There is an increased demand for hand-crafted products around the world, but at the same time the centuries-old artisan culture is seriously under threat. Nowhere can this threat be felt more acutely than in the city of Florence, which has been known for its artisans since the Middle Ages.
Working with leather, silver, gold, marble, and wood has for centuries been the natural heritage of generations of Florentine families.
The city that nurtured Da Vinci, Michelangelo, and Brunelleschi along with hundreds of skilled craftsmen in small shops along the Arno River is now facing a severe decline in the products that offer a 'Made in Florence' label.
A combination of ever-increasing rent for ever-decreasing workspace square footage and the constant flow of cheaper imports from Eastern Europe and China in order to satisfy the high purchasing demands of Florence's enormous tourist trade is only partially to blame.
The descendants of artisans are no longer interested in carrying on the ancient techniques of their fathers and grandfathers, preferring instead to enter into professions that result in air conditioned offices, multi-year contracts, and clean hands at the end of the day.
A natural progression, yes indeed, but we need to support the artisans of Florence so they don't become extinct. We at SOF are doing our part. Our luxury soap has an evocative fragrance, is formulated with the highest quality essentials oils, and is made exclusively by Florentine artisans.