1. Unique Items
When you buy something from a handmade marketplace, chances are you are purchasing something unique. Many handmade items are one-of-a-kind, but even if they’re not, there are only a few in existence so the chance of your neighbor wearing that same piece of jewelry, or your sister sending the same Mother’s Day card are slim. We as a society value rare things, things that cannot be purchased at Walmart. So next time you want to purcahse a gift, or even something for yourself, consider instead visiting your local craft fair, or just going online to see what Etsy has to offer. You’ll be surprised at the cool things you’ll find there.
2. Higher Quality
When I was a little girl, my mother taught me to tell a handmade quilt by the stitching. A machine made quilt would have even, perfect stitches; but a handmade quilt, would have uneven, imperfect stitching. You would think the machine made quilt would be better quality then, wouldn’t you? But those uneven handmade stitches were tight and placed exactly where they needed to be by the hand of an artisan. They held up years, even centuries longer than their perfectly, and mindlessly, stitched counterparts. The difference is that people care, where machines can’t. Handmade products are tested by their makers to make sure they are well-constructed. When an artisan makes an item, their name and reputation is on the line. They are their business, their products are representations of themselves, and most of us only want to show the best of ourselves to the world.
3. Better Customer Service
The term customer service may conjure up memories of automated phone systems, uncaring and unhelpful customer service representatives, hours of wasted time, and a general feeling of frustration. This is not the case when you buy a handmade item from the artist herself. When you buy from a handmade marketplace, you are doing business with a person. There is no middle man or automated system to go through before your problem is solved. Small business owners need your business, but more than that, they want to help you. You are a real person to them and your happiness matters.
4. Made in the USA
Or Canada, or France, or China, but the point is you know where your items are made. More importantly, you know where they’re not made. Handmade items are not made in a sweat shop or factory somewhere by underpaid women and, God forgive us, children. Most handmade products are made by underpaid and overworked individuals, but these people love what they do. They work for themselves, and for you, which makes their products and their lives…better.
5. Supporting a Person, Not Big Business
Did I mention the sweat shops? Mass production works because of its use of unskilled labor. This means that the products are of lesser quality, being made by a machine rather than a skilled artisan. This also means that some poor soul had to work in deplorable, possibly dangerous conditions for little pay in order to bring you that designer handbag. But when you purchase something from a handmade marketplace, you’re supporting an artist and small business owner, and their family. Not helping a CEO build his third golf course. Yuck!
6. Supporting the Arts
Creating handmade objects requires creativity and specialized skills. I don’t know about you, but I have no idea how to make a chair, and I admire those who do. These are in some ways lost arts. Most things are made by machines now and most people have no idea how to make more than a piece of toast. Wouldn’t it be a shame if someday we owned nothing that was crafted by an actual human being? Whether you purchase a handcrafted chair or a homemade bar of soap, when you buy handmade, you are supporting the arts.
What amazing things you’ve purchased from a handmade marketplace? Tell us about it!