The Spark of an Idea

How Brian Waring changed career and set up his new business. Craft Editions

Some businesses are born out of years of research and planning, and some are born in moments, with the spark of an idea. The concept for Craft Editions came to me on a car journey through the Tradouw Pass, a beautiful and inspiring landscape in the Western Cape, South Africa.

In 2015, after a long career in the corporate world, I decided to take 3 months out to relax, think about the future and travel in South Africa pursuing my passion for craft and making. On a visit to the small town of Barrydale in the Klein Karoo I met Carol Morris and master weaver Tivane Mavuma, who had set up Barrydale Hand Weavers in 2007. I was inspired by their story, the craft and the quality of the items they made. I started thinking how there were so many craftspeople in South Africa and other countries, who were unknown and whose work was unavailable in the UK.

Craft Editions launched in 2017 and is a collection of beautiful items for the home from makers in Ireland and South Africa, two countries that have much in common, including a rich tradition of making things by hand. I am originally from Ireland and my husband from South Africa and since 2017 I have travelled extensively in both countries to find craftspeople whose work and aesthetic inspires me.

Each year I collaborate with a selection of makers to create a collection of handmade items for the home. I believe it’s important for me to visit each maker wherever they are, to get to know their story and learn about their craft. I write about each of the makers I work with as this builds awareness of their craft and adds an authenticity to the Craft Editions story.

It has been an interesting journey for me from senior level positions in the corporate world to running my own company. Like many small business owners, I have had to learn each and every detail and get used to doing everything myself, including importing stock from South Africa, something I knew nothing about prior to starting Craft Editions. I have enjoyed the contrast with the corporate world, in particular the freedom to make quick decisions about what I feel is best for my business. I try not to be too hard on myself and accept that it is a journey, with highs and lows along the way that are an inevitable part of building the business and getting it to where I want it to be.

It is almost 3 years since I launched Craft Editions and wow how time has raced by. I remain passionate about craft and running my own business, and even with a long career I am still learning a huge amount. Each day I try to balance data with intuition … in the end each decision I take has got to feel right for me, the makers I work with and for the Craft Editions brand.