Carmela originally started working as an architect in the north of Italy until she decided this was not her dream, and moved to Palermo. After working in a hotel for about two years, she started her adventure with Edizioni Precarie in 2013, which she describes as a long project that is still ongoing. Edizioni Precarie is a project focusing on graphic research, design and artisanal techniques. A lot of the products made in Edizioni Precarie originate for example from a deep research on paper and the different ways in which paper can be used to re-create something. What matters to Carmela though is not simply to create something which is visually beautiful, but most importantly to create objects that derive from a well-thought process of research on the meaning and content. “Edizioni Precarie is centred around three main concepts: Firstly, the technique and visual aspect of what we produce; secondly, the creative research; and finally, the actual production of this research, therefore the translation of this creates something material”, she explains to us in her laboratory at Edizioni Precarie. One of her first priorities was to avoid being caught by the tourism market in her activity. Edizioni Precarie’s laboratory sits right in the historical city centre of Palermo, which especially in recent years, has become a tourist attraction. She always tries to prioritize quality over commercialization, even when this meant selling less. “Of course these are considerations you need to make when you run an independent business like Edizioni Precarie. What will sell more? Will people prefer this over that? However, I always tried to put quality before quantity, and it wasn’t always easy as it meant I had to take many risks in financial terms” she tells me. Carmela thinks that Edizioni Precarie is contributing to local development in different ways. In her opinion, the existence of an autonomous business, born out of “self-entrepreneurship” can be inspiring especially in a city like Palermo, where rates of unemployment are increasing sharply. “You can show people that you could make a living with your creativity. At least I hope I can do that for the local community. For example, there are many abandoned spaces in Palermo which can be re-used and rethought to promote art”, she says.

In addition, she feels the presence of other local businesses and initiatives were very important for the development and subsistence of Edizioni Precarie. One of the biggest challenges she faces as an entrepreneur in the art sector is time-management. “Since my business is independent, I have to take care of all the components, from bureaucracy, communication, and marketing, to the actual production and creation phase. My collaborators are precious in this sense, but I would benefit from having more time to create and focus on the artistic aspect of my business.”, she explains. Her advice to future women business owners is to try not to panic when a moment of crisis arises. On the contrary and based on her experience, it is especially during a crisis that the most creativity can derive. “The best moment to start something brave and new could actually be a crisis. Don’t panic, don’t stay alone. Harder the period, stronger the solution.”, she says.


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