Monthly Archives: November 2012

One (More?) French Thing We Should Totally Copy

Steel yourself for your own lust when you scan this New York Times travel story — and slideshow —about the master craftspeople of France, who make everything from bouquets to baguettes to corsets.

When France’s Ministry of Labor approves your application to join the Meilleurs Ovriers de France club, you’re in for life. They’ve been maintaining this club of about 4,000 craftspeople since the 1920s, but even though its members’ products are the best of the best, this isn’t a by-and-for-the-elite thing:

“Market competition means that most of their exquisitely created products are affordable, putting small everyday luxuries within the reach of most consumers.”

Hot dog! At the bakery visited by the Times, baguettes cost about a buck fifty.

I wish the U.S. would find a way to replicate this system, helping build the market value of small businesses and businesspeople. For the talented individual, official recognition helps them to succeed. For the consumer and community, we learn to distinguish quality and we gain local stars, whose products’ quality we could depend on and whose success we can take pride in within our neighborhoods.

photo by Ian Britton,