When I was Young
When I was young, waaaay back in that distant era known now as ‘The 80’s’, people seemed to want nothing but mass-produced, disposable items that could be thrown out and easily replaced when used or we just got tired of them. Remember the Jelly Shoe? All the girls and women were wearing those rubber/plastic cutout shoes that left weird tan lines on your feet (you just think flip flop tan lines are funny).
It also seemed as if everyone had all of the exact same accessories, shoes, clothes, and jewelry (no cellphones back then!). The Gap, Levi’s, and Guess jeans, and a concert tee or Polo shirt. Oh yes! The Parachute Pants! Everyone had them in either red or black, girls and boys. ……swish, swish, swish, up and down the halls in high school…..it’s a miracle nobody caught on fire! LOL
Now Is Different
Nowadays, people. women especially I think, want originality, and a one-of-a-kind appeal. My People! Finally! LOL
But, buying handcrafted is not always inexpensive. It can be, but not always. Why? Here are a few thing to consider when considering what to pay for handcrafted items.
Supplies/Materials – A handmade artisan does not buy supplies and materials in massive quantities like the big producers, we have to pay a bit more for them because of this. At the same time, if you are looking for a particular item in a particular material, you may have no choice but go handcrafted. Got allergies?
Attention To Detail – A mass produced item is only checked for quality every so often when a random number is spit out. Handcrafted artisans are constantly checking for quality and durability throughout the entire process. If it is not right, many of us will start completely over until it is. I can’t tell you the number of times I have made something that in my head looked great, as a real piece, not so much. Disassemble and redesign. LOL
Made With Love – While I’m sure that there are many people in mass production that like, or even love, their jobs, it’s not quite the same for a handcrafted artisan. There is a passion behind each handmade item that is passed on by the craftsman. A good example of this is if you look at machine embroidery versus hand embroidery. The machine is very precise, but it never seems quite right to me. I grew up with hand embroidered items that had been passed down. The time to learn, master, and create handcrafted items can take a lifetime. Like me, some never stop learning.
Customization – When mass produced items have the option to personalize, or customize them, you are pretty much stuck telling a computer what you want, right? When you order from a handcrafted artisan, they know your name and they care, you can speak directly to the artisan to be certain that your wishes are understood. You can also request additional personalizing or additional details. Ever try calling the folks that made something you bought at a box store? Good luck even finding the original company name, much less number.
Uniqueness – Buying handcrafted means each piece is unique. Walk into to any big box store, and you can find shelf after shelf of the exact same item, same color and all. Ugh, how incredibly boring. ‘In a sea of blue, be RED!’ Handcrafted means that no one will have another like yours. And really, how many of us want to see our stuff on someone else at the same time? Isn’t that still a major faux pas? Keep up with the Jones’ thing?
Keeping the Craft Going – When you buy handcrafted, you are supporting a family, not a corporation. A family in a town or city, possibly with children or grandchildren, maybe even near you. In doing so, you are making it possible to pass on the very skills needed to keep the artistry going for another generation. Think about it this way – if all the people that know how to hand knit were to disappear, all we would have left is machines to do it. Ever try to learn how to do something simply by watching a machine (not a computer) do it?
I tried to learn how to hand sew from an old sewing machine when I was a kid – my mother laughed so hard at the results, that she sent me to a very elderly woman down the road to learn how to quilt. That woman was a Godsend and I still think of her often. Thank you Granny.
In essence, buying handcrafted products is absolutely worth every penny! Now, you are thinking that I’m going to say that because it’s what I do. You’re right, I started making my own clothing in high school and continued for years, and my own jewelry by my 30’s, simply because I could not find exactly what I wanted, or couldn’t afford it.
When the Internet got big, I could finally find all those other handcrafted items that I just knew were out there. I was, and still am, thrilled with some of my purchases from handcrafted artisans. People will ask, “Where did you get that? I love it.” and I can tell them “Oh this? I had this made especially for me. Would you like to know who made it?”.
I love to pass on the artisans information because of all the reasons listed above. I hope that people actually go and see the amazing handcrafted items available.
Have a Fabulous Day!
Keep Smiling! They’re Contagious!