Monday, September 24, 2012

Why Buy Handmade Part 2

Why Buy Handmade Part 2
The selection in the hand crafted scene has grown in leaps and bounds over the last few years. People are
beginning to realize the many advantages of buying from local and national artisans. My first thought when I heard the word "handmade" used to be of my Grandmother’s crocheted toilet paper covers that collected dust in the bathroom, God bless her. Today, "handmade" means SO much more to me and covers so many items and choices. If it can be made by hand, you can almost bet your Christmas fudge on it that you can find it online in a handmade marketplace like Zahoomi. 

In celebration and support of our wonderful artisans, I've listed some of my favorite reasons to buy hand crafted this season (Please add a few of your own to the comments too!) I hope it motivates everyone to consider buying handmade this year when they're thinking of all the gifts they need to buy. It's a win win situation! 

  • Your purchase helps to keep a growing and wonderful industry alive insuring that every year, even more beautiful, unique and quality items are available next year.
  • Hand crafted items don’t usually add to our environmental issues. They are environmentally friendly because they don’t depend on large factories, illegal labor, machines that produce and use tons of pollutants and harsh chemicals. There is a minimum of plastic packaging that will need to be disposed of in most cases as well.  
  • You know you are, in most cases, supporting someone in our own backyard and not an over worked, underpaid and sometimes abused laborer in a factory in another country.
  • Handcrafted items do not usually carry a huge markup. Most likely you will be receiving an amazing, unique item at a comparable if not hugely competitive price of something “similar”, but not as special, from your local department store.
  • Your great taste will be evident to all and you may discover the next hot designer!
  • No hunting for a parking place, fighting the crowds, dealing with overworked sales staff, and high prices for mass produced something you’re not even sure your gift receiver will even like.
  • There’s a slim to none chance that someone else picked the same exact gift.
  • There are many items and ways to add a custom and personal requests to your hand crafted item. You can request certain colors, a name to be added or some other special touch when ordering without paying an exorbitant price.
  • You will have direct contact with the maker. You can’t say that with factory produced products!
  • Hand crafted items create a connection that a mass produced item just can’t. Hand crafted items are made one at a time with care and love and imagination. This magical quality translates itself to us and makes it truly special. Isn’t this what we are really looking for when we shop for gifts for our loved ones?

Personally, I love the look someone gets on their face when they open a gift from me and discover something they know right away was not only chosen with love and care but was made with the same love and care. It’s just an entirely different feeling than watching them open yet another useless kitchen item, or set of hand towels from the huge housewares outlet in town or myriad of other mass-produced products that get gifted and yes, more than I want to know, regifted.
I haven't looked forward to Christmas shopping since I was a kid, if anything, I’ve dreaded it every year.  This year I am looking forward to doing most of my shopping from the comfort of my home, perusing the thousands of beautiful offerings of our local artisans and choosing some very special gifts for my friends and family and having them delivered right to my door! (And truthfully, I hope I receive a few of these wonderful gifts myself!! My secret plan is to keep buying handmade until it catches on with all my friends and then I can guarantee I will find some under my own tree with MY name on them! Yippee!!)
Do you plan to buy handcrafted items this year? How have your ideas of the word “handmade” changed over the last few years? What is your favorite hand crafted item to buy as a gift? What benefits do you enjoy buy when shopping your local and national artisans at fairs and online?
We love hearing your input! Thank you for shopping handmade!

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