The Middleman Question
This is a guest post by Lana Black. Lana is Product Manager at Vertical Response with more than 10 years of experience in the tech industry. Lana believes that ubiquitous technology will remove barriers of interaction and bring us closer than ever.
What is a middleman?
Professors Snehota and Gadde discuss the definition and history of middlemen as follows: A middleman is an actor between two other actors, helping customers access resources needed and the holders of resources to reach customers.
Prior to the industrial revolution, the middleman maintained a role as trader, buying and selling many types of products, acting as an exporter, wholesaler, importer, retailer, ship-owner, banker and insurer. In this sense, the middleman was filling many needs for customers and suppliers alike.
What the Maker Revolution Will *Really* Look Like
The technological soothsayers have spoken: “We are on the cusp of the 3rd Industrial Revolution,” they say, “Anyone with passion, talent, and a great idea will be able to design and manufacture their own products in the not too distant future.”
Yes, real products, from haute couture handbags to bicycle parts. All of this is made possible, according to Chris Anderson in his book Makers, to innovations in 3D printing and open-source design, technologies that will enable inventors to become entrepreneurs.
Hand-built in Nothern Italy by the Abici team, this bicycle was inspired by the classic designs of decades past.
With soft leather grip handles, a sturdy handmade frame, and elegantly shaped leather saddle, this vintage style “Svetlina” bicycle was designed and built to withstand years of use.
Available now on Zanoby.
Maurizio and Stefania, two jewelers born and raised in Florence, have been combining their complementing flairs and channeled them into their creations.
Through his love for technology and instinctive feel for design and her love for art and sophistication, they produce intriguing individual pieces of jewelry with elemental forms and materials, with just a twist of hi-tech.
Working together with their highly skilled team of craftspeople, shaping bronze, silver and resin, their bracelets, necklaces and rings evoke a primeval atmosphere of fire and smoke, but at the same time embody a twenty-first century irony and joie-de-vivre that is always present throughout their work.
Discover their products.
eCommerce is too impersonal, and this is how we’re going to change it
For too long, the face of the maker has been missing from the marketplace. We buy a product and never think of the passion, the dedication, and the love that goes into it. To us the face of the maker is invisible, anonymous, and although the maker and the buyer are connected in a very real way, we have lost that sense of connection.
That is why we’re looking to create something more than just an eCommerce site. We want to restore the connection between the product and its maker. We want to remind each buyer that they are not just buying a product, but supporting a new renaissance in manufacturing through collective buying power. These makers have struggled too long to keep their craftsmanship alive. We want to bring that struggle to an end.
A century old signature
The final touch.
Andrea dips the brush and paints the name of his company on the frame of a Contropedale city bike in a proud golden letters.
It’s more than just a brand. It’s a signature. Just as any artist would sign their name in the corner of a masterpiece upon its completion, the craftsman, the one who attached each spoke to the hub shell of each wheel would sign a name that represented over a hundred years of quality, tradition, and beauty.
Lava, coral and philosophy: a visionary Maker
A manufacturing plant that looks like a vessel, with a crew of 15 highly skilled makers headed by Roberto, a pirate, a performer, a philosopher and the inspiring force in the creative process behind his bespoke pieces of jewelry which are never, merely, jewels.
A trained architect with the roguish air of a sea captain, his pieces are visceral and elegant, like the lava fragments beautifully – and ‘meaningfully’- framed by worked metal. What his meaningful truly is and where it stems from, Roberto is all too happy to explain: the long version includes geology, history and metaphysics but, in short, the true alchemy is how each creation is imprinted with the true spark element of crafted soul.
Coppola hat: the “Meusa” collection, experimentation and tradition
Each and every model in our line of unique coppola hats bears a name inspired by the rich Sicilian history and folklore, in order to give added strength to our proudly local products.
