Roberta Ligosi: “The new craft? It’s young and cool and I’ll let you discover it at TA-DAAN”

Heyalways enamored with what comes from the intelligence of hands, Roberta Ligosi she is the founder of TA-DAAN, a digital project that speaks to the emerging expressions of contemporary craft. An online destination where you can explore the world of those young people who are redefining (and reviving) the imagination associated with craft

It is strange to observe how in a country that has built part of its economy on the value of know-how, the figure of the craftsman is gradually being degraded and discredited. In an Italy that exports “Made in Italy”, the concept of craftsmanship found itself at the center of imaginative interpretations, expanding everything (and therefore nothing), to finally be lost in the meshes of modernity and let the artisanal arts disappear preciously.

However, in this situation there is, fortunately, a however. A new generation of craftsmen who, all over the world, combine design and art, outlining a new identity of handmade. Girls and boys who decide to dedicate themselves to a slow art, reviving ancient traditions and mixing them with new modern languages.

TA-DAAN, a start-up founded by the entrepreneur, speaks to this phenomenon Roberta Ligosi. A digital project – including a magazine and an e-commerce – born from the desire to present the new protagonists of craftsmanship: creators of objects that (also) give shape to a new approach to more ethical and conscious consumption.

We had a chat with Roberta Ligosi.

When did your interest in crafting begin?

I was raised by a seamstress grandmother, so my love of needlework was born from watching her. Life, however, took me in other directions: I studied philosophy at the University of Milan and after graduation and my internship at L’Oreal I decided to change direction and study Management in London. Upon my return to Italy I took my first steps in the field of Human Resources and then worked as a headhunter. It was a male-dominated world where I didn’t feel like I could find my place. So at night I took sewing and embroidery lessons, resuming the passions I had abandoned in the past. I realized that this was the true direction. Within a year I quit my job, enrolled in a Bocconi Master in Arts Management & Administration, divorced my husband and founded TA-DAAN.

With what goal was TA-DAAN designed?

TA-DAAN starts from the belief that craftsmanship is a topic that greatly interests and engages our generation.

Today, craft is experiencing a moment of rediscovery and renaissance, especially among young people, Millennials and Gen Z, who are increasingly interested in all things handmade.

I think this is not a passing trend, but a deep need: we want to approach consumption in a more conscious way and buy clothes made ethically or morally second hand. I think it represents an area to bet on, despite its difficult scalability. This aspect, when I participate in meetings, is always “the elephant in the room”. It is clear that craft production is slow and cannot reach the masses, but that does not mean that it cannot reach many people.

How did the project actually begin?

I presented TA-DAAN as my master’s thesis at Bocconi. In the beginning there was almost nothing, except for 2-3 Instagram posts and a vague business plan. I knew from the beginning that I wouldn’t be taking on this path alone, so I started looking for a partner or two. I went to the first edition of Home Faber, the event dedicated to high craftsmanship, and there I met Costanza Tomba, who later became my first partner. He had just returned from Australia, where there is a world of super cool crafters. She was the one who then brought two university friends, Valeria Zanirato and Sara Pianori. From strangers we became partners and started working in the living room of the house. We didn’t start from a garage, but almost, that’s it!

TA-DAAN was born as a digital magazine to communicate the world of modern crafts, only later it evolved into e-commerce. The first goal was to reach 15,000 followers in a year, but we achieved them in just 4 months. So we raised the bar, got the first round of funding and then got better structured. E-commerce came after the success of the magazine, which allowed us to better understand the community and interests. Today TA-DAAN’s e-commerce brings together the products of 130 artisans across Europe.

Roberta Ligossi partnered by Costanza Tomba, Sara Pianori and Valeria Zanirato
Roberta Ligossi partnered by Costanza Tomba, Sara Pianori and Valeria Zanirato

You are four women who have combined the world of start-ups with that of craftsmanship, the par excellence analog field. Haven’t you gone too far in breaking stereotypes?

Amazing, isn’t it? (laughs) Think, last year we took part in TechChill, a competition dedicated to tech startups, and we won. You can’t imagine the satisfaction: a group of women working in the startup universe, still very male today, and winning with the artisans. Pure science fiction. However, things are changing, fortunately: there are more and more startups led by women, I feel very positive.

TA-DAAN also wants to dispel a dusty concept of craft…

Exact. We really like the motto: “Geppetto is finished”. Nothing to take away from Geppetto, poor thing, but the truth is that modern craftsmanship is a far cry from the imagination of the craftsman we grew up with. Once the craftsman was the one who inherited the profession, today it is design and architecture students who after their studies start to create with their hands.

The very definition of craftsman, in Italian, has often been used inappropriately, with the result that we are witnessing a gradual devaluation of this profession

In any case, the borders with the artist are very blurred, there are artisans who exhibit in galleries and artists who identify themselves as artisans. For this reason, for our communication, we have chosen English: craftsmanship it certainly has another value.

What are TA-DAAN’s next goals?

During the Milan Design Week, we organized a pop up shop in the 5Vie area and we will repeat this beautiful experience: we will be in Milan with another pop up and also in Paris, with our first test abroad. The store will be created in collaboration with the Tikamoon brand, and the theme will be hospitality and gifts with workshops, workshops and other events. Next year we want to expand our artisan selection by also opening in the UK and then coming to the US in late 2024/early 2025.

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