Perhaps not everyone feels this way, but when I receive something handmade by someone I feel great. I know that someone made that item just for me, while thinking of me and it warms my heart knowing that I’m in someone’s thoughts while they put the effort into something to make me smile. I feel a huge difference in receiving a handmade gift – even if made by someone other than the gifter – versus a gift bought at a corporate chain store. There’s so much more value and energy in a gift made with passion and care. And for a handmade gift purchased from an artist, there’s a message to the recipient that you have purchased a gift that reflects them and their unique sense of self.
There are many reasons to purchase handmade items and oh my goodness, allow me to count (some of) the ways!
It’s a term that you hear small businesses and entrepreneurs say frequently. Many people don’t realize that supporting local means supporting more than just the artist. Economies can thrive when local businesses are supported! That artist who sells more, will also spend more – and they are also more likely to support local businesses as well. The more they sell, the more supplies they will need to purchase. Those local businesses they shop at will also encourage those businesses owners to support other local businesses and families, who in turn will also add to the local economy. The revenue will stay in the community, in the country and improve the overall economical status nationwide.
This concept also encourages jobs to stay in the community as well. The demand a business has, the more help they require and the more people they will employ. Those people, in turn, are also more likely to spend their income with local business. Everyone wins in this situation.
There are many shops that attempt to replicate the handmade look and feel that are not made with the same quality, energy and skill. They are able to acquire a cheaper mass produced knock off for a lower price, but they are required to purchase a higher number of them. The handmade item is carefully and individually pieced together and each is unique. This makes each one-of-a-kind item special.
Handcrafted items leave less of an environmental impact.
There is less energy expenditure used when products are made by hand versus in a mass production assembly line. Handmade products are shipped directly from the manufacturer to the consumer, as opposed to distribution line from manufacturer – which typically come from overseas – to many distribution centers to stores to consumer. This line of shipping has a large carbon imprint, which makes it more environmentally harmful than direct manufacturer to consumer transitions.
Handmade wares also encourage sustainability
Mass production means bulk buying and this forces the lowering of prices down the line, mainly in the production of raw materials. Wait…. how does this apply as a bonus to the small handmade business?
The bulk purchasing lowers the price of the overall product, but this also forces lowering the price of the raw materials, which lowers the amount that the raw material suppliers make which forces lower wages for overworked employees who have limited options for alternate employment. This has a snowball effect on those countries which have difficulty developing and sustaining their own environments, and difficulty recovering from adverse conditions and events (such as drought, hurricanes, etc). All the while, the corporations that sell the final product reap the benefits of making a large profit without the staff enjoying the same perks.
The wealthier nations, then, subsidize these countries with loans, rescue aid, charitable giving etc and that money comes from the tax payer. It’s a false economy; it’s a profit on a page but not profit in reality because if you had paid the real price in the first place there would be no need to pay up in another way. The longer term effect of making local purchases not only helps the local economy, but also has a global effect.
So when you look at that $1 mug from your local dollar store, it’s not a bargain. It will cost you more in hidden charges than what you initially paid for it.
Buying handmade celebrates our individuality
The handmade industry is entirely about people, not machines. It’s about bringing the natural and learned skills of each maker and the magic of their imagination together in a product of superior quality.
Handmade is a commemoration of our contemporary lives and our living culture – not a mass-imposed, one-size-fits-all consumer culture where everything looks the same and is easily boxed up. Each handmade item is about the time and effort that goes into each piece of work. It’s about the skills, the technical ingenuity, the magic and imagination that lives and survives in each creative mind that wants to share their talent with the world. When you buy a handcrafted item, you are not only complimenting that artist but you are encouraging them to continue making more.
Buying handmade keeps craft skills alive
This ties into the above note where we encourage makers to keep making. The skills and talents of makers are becoming fewer and far between as people work for manufacturing plants and in corporate offices in order to survive, with the handcrafted skills being used as side jobs and projects. There are many courses and training resources for less labour-intensive and material-rich skills, but the skills-based training has been reduced. This also marks a sad decline – even a loss – of our cultural identity. Purchasing handmade not only encourages more handmade products to be produced, but it also encourages education for these skills to be passed on and fine tuned, therefore keeping the skill alive and thriving.
Keeping the skills based industry alive and well is a powerful tool in the event that the machines stop running, which would be extremely detrimental to our economy. It’s easier to keep something alive and thriving than to reinvent it later.
Handcrafted Products Can Meet Your Needs Better
Handmade goods can often come with that special flair or request that you can’t purchase at a box store. Most artisans are willing to work with their clients in order to give them a unique service or product that will be loved by the recipient as much as the artist loved creating it!
This also ties in to the fact that many people love “unique” products. Knowing that they have a special, one of a kind item makes that item even more treasured! One of the best qualities of a handmade item is that there are fewer of that individual item, which often translates to our individual unique qualities!
When the handcrafted industry is supported, everyone wins!