Wednesday, June 30, 2010

5 Reasons To Buy Handmade

I often wonder what holds people back from purchasing handmade goods. Is it fear of poor quality? Is it because of budget issues? Is it because they think handmade goods are tacky or lacking in style?

But, I don't need to convince you to buy handmade. If you are here, then we are of the same tribe! We understand the upside of purchasing handmade pieces. So, how do we convert the masses who might be a little more apprehensive?

I've put together a few little nudges you can throw out to friends who might not be on the bandwagon with us. These are just little thoughts to keep in your backpocket until the perfect time arises to drop them into conversations with friends.

1. Handmade pieces are generally pretty unique. They are the kind of things that you can't find in major stores. It's the upcycled dress that turns everyone's head. It's the fabulous, one of a kind piece of jewelry that your friends will covet. It's that avant-guard piece of artwork that you could never have made by yourself in a million years. "Handmade" is head turning, conversation starting and totally hip and cool.

2. Buying handmade directly supports someone who is running their own business and trying to make a "go" of it. They may be struggling. They have probably invested a lot much time and money into their passion. They may have a growing family. Your purchase gets them further along on their path of success. And who doesn't love the feeling of success? How great is it to give that to someone?

3. Buying handmade supports artists on so many levels. If you're an artist, you know that each sale brings you so much for than the monetary benefits. Each sale validates you as an artist and let's you know that you're on the right path. I'm reminded of Sally Field's Academy Award acceptance speech. "You like me! You really like me!" It's an unparalleled rush.

4. Handmade items are usually made with better quality control than things you could buy at the big stores. Yes, sometimes it might be a little more money but the quality is generally going to be something that makes this item last for a long time. I grew up with handmade items and have even passed them on to my children! My kids are playing with handmade toys from 30 years ago. Talk about passing the test of time!

5. The handmade pieces of today are not the handmade pieces from your grandma's time. At a local craft fair you're going to see fewer crocheted toilet paper cozies in the shape of pink poodles and a lot more quirky, humorous screenprinted tees. You'll see fun, fabulous and thoughtful toys for your kids. You'll find a huge variety of eco-friendly homegoods that fit perfectly into your new, green lifestyle.

And you're not just going to see passive Grannies sitting around knitting booties! You're going to mix and mingle with some of the most vibrant and creative minds in the arts industry. These folks are out there, in the trenches, making their dreams come true and making amazing items for people just like you. These are the movers and shakers of our generation!

Just a little side note, I'd die to have the crocheted toilet paper cozy in the shape of a pink poodle that I remember from my grandmother's bathroom about 35 years ago. Also, I've seen some incredibly cool and hip grandma's knitting at craft shows. These gals have it goin' on!

There are so many reasons to buy handmade. As believers, we can take it on ourselves to teach others the benefits of supporting artists and buying quality, awesome, handmade pieces for themselves. It brings nothing but good to all.

So, get out there and get talking! The handmade revolution starts with you!

All photos are from the fabulous Handmade Mart in Silver Spring, MD. Find out more info about their shows here.

*Photo credits - All photos copyright Dots, Lines and Polygons via Flickr

Magnets by Sweet Paperie
Bags by Penelope Parker
Monsters by Charm City Craft Mafia member Cotton Monster
Street Scene at Handmade Mart
Debbie & Kim, Handmade Mart organizers
Soap by 8th Street Soap Kitchen


katie said...

It's tough that handmade goodness is only easily accessible online where you don't get to see and feel a product that costs more than you're maybe used to. You have to consciously go out of your usual way to buy handmade. So let's get more handmade marketplaces going strong in our local communities and rev up the traffic. As consumers become more sensitive to the real meaning of value, we need to teach them where to go to get the good stuff.

Jenny said...

That's a terrific thought, Katie! There are local farmers' markets creeping up in towns all over the US and they are usually pretty open to accepting crafters and artists who feature their local, handmade wares. Gather up some of your crafty friends and take them by storm. The people who shop at farmers' markets are often the perfect customers for handmade, too.

Jen said...

Wonderful reasons to buy handmade! for me, #3 is my favorite reason to buy handmade. If something does cost a bit more, The feeling you get knowing a real person that you may have met, or you can learn a little about on their blog, or their profile on Etsy... It's meaningful. I feel good that I can show my children that as well. It inspires THEM to make things for themselves, it just makes creativity trickle down every which way! And it has to feel good to pay that extra bit of money knowing it went to a real person, rather than some huge corporation.

Jenny said...


As always, your thoughts are right on for me! The trickle down effect of our thinking about quality handmade items is so powerful. My kids love to create and make things right alongside me and they have so much pride in what they make. It's such a beautiful connection that we share.

Also, check out Scoutie Girls's new post about handmade vs. crap.

It's great thinking and right along the lines what we are discussing here. I swear, sometimes I think that Tara and I are channeling the same wavelengths! If nothing else, than she certainly is "of our tribe." We may even have to call her our fearless leader! :)