store in Amsterdam in the Spring of 2018.
In December 2018 we opened a permanent office/photostudio/showroom on Prinsengracht 475h in the heart of Amsterdam’s canal district and 9 streets area. Customers can email us ahead of time to fix an appointment to see our products and learn more about our brand. Transactions do not happen in the store but via our online e-store, but having a physical space really engages new fans to learn more about who we are, what we do but more importantly why we do it.
4. Please tell us more about where your products and the people that make them.
Best in class Italian master artisans produce all of our products . Familia Grassetti produces our sneakers. Mario has been a cordwainer for more than 45 years. His son Giacomo joined the family business 10 years ago to continue the family tradition. Our best selling sneaker so far is our Mario Low – we only produce 12-24 pairs per style colour. When they are gone, we move on to the next thing. This ensures a unique product offering which has seen customers go onto our waiting lists for new product introductions because they know there may only be one pair made in their size, anywhere in the world. We use the highest quality leathers, sourced ethically and sustainably from the premium leather tanneries in Italy. Mario hand crafts our sneakers in the shoe region of Italy, in Marche.
We will soon launch the first products in our Crafted Society homewear collection. 1.8m by 1.4m completely upcycled 100% cashmere throws. The prices are a fraction of the price of traditional wholesale/retail brands.
5. What other things should people know about Crafted Society ?
It was started by a husband and wife duo, hugely passionate about the industry in which they have worked for more than 35 years, yet wanting to do something with a real purpose and help change the industry for the better. Today we have donated to more than 9 different global non-profits but our ultimate goal is to launch the #luxuryforgood foundation so that we can set up the programs whereby we pair people in need with our artisans to close the loop on the single biggest threat to craftsmanship – the inability to identify, train and onboard the next generation of artisans.
Thank you Martin
So there you have it. the inside story straight form the founder of Crafted Society.
The next time you are in the 9 streets pop in and have a look. It is just a lovely boutique and a great story behind it all.
Address : Prinsengracht 475h, 1016HP Amsterdam
Phone : 06 13 84 27 72
Web : Crafted Society
Email : email@example.com