For most small business entrepreneurs, having the chance to tell the story of your craft often gets lost in the shuffle of developing and maintaining your business. Focus on growing a customer base, providing quality products, and marketing your business take precedent over finding a medium to spread your message, no matter how influential it may be. For journalist John Peabody however, the passion and inspiration behind what makes every small business unique defines the framework behind his latest project, The Hand & Eye.
When John first launched The Hand & Eye nearly one year ago, he began with the simple premise of chronicling a new class of craftsmen, makers, and creative minds in hopes of celebrating their work and telling their stories. But instead of finding currently-trending individuals or businesses, he set out to find those who hadn’t yet had their stories told. Twelve months later, The Hand & Eye features an exclusive mix of entrepreneurs with skills ranging from clock making, to surfboard shaping, to hand-painted outdoor advertisements.
Like most good ideas, the thought to create The Hand & Eye struck John at a rather odd moment; on a flight to Puerto Rico for a surfing trip. Although the idea for showcasing small businesses came at 35,000 feet, John knew he wanted to approach it in an original way and aspired to send a different kind of message. “I didn’t want it to be just about the products, but rather something to feature interesting jobs,” Peabody tells The Manual, “a way to inspire people and document fascinating stories.”
After spending just a few moments on the site, these fascinating and inspiring stories jump out with every click. A journalist since his days in college, it’s easy to see John has a knack for telling compelling and exciting stories; a knack he puts on full display with The Hand & Eye.
But for the former small business editor at Reuters, it’s his improved photography skills he feels most proud of. Not only does he acknowledge the fact that proper photography helps capture the essence of what the makers and craftsmen do, but he feels it lets him do right by them and provide their craft the justice it deserves.
For now, The Hand & Eye mostly covers entrepreneurs on the East Coast, with most of the stories coming out of New York City and Brooklyn — where Peabody calls home. Despite New York City experiencing its own industrial and manufacturing renaissance as of late, the idea of branching out and finding more outside of the city is one of the next steps for The Hand & Eye. “I’d love to just travel and bring The Hand & Eye to places not usually covered,” John says, adding, “I’ve always been fascinated with spending a week in Detroit; there’s just so much going on there.”
In the mean time, John continues to document the rich culture of craftsmen the East Coast has to offer, and provides his followers with exceptional, awe-inspiring content. It’s hardly just one thing which allows The Hand & Eye to stand out, but rather the harmony of all the unique designers, farmers, woodworkers, and crafters he’s found along the way.
With just a year under his belt developing the triumph that is The Hand & Eye, it’s clear John’s passion for small business and penchant for writing runs deep. Color us intrigued to see what John has in store for the next twelve months.
To take a look at all of John’s featured small businesses, head on over to The Hand & Eye website.