According to Wikipedia, the term crowdsourcing was first defined in 2006 by Jeff Howe in an article called "The Rise of the Crowdsourcing" in Wired magazine. However, the phenomenon of using crowds to help solve problems predates this.
We Mackmyra founders used the same idea in 1999 to get help from future customers to assemble the first distilling equipment, to develop the recipes for the first Swedish single malt whisky and then their help with the financing of a larger distillery.
It was probably daring to invite the customers at such an early stage, but what a response. They understood that this was a journey that they had agreed to and that their feedback was sought. It was the beginning of a long, wonderful journey together with customers and future consumers. We became one of the forerunners of many other artisanal producers of alcoholic beverages in Sweden. In 1999 there were maybe a handful of small artisanal producers and today there are over 700. It has become an industry.
The method of include future customers right from the start is really strong. Therefore, it was an obvious advice that I gave to Idris when he called and presented his problem: - everyone likes my idea of artisanal distillation of natural aromas both from Tunisia and the Dalarna (in Midwest Sweden), but no one knows how to help. I said, - you should take inspiration from how we did in Mackmyra Whisky in the early 2000s. Customers who want to change a traditional industry can help you on your journey.
After meeting and listening a bit more to Idris and attending a couple of fairs, I realized the great potential of his project and that I myself wanted to help create a new craft distilling industry some 20 years later. Are there really no small manufacturers of natural aromas for cosmetics and beauty products who work from the field to the customer? The raw materials seem to come from a few giant wholesale companies and the luxury end products seem to be classic advertising-based branding. At the same time, a strong trend among consumers is clearly about finding sustainable natural alternatives from the right origin.
Now about two years later, after lab distillation in Tunisia, many online events with future customers and a lot of preparation, we are facing Carthago Fragrance's seed funding, which will mean the purchase of a full-size distillation equipment and the realization of starting an artisanal production of natural aromas both in Tunisia and Dalarna.
Another similarity with Mackmyra Whisky's start timing is that it is shaky financial times, then around the year 2000 there was an IT crash, now pandemic, war, inflation and interest rate shock. In such times, I think people need down-to-earth activities to take an interest in.
I therefore hope that you who have shown interest will come along as a Co-Founder to Carthago and that we will see each other on the distilling floor 😊.