A job for the future? Embroidery!

Posted on February 05 2019

A job for the future? Embroidery!

Jack Ma, founder of Chinese e-commerce behemoth Alibaba, sees serious change on the horizon. In the next 30 years, artificial intelligence will outpace human knowledge, leading to job loss. “I think we should teach our kids sports, music, painting - the arts - to make sure that they are different. Everything we teach should make them different from machines,” he said in Davos in 2018.

A study by the McKinsey Global Institute estimates that between 400 million and 800 million of today’s jobs will be automated by 2030: cars will be self-driven, homes will be 3D printed, doctors and surgeons will be replaced by more knowledgeable and precise robots, and so on.

Why can't machines replace the human Embroidery Artist? Because machines cannot replicate the creativity, the history, the feelings which the artist pours into her needle-work. You can spot machine embroidery from a distance and it might be beautiful, but it will never trigger the same emotions, which hand-embroidery does.

Jordan's Competitive Advantage

With 60% of its GDP generated from "services", Jordan is vulnerable to rise of AI. Roberta Ventura - our founder's former jobs have been cannibalised by machines. "I have been a stockbroker and a portfolio manager for 20 years, and I can see how the trend will continue to erode the value added of human beings across most service sectors." Roberta said. 

Jordan's population median age is 22. This number is 45 in Italy, 47 in Germany and Japan and 40 in the United Kingdom.

Craftsmanship, the arts, "everything that makes us different from machines" represent an incredible opportunity for Jordan. Unemployment is high and has been rising, so a way to deploy its workforce has to be identified:

The Mediterranean region used to pride itself on a secular embroidery tradition: with its ageing population, increased cost of living and cultural shifts, such tradition is almost lost in most Mediterranean countries. Jordan has the potential to be the world leader in a sector which has no competition from machines, little competition from other large countries (different techniques prevail in India and hand-embroidery is becoming rarer in China) and loads of demand from a more and more conscious consumer.

The Ethical Luxury Market is estimated by Bain&Co to be a 6bn$ market. Craftsmanship has a key role to play in that sector.

Grandma's work or Mainstream Press material?

The needle-work we have been doing at SEP Jordan for the past 5 years combines the best of the ancient embroidery techniques with modern fabrics and colours and it has attracted the attention of the highest-end press worldwide. Why? Because SEP Jordan means pride and employment for artists who may be refugees, but also because of the superior finish and quality of our work.

Fashionistas and influencers who are looking for the next big thing in fashion are in love with hand-embroidery. Hear it from Entrepreneur and Investor Mira Duma, Founder of Future Tech Lab, when she visited the SEP Workshop:

In conclusion, we hope to see more and more start-ups being created, more interest from investors and development agencies and from the actual Government, in a sector which can bring "Made in Jordan" to the fore globally and fuel healthy GDP growth for the country.

Later this month, on February 28th, the UK Government and the Jordan Government will host the London Initiative, a major international conference in Central London to support investment growth and jobs for Jordan. We hope the Craftsmanship sector will have a role to play!

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