Monday 17 November 2014

The five reasons I buy handmade.

Regular readers of this blog (or my facebook page) will know that I am a bit of a handmade junkie.

And I get particularly excited about the handmade world at this time of year. I love a bit of gift hunting. Obviously, I could make everyone I know some jewellery, but I think they might just get a little tired of that after a while. So instead I go browsing. Usually online,  from the comfort of my old sofa, with a nice glass of wine in hand.

Labradorite earrings - Becky Pearce Designs

There are so many reasons to buy handmade, especially at Christmas... and here are my top 5!

1 The items are generally much higher quality - each item has been given 100% individual attention, and has been finished and quality checked by a real person. Even the materials are sourced individually. The maker wants their items to last, and takes pride in their quality and longevity - there's not that " how quickly/ cheaply can we make it" mentality. No maker is going to let a substandard piece go out of the studio with their name on it.

2. Each item is individual. There won't be anyone else who has an item exactly like that. And usually there'll be lots of "wow, where did you find that it's perfect" comments flying around.

handmade bag
Messenger bag by Sail

3. Speaking of "perfect" another top reason is that you can often have your item customised or even commission a custom item  That means getting just the right size, colour, material, shape. Most makers are people you can contact directly to discuss getting your item made to your specification.

4. Buying handmade is more ethical and environmentally friendly. Your items won't be made in a wasteful factory and flown half way around the word, with the huge carbon footprint that brings. And you won't find child labour involved. Though my littlest is a very keen helper, given half the chance - hmm.

Handmade items are made with limited waste, and are much more eco friendly. Buying handmade means you support local artists, designers, craft people, makers. You support them, and that helps their local economy, and community. And we all know that supporting and buying local is a good thing. Who needs things shipped over from China, when we have such a fabulous supply of handmade wonderfulness on our doorstep?

Set of 4 stoneware bowls by Stoneware Studio UK

5. As well as that there is that connection you have with the maker, and the item being made. I often post work in progress pictures on my facebook page, which I really love to do, and I also love it when other makers do it. I don't know about you, but I think there is something really amazing about seeing your own items being made.

6. You get more value! You don’t have to pay the person at the till, the supervisor, manager, and the supplier and the designer and the manufacturer, because just one person is all those things! Your items may not be cheaper, but they have have that intrinsic value because of all the above reasons.

Okay, okay, there are six reasons not five. But there are just so many reasons to support handmade that I really couldn't stop at five!

I would encourage everyone to go out and buy handmade this Christmas. Go to a local craft fair, or gallery. Go online at wonderful market places like Folksy and Etsy and have a browse around. There are hundreds of fantastic makers and hundreds of thousands of perfect items - just waiting to be matched up to the lucky recipient.

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