I believe in supporting small and local businesses. I believe in giving back to my community. I believe in putting more out into the world than I bring in.
Therefore, I think it’s vital that we shop handmade products whenever and wherever possible. But even more than that, there’s just something so personal about shopping handmade. It becomes a communion between the artisan and the consumer, and makes me feel like I am part of the experience. While this is certainly not an exhaustive list, here are my personal top 5 reasons for shopping handmade:
A sense of shared community is probably my number one reason for shopping handmade. As I mentioned above, there is something so intimately personal about the ability to connect with the person who is physically making my product with their own two hands. I know that when a customer reaches out to me directly to ask a question or tell me how much they love my product, I get a sense of pride knowing my idea physically exists out there in the world. The same applies when I shop local craft and art fairs, farmers markets, and small businesses. I gives me the opportunity ask the artisan questions about their products and learn more about how they were made. In this process, I usually discover something new about myself. It sparks my curiosity, imagination, and pushes my boundaries to create something new and original.
Remember the slogan “think global, shop local”? While shopping local is still a great idea, the growth of e-commerce makes it easy to still shop handmade and support small businesses, even if those small businesses are 3 states away. We all know it also helps creates jobs and fuels the economy. What could be better? Plus, there’s the warm and fuzzing feeling of knowing that you just helped put another meal on the table for that family, or helped the artisan purchase more unique and interesting materials to put back into their business.
You just can’t beat the quality. Artisans take pride in what they create and want to make something built to last. They created a pattern, handpicked the material, stitched it together thoughtfully and mindfully one piece at a time. Sure, sometimes handmade items cost a little more than the cheap garment from the mega-retailer, but it’s more likely to last longer. Handmade items truly exist in the realm of “you get what you pay for.”
Handmade items are unique and often one of a kind. There’s something kind of awesome about dressing your baby girl in an adorable boho chic romper and knowing that she’s the only one on the playground rocking it. As an added bonus, artisans are often open to customizing their products. Need a modesty panel sewed into that cute top? Want an extra pocket on that handbag? By communicating directly with the maker of the item, they’re typically willing to help you out. In many cases, the owner is willing to take on fully commissioned projects!
5. Environmentally friendly
Handmade items are almost always environmentally friendly. They’re not made in massive greenhouse gas polluting factories and then shipping around the world using up more energy. Artisans typically use quality materials –often sourced from other artisans- to create their goods, and are conscientious about minimizing waste. Moreover, when you shop a local craft fair, or even online, you can get all of your shopping done in one place saving you time, gas, and parking meter money.
Hopefully my list of reasons to shop handmade have either convinced you to give it a try or strengthened your resolve to keep it up. So whether you’re looking for a personal gift, something special just for you, or even everyday items for your kids, I encourage you to start shopping handmade! And for those that want to start supporting handmade, here are five ways to support a small business - when you don't have any money to spend!