When hearing the term "handmade" I used to think of my grandmother’s crocheted toilet pa
per covers that collected dust in the bathroom or of strips of stretchy cloth woven into potholders in horrible color combinations. Today, handmade means so much more. As the owner and designer at Nadine's Bead Alchemy and as a customer of local and online artisans I have developed a deep appreciation for all of the work, commitment, talent, skill, and dedication that goes into hand-crafted creations. Below I have put together 10 reasons I shop hand crafted items and why you may want to consider buying from a local or online artisan this holiday season:
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.
Most items use less plastic packaging and so there is less that will need to be disposed of. Often, the packaging from artisans can be repurposed for use later.
You know you are, in most cases, supporting someone in our own backyard and not an overworked, 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.
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. The look on someone’s face when they open something so obviously unique and chosen with care.
There are often many items and ways to add 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!
Artisan items create a connection that a mass-produced item just can’t. These creations 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?
Your know your hard-earned money is going directly into a creator’s pocket and their quality of life. You are helping kids go to college, bills to get paid and dreams to become reality. When you buy mass-produced items, only pennies make it to the people who do most of the work to create and provide those items to the public.
Your purchases help to keep a growing and wonderful industry alive ensuring that every year, even more beautiful, unique and quality items are available next year.
This year I am looking forward to doing most of my shopping from the comfort of my home, perusing thousands of beautiful offerings of our local (and farther) artisans, and choosing some very special gifts for my friends and family that will be delivered right to my door (or even my loved ones' door if they live far away!). Don't tell anyone but my secret plan is to keep buying handmade until it catches on with all my friends and then I will find some beautiful handcrafted gifts under my own tree with MY name on them *wink wink*.
Do you plan to buy handcrafted items this year? Has your idea of the word “handmade” changed over the last few years? If you already shop local and national artisan wares, what is your favorite hand-crafted item to buy as a gift? Let me know, I’d love to hear your answers!
Happy holidays to all!
Owner and Designer
Nadine's Bead Alchemy