The Meusa collection:
“A tramp, a gentleman, a poet, a dreamer, a lonely fellow, always hopeful of romance and adventure”. From Charlie Chaplin’s visionary mind we can trace the line of the inspiration for the Meusa hat: a coppola that takes its original spark from the joy and taste for life of the Sicilian soul, from the multifaceted and intense scents that populate the island, from the colourful food and brimming street markets, where the original meusa is sold, even nowadays. The meusa is a typical street food, of simple, poor ingredients but rich and full in flavours, with the characteristic Sicilian twist.
By wearing a hat belonging to the Meusa line, you bring into your daily life a piece of poetic lightheartedness and the buoyant sense of freedom of the street market dweller, with an added, and unmistakable, addition of style and elegance.
Les Zazous: a 1940 French revolution
Za zou, za zou, zo zou, za zou ze
Whistling of French Teddy boys in a Paris under siege, a melody that tasted like beer and grenadine, brilliantine, red lipstick and a fair dose of living on the edge, all to the unstoppable rhythm of Swing and Jazz.
This was a time when English was an emotion before being a language and America was the best of all possible dreams…the open-air cinemas, the motorcycle rides, a ferris wheel or a swing where to taste the exhilarating quality of freedom.
Zazou: a swing hat
The Zazou hat is a style icon, it draws back to the fascination of a distant era, to revolutionary and sophisticated undertones. Wear your Zazou, here in a slick dark blue pony skin version: it will be your perfect ticket to a speakeasy night out. You choose the melody, from tango to rockabilly, and Zazou will follow you with irony and lightness.
This hat is designed and manufactured with passion in the laboratory of one of the talented Zanoby manufacturer, where the hat-making tradition meets wooden hat shapes, photographs of Le Corbusier, sound of sewing machines and books of Jacques Prévert:
This is what we mean for Human Centered Manufacturing.
Welcome to Zanoby
Thank you for visiting the Zanoby blog. We are extremely excited to share our vision with you. This blog will chronicle our mission, thoughts, and inspiration. It will also highlight the stories behind the Makers we partner with to offer you a view into their culture, their products, and their craft.
Our story is a simple and meaningful one. We believe strongly in sustainable manufacturing practices and the production of quality over quantity. We support local Makers and manufacturers who have a proud history and achievement of beauty, and maintain their identity and craftsmanship throughout the production process. Through our travels to Makers around the world, however, we learned that many countries do not have the infrastructure to build or maintain local manufacturing. As large-scale manufacturing and fast production take over consumer markets, the local manufacturing industry struggles with limited direct access to markets and competition with larger industry players.
Bicycles by Taurus
Founded in 1908, Taurus is proud of its heritage but fully in touch with the evolving needs of the modern world.
This bicycle factory is located in the productive heart of Italy, where generations of skilled workers have refined their trade and have proven to stand the test of time. The bicycles produced here are unashamedly hand-made, from the frames to nuts and bolts, everything is produced locally and with a meticulous level of finish. Built with years of use in mind but requiring minimal maintenance, these bicycles are built for real people in the real world. Each product is the culmination of generations of skills and teamwork, and that is what you are buying into when you choose a Zanoby bicycle.
The future of manufacturing in America is bright. In the wake of the Great Recession, there is great potential to return to prosperity as a country that makes things. Though there are challenges to bringing manufacturing back in America, sound public policy and pioneering businesses are leading the way.
People are seeking a better way of life, and this often means walkable and livable neighborhoods where they have easy access to shopping, entertainment, recreation, and jobs. This type of environment can be found in cities, and urban manufacturers are a major way to provide jobs in such places. With a strong urban manufacturing economy, Americans can find homes in more livable neighborhoods and commute less. Urban manufacturers will reduce costs by locating near their suppliers, customers, and workers, the negative environmental impacts of industry will be lessened, and inner city neighborhoods will reap the benefits of economic development. Urban manufacturing is a path to healthier, happier neighborhoods and a strong and prosperous economy.
Follow the path.