If you have been on Facebook, Twitter, or read any blogs lately, you will have noticed a resurgence in the term “Handmade”. The definition of handmade is: made by hand , not by machine, yet you will still find large companies or brands claiming their items are “handmade”- yet they are still mass produced!
When you do a search on Google for “handmade” you will come up with dozens of venues or shops selling “handmade” items. In today’s artist communities “handmade” has a different meaning, it represents attention to detail and quality, not mass produced quotas.
Why the increased interest in “handmade”, you wonder? There are many reasons I can think of:
One of which is the return of women staying home to raise their children and take care of their families. Which, in today’s economy, can be a huge sacrifice to support a family on one income. So the stay -at-home-moms are taking a hobby or craft and turning it into a cottage industry business that they can operate out of their homes. This combined with our rising un-employment rate is a huge driving force for individuals to start their own businesses, and what better way than on the internet and through the social networks. Starting your own cottage industry business, today, is the most cost-effective way to open a new business.
So that covers why there is more to choose from when buying handmade, so lets answer the question WHY buy handmade?
First and foremost is originality! Tired of seeing the same styles, same prints, same designs, store after store? Want something different? Something designed just for you? There are many artists/designers out there that are happy to take your requests for a custom made item designed just for you. As for designing, with hot shows like Project Runway, there are many new designers out there getting their feet wet and experimenting while creating a name for themselves and they do not have a sweatshop working for them- they are true pioneers as they are doing it all themselves!
Then there is one of the most important reasons, to me, to buy handmade and that is QUALITY and PERSONAL SERVICE! The quality of an item is very important to an independant artist or designer, as this gives their name or brand credibility and can make them or break them, so they pay attention to the quality and the details. They give personalized customer service, YOU are important to them, they want and need you to come back and purchase from them again and to tell all your friends.
Recently, I purchased a skirt for myself that I fell in love with because of the shearness of the cotton and the way the layers were left with the raw edges on the outside, it has a very light and flowy feeling, however after one washing (on gentle cycle) and air drying, many of the seams came apart! I was so dissapointed and angry at the amount of money I had spent on this, knowing I could have created one of much better quality. An example of mass produced “handmade” quota met item!
Then the other day, at my daughter’s pleading request, I purchased a pair of popular teen brand pants that, thankfully, were on sale. As I went to launder those, I checked the tag for instructions ( yes – I do read the instructions!) the tag reads:”stud may disassemble when washed”! WHAT??! These pants have cute little square gold studs down the outside of the legs, they are a cotton/spandex blend jean and I knew I wouldn’t want to put them in the dryer. So I washed them on gentle and took them out, sure enouph there were two studs laying at the bottom of the washing machine! I will now have to use some of my heavy duty fabric glue to re-attach them. These were purchased from a very well known brand, but they don’t seem to be concerned about the quality of their clothing, they even sew in tags warning you about the lack of quality! I frequently wonder how these big name brands continue to be so popular, with such lack of concern over the quality and durability of their product. A small independant business cannot operate that way, they have to be concerned over the reputation their product will produce.
Buying “handmade” assures you of more personal service, better design and quality, or at the very least a more direct way to get satisfaction through your feedback.
Buy Handmade and support the independant Artist!!