Not too long ago I wrote a bit about the new Barena collection and several people made reference to the props in the look book shoot. While it sort of surprises me, it really doesn’t surprise me at all that people are interested in hand made brooms. It reminded me of the profile on Henson Handmade Brooms in Symsonia, Kentucky that I saw on Tadd Myers’ American Craftsman Project. A photographer by trade, Tadd has also made several films that I have featured on ACL; he visited folks like Optimo hats and Oxxford Clothes in Chicago, and he also helped get Danner looking good.
What makes Tadd great is his ability to capture the process in a beautiful light and create an aura around a particular company or craft. Take for instance Henson brooms – Tadd’s photos show the maker in such a different and interesting perspective than the company’s own website projects. I understand why this is the way it is. Often craftsmen have so many different things to deal with that image and marketing is one of the last concerns. Though when presented well, it opens up such an amazing opportunity to build a direct distribution model and further solidify a business. Even someone making brooms of all things could open up such a potentially big consumer direct channel. It is certainly something I would hope all manufactures are thinking about.
At the end of the day I am happy there is still a guy in Kentucky making brooms the old fashion way while producing an honest living for him and his family. I’m also glad to be able to share it with you thanks to someone like Tadd Myers. To me supporting and empowering manufacturers of all sizes is a key part of the solution to the economic issues that America is facing. As I have said before, I don’t want to live in a country that doesn’t know how to make anything. [American Craftsman Project | Henson Handmade Brooms]
Comments on “Henson Handmade Brooms & the American Craftsman.”
Wow thanks so much for sharing this. My dad is a superb craftsman and has gotten jobs to make some highend furniture. As you say, he’s got so many other details to process marketing isn’t at the front of his mind. I think he’ll find this post really encouraging!!
Thank you Michael. This is yet another source of inspiration.
My business is an example of the power of your platform.
Three years ago, when my football was first featured on ACL, I was a one man show just trying to turn an idea into a business.
Today, I hired my fourth and fifth employees. Granted, this is not having any kind of impact on our economy, but I am still proud to be able to provide some real jobs to some hardworking people.
We craftspeople put so much effort into turning out noteworthy products that it can be a real struggle to find the time and money to promote the business.
Still, everyday I say a little prayer of thanks to the gods of ACL for showing us off to an appreciative audience.
Danner always looked good, even before a light was shined on them.
One of the reasons I keep coming back here, even though I disagree with things sometimes, is that this site is like a living lesson in marketing; a subject I wish I had focused on more when I was in college. So…thanks.
Don’t sell yourself short…two jobs here and two jobs there will most certainly have an impact on an economy.
Just want to say thanks, early on your video helped me organize my thoughts and come to the realization that I didn’t need a 10 ton clicker press to make my idea happen and that a small workroom and a manual clicker without an air compresser would do just the trick.
Thanks for posting this. Love to see traditional craft featured. If you’re in the New York area – there are a lot more local resources producing quality brooms Upstate and in Western Massachusetts – including the Hancock and New Lebanon Shaker Museums. Both great fall visits.
I love these pictures becuase they kinda make me feel the product. They have this wispy, sort of wheat-y feeling to them. Is that going too far?
Another great story. There is a great lesson to be learned from businesses where the focus is on producing quality products, not just making as much money possible, per unit.
Yeah, two totally different feelings between the photographs on this page and the actual broom website. The video on there is more in line with these photos. Did Tadd shoot these for Henson or just for himself?
These brooms like it’s made with much care and love. Thanks for sharing a wonderful story.
I’d sweep the hell out of my back patio with one of these! Love a damn good straw broom! Been using one of those bamboo numbers by Sweep Dreams.
And the best thing, these handmade brooms are actually very reasonably priced! Nice change of pace from handmade $150 aprons and $70 bandanas!
Beautiful. Another source for beautiful handmade brooms (and other fine crafts) is Berea College in KY. All the crafts are made by the students, who attend school for free: https://bereacollegecrafts.com/
Thanks for this post. I was the guy who orignially posted more interest in the brooms than the Barena collection awhile back. I really appreciate this! I have a love affair for things that are handmade, especially when done using timeless, age-old methods. It is something about taking natural materials and using effort, time, and creativity to make something beautiful, yet useful in its simplest form. These brooms represent this! As Bill mentioned, it is very refreshing that these brooms are reasonably priced.
I am a firm believer that hand-made or “Made in U.S.A.” should not mean an astronomical price. A product should be well-made as an extension of the maker’s reputation. The price should not be the indicator of quality.
Michael, another great story about American craft and the people who make this country great. Inspiring as always and a great way to start my day. Keep it up.
Thank you for this story and the very meaningful and beautifully shot photographs. This is the only way our nation is going to regain its moral, economic and spiritual strength, by promoting American made products that are governed not by profit alone, but craftsmanship as well.
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