I've just finished watching Savile Row on BBC4 (ah, the joys of Sky+ - to watch TV when you want, but months later than everyone else) and realised how much I love people who are skilled at a craft. The idea that one person holds the key to a certain skill is very seductive.
Who couldn't help but love Madame Pouzieux, the hunch-backed, horse-obsessed braid maker in the House of Chanel documentary (gotta love BBC4).
It's thrilling to watch someone who is immersed totally in a craft, or has devoted their life to one particular thing. I remember going into James Smith & Sons and being mesmerised by the way the assistant rolled up the umbrella I was buying - with so much practice!
In an interview a long time ago Kevin Gould said that on leaving the city, you would see traders setting up artisanal shops trading just one item. I think he was talking about meat and olive oil, but I really like the idea that the future will be more like the past. The department store is dead, long live the single service shop.
Anyway, I'm going to obsess about craft and dying skills for a while. Please send me any examples you have of companies who I can obsess about for a bit.