Thursday, January 08, 2009

Amish Will Take Over Furniture?

Maybe I was wrong that the Amish were destined to take over dairy farming in the U.S. This NY Times article describes their push into small business, particularly furniture.

The Amish move into the world of commerce has been more out of necessity than desire. Over the last 16 years, the Amish population in the United States — mostly in Pennsylvania, Ohio and Indiana — has nearly doubled, to 230,000, and the decreasing availability and increasing cost of farmland has forced many of these agrarian families, especially the younger generation, to gravitate to small business as their main source of income.

The businesses, which favor such Amish skills as furniture-making, quilting, construction work and cooking, have been remarkably successful. Despite a lack of even a high school education (the Amish leave school after the eighth grade), hundreds of Amish entrepreneurs have built profitable businesses based on the Amish values of high quality, integrity and hard work.
Prof. Kraybill outlines some of the dangers (at least for those who don't work in family-oriented workshops) for the way of life.

A side note. One of the big limits of the Internet and Google is the fact advertisements aren't captured. One of the striking ads I've seen in the last week is a full page newspaper ad for Amish mantels, complete with pictures showing bearded craftsmen finishing the wood. What it seems to be is an operation that combines a Chinese-built space heater contained inside a wood mantel so the combination looks like a wood fire in a fire place. Of course, 98 percent of the text is given over to the Amish side of the story, only in a couple places is it admitted that the guts of the product are Chinese.

No comments: