Bringing Artisans and Clients Together

People / Places / Products / April 2, 2013

It’s one of the golden mantras of entrepreneurship: If you can’t find it, create it.

That’s what Gwen Carlton and Pippa McArdle did when they formed Bespoke Global.

Carlton, a gifted artisan, was getting requests from around the world for one-off works created for specific clients.  And she realized that she was not alone.

“We knew there was a market where clients were trying to find artists, and artists trying to find clients,” McArdle says.  “And, the clients are really passionate about supporting the artisans.”

In two short years, Bespoke Global has grown from representing 18 artisans worldwide – for lines of furnishings, decorative arts, leisure and lighting – to more than 65 today.  The firm started out in Manhattan with the two founders, and now employs 12, with offices in London, Los Angeles and Ft. Lauderdale.

What’s different about Bespoke Global is that its artisans are pleased to take feedback from clients – including architects, interior designers and retail customers – as they begin work on a particular piece.

And the aesthetic bar the founders have raised is a high one.

“The secret sauce?  It comes down to something that makes us weak at the knees,” says McArdle.  “There needs to be a commitment to authenticity and integrity, and it can’t be mass produced.”

Until now, she says, the work of many of those they represent was kept on the ground or behind closed doors.  Now, they’re able to bring together the best artists and designers to one place, where people can find their work.  And there’s no charge for an artisan to be featured on the firm’s website; instead, Bespoke Global receives a percentage of the sale price.

It’s a win/win all the way around.  Clients get a one-of-a-kind piece by a gifted artisan; artists who don’t specialize in promotion can now find a strong presence online; and the pair who founded Bespoke Global can create, while bringing together the best of both worlds, internationally.

“The demand is global,” she says.  “It speaks to people all over the world.”

And with a strong, discerning voice.

For more information, go to http://www.bespokeglobal.com/

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Michael Welton
I write about architecture, art, and design for national and international publications. I am the author of "Drawing from Practice: Architects and the Meaning of Freehand" (Routledge, 2015), and the former architecture critic for the News & Observer in Raleigh, N.C.




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