I’m delighted to introduce Beverly Rustica who will be writing an occasional column here called “Why Handmade.” Beverly is all over the internet, including BeachyRustica, EtsyPatrons, and ByHand.me. Leave her questions in the comments if you have anything you want answered about purchasing handmade goods. She’ll be happy to share her wealth of wisdom with you :)
There has been a significant amount of discussion around the virtual water cooler lately focusing on how we as consumers choose to spend. When faced with making a needed purchase, we often look first to value. But given the opportunity, many of us would prefer to see our purchases do more than just provide something we need or want. We’d like our purchases to have a positive impact on our lives, and the lives of others.
There are many ways to accomplish this. Some of us purchase organic products for the good of the planet, or buy locally in an effort to positively impact our local economy. Some of us reject plastic packaging, or avoid purchasing items from countries with poor records of treating workers fairly. But one thing is certain in today’s economic environment… how you spend does matter.
I’d like to make the case for buying handmade. Choosing to buy handmade goods on a regular basis is a great way to obtain an excellent item at a fair price, and to have a significant impact on the lives of others at the same time. Handmade work often offers superb value; if you’re looking for the best quality product, nothing can beat work that’s been carefully crafted, one piece at a time, by a skilled artisan. In many cases customized touches are available to handmade work that make that item unique to you, often at nominal extra cost.
Many of the shops you’ll find selling handmade goods at various venues across the web are one or two person businesses that will bend over backwards to make sure you’re satisfied. If you need something special, they’re usually happy to accommodate. Want a handwritten note included with a gift purchase? Most are delighted to include one.
In addition, when you purchase a handmade item, you can be sure that your purchase matters to the artist or craftsman from whom you’ve chosen to buy. You’re not just a number, you’re someone who is helping that artisan make a living. It’s not just a purchase. It’s personal. And more often than not, those who sell handmade also buy handmade, using the funds you provide to enhance the lives, work, and well-being of other artisans.
So if you like the idea of buying handmade goods, please check back often. In this space I’ll cover navigating the online world of handmade from a buyer’s perspective. I hope to help you find and purchase handmade items on a regular basis, get the products you need and want, and have a positive impact on the lives of others at the same time.