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A couple of weeks ago, I caught the end of a Rock Center segment talking about our (that is, marketers’) use of the word “artisanal”. By far the best part of this was an interview with a man, David Rees, who provides an unusual service: he will hand sharpen a pencil and mail it to you with a certificate of authenticity and a bunch of the shavings, all for the low price of $35. According to his website, he guarantees a very pointy #2 pencil and an “authentic interaction” with it; I’m not sure what this second part means, though for $35, that pencil had better be sharp as the tip of a needle.

He also wrote a book about how to sharpen a pencil, though I can’t think why he’d want to let others in on the secrets of his craft.

There are many aspects of this story that I love, not the least of which is the fact that there is an alternate universe within ours in which there are people who want and can afford to pay $35 for a single, hand-sharpened pencil. And this man who discovered and is addressing this desire has inspired me as well. So I’ve been brainstorming what I could do in this same vein, what service I could render, and I’ve come up with a few ideas. I’ve presented them below. Please note that they are all decidedly artisanal, and as such, all final products will be accompanied by certificates of authenticity on paper I may or may not have pulped myself, depending upon how busy I am that week.

  1. Baby sweaters I have painstakingly knitted out of fur from my bunny. They have to be baby sweaters because the bunny is only about three pounds, so it is going to take a while to gather enough fur for a sweater. Considering the effort spent grooming her, washing the fur, spinning it into yarn, learning how to knit, and actually knitting, each sweater will be priced at $250. Trust me, it’s a bargain.

    Look at that face! Don't you want a teeny sweater made out of that fur?

    Look at that face! Don’t you want a teeny sweater made out of that fur, which will be gathered in a gentle manner?

  2. Hand-crafted soaps I have made from the leftovers of bar soaps I have in my house. (I’ll wash each piece off first, obviously.) This will ensure your best bathing experience by combining different scents and colors into one beautiful, multicolored melange. I can do a couple of different shapes: bar and square. For a little extra money, I can also carve each bar into something roughly resembling a polar bear, just like that art project I was so good at in grade school. These soaps will range in price from $20 to $50 per bar because I’ll start with expensive, French-milled soaps. No Dove or Irish Spring, I promise, and not even Kiss My Face. Those are all too mass-produced.
  3. Homemade facial cleansers in Mason jars whimsically decorated with little paper birds and butterflies. Of course these will all be preservative free, so you’ll have to use them fast upon delivery before they start to mold or attract fruit flies. Be sure to set aside plenty of time to wash your face and use them up! They will have ingredients like oatmeal and milk, honey and milk, olive oil, and strawberries. I’ll occasionally throw a cucumber into your package so you can chill it and slice off your own eye masks. Bonus: one cleanser will actually be guacamole so you can dip your tortilla chips into it while using it on your face! These will cost $20 a jar because I’ll only use organic ingredients.
  4. A hand-made, carefully decorated piecaken. This is one of the more interesting things I’ve discovered on Pinterest, and though the thought of eating it makes me personally feel sick, I’m sure plenty of people can appreciate the mind-numbing sugar rush of eating a couple of fruit pies baked into a couple of cakes, then stacked on top of each other and smothered in frosting and maybe sprinkles. You can pick your own flavors of cake and pie, and they will be lovingly baked from only organic, locally-sourced ingredients (so don’t ask for a peach pie in winter, you ignorant ass). Along with your certificate of authenticity, you’ll get photographs documenting each stage of construction. I’ll even Instagram them for you for that old-timey feel. These are a steal at $89.99 per piecaken.

Well, I’m off to brush the bunny and see if I can get enough fur for a few inches of yarn. Remember, your one-of-a-kind, artisanal experience is waiting just for you!

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