Marketing these days has gotten very, as my grandmother would say, fancy-fancy. Companies, wedding related and otherwise, have started using a new vocabulary to distinguish themselves. I’ve seen these four cropping up all over the place, and finally decided to haul out the dictionary. OK, so I looked on Wikipedia. In any case, here are explanations of the words being used to describe products and businesses that are made by artists, unique, custom and rare.
An artisan or artizan (from Italian: artigiano) is a skilled manual worker who makes items that may be functional or strictly decorative, including furniture, clothing, jewelry, household items, and tools or even machines. An artisan is therefore a person engaged in or occupied by the practice of a craft, who may through experience and talent reach the expressive levels of an art in their work and what they create.
Bespoke is an English word meaning an item made to a buyer’s specification (personalized or tailored). While it is applied to many items, the term historically was applied only to men’s tailored clothing, implying measurement and fitting. The distinguishing points of bespoke tailoring are the buyer’s total control over the fabric used, the features and fit, and the way the garment should be made. More generally, “bespoke” describes a high degree of “customization”, and involvement of the end-user, in the production of the goods.
A boutique is a small shopping outlet, especially one that specializes in elite and fashionable items such as clothing and jewelry. The word is French for “shop”, via Latin from Greek (apothēkē), “storehouse.” The term entered into everyday English use in the late 1960s. It can also refer to a specialized firm such as a boutique investment bank or boutique law firm. The word is often used to describe an independent hotel in order to distinguish themselves from larger chains. In such cases the establishments aim to convey the idea that the operation is elite and highly specialized.
Haute couture (French for “high sewing” or “high dressmaking” or “high fashion”; refers to the creation of exclusive custom-fitted clothing. Haute couture is made to order for a specific customer, and it is usually made from high-quality, expensive fabric and sewn with extreme attention to detail and finished by the most experienced and capable seamstresses, often using time-consuming, hand-executed techniques. “Couture” means dressmaking, sewing, or needlework and is also used as a common abbreviation of haute couture and refers to the same thing in spirit. “Haute” means elegant or high. A haute couture garment is made specifically for the wearer’s measurements and body stance.
In the end, it’s not about the keywords– it’s about the work, the product, and the service. No matter what you call yourself, if you get those right, you can apply the best word of all to your business: successful.