Newfoundland Trading Company is a new online retailer that ships handcrafted items from Newfoundland all over the world. The company is currently inviting artists, artisans and craftspeople who are interested in being featured on the site to get in touch through the “Become a Maker” form on the site.
“We’re a land of makers. I want to encourage and enable artists, artisans, and craftspeople to stay here in our province and craft their products for sale on the world market,” said Josh Taylor founder and CEO of Newfoundland Trading Company.
The company is interested in high quality, environmentally conscious items that can be produced in large quantities. The guidelines stipulate that submitted items should appeal “…to people outside the province…” however, they go on to say the company does “…not carry traditional Newfoundland nostalgia” or items designed specifically for tourists.
The slightly contradictory submission guidelines imply the company is hoping to export a very tailored image of modern Newfoundland. A Newfoundland that isn’t alienating to people who haven’t visited the island, but stops short of extending a kitschy, over-eager welcome.
“Newfoundland Trading Company will offer people the opportunity to experience this beautiful place,” Taylor said. “I want people who’ve never been to our province to touch and feel and understand a bit more about Newfoundland. I hope we build a company that can make this place proud.”
Taylor believes that one of the major challenges for craftspeople in Newfoundland is not being able to sell enough items to make a living from their craft. He hopes that by giving local craftspeople access to a wider market, Newfoundland Trading Company will make it possible for them to focus on their craft fulltime.
The company is willing to purchase a large number of pieces from selected craftspeople and market their work both with in the province and outside of it.
“When people come to Newfoundland and Labrador, they love this place, yet we don’t currently offer those outside of Newfoundland an opportunity to engage with – and enjoy – our province from afar,” Taylor said.
“We’re aiming to meet that need. We’re also aiming to help makers focus on doing what they love, which is making high-quality products. Our company will take care of the marketing and sales components of doing business.”
Taylor grew up in Grand Falls-Windsor and feels a strong connection to the province. He hopes that Newfoundland Trading Company will make it possible for some craftspeople to stay in Newfoundland in spite of the harsh economic climate.
“For hundreds of years, people have carved out an existence here,” Taylor said. “We’ve survived through sheer grit and determination. We’ve made it work. And we’ve become outstanding craftspeople, artists, artisans, and makers in the process. Now, with our provincial economy in peril once again, and young people considering their futures and thinking about leaving the province, I want to build a company that will help Newfoundlanders stay in Newfoundland.”