We go back and forth at our house (it's a dinner topic oft revisited) between believing that Etsy is the greatest thing that ever happened, and thinking that Etsy is the evil empire and is making it a little harder every day to be in the handmade business.
When it comes to killing time or spending money, you can't beat it. The amount of great eye candy and the ready availability of almost anything you can think of makes Etsy an excellent gateway drug to lure people to the land of "made by hand."
But! . . . Never before have people been able to buy so much great stuff, and at such a cheap price! Sure, people want the hand-knit scarf, but they have come to expect to be able to have it for $15.00.
Hannah and I were just having this conversation yet again --
and despite her eloquent tirade against Etsy, the next day she reported another sale with a big smile.
Always I come back to the conclusion that anything that helps people to make the connection between goods-and-maker benefits all of us.
I remembered this list I came up with for a post on the TAFA blog awhile back.
I'm standing by it.
You don't have to think
very hard at all
to come up with 15 good reasons
to buy handmade:
1. You're helping the economy. Most craftspeople are small business owners who can really use your support. And if you buy at a local show, you're keeping the money close to home.
2. It's good for the environment. Many hand-produced goods are made using green methods and/or materials. And there's no impact from fuel burned in shipping long distances.
3. There's a human connection. The kind you won't find at Walmart. It's a very different feeling when you pick up something that was made with care by a pair of human hands.
4. The item tells a story. Either in the item itself or in the hands that created it, there's often more than meets the eye.
5. It's personal. An item that you've picked specifically for someone, or had created just for them, is a more intimate gift than a gift card can ever be.
6. It's unique. No two hand-crafted items can ever be exactly alike. That's the point of handmade!
7. It can be inspiring. Seeing a well-crafted object might inspire you to look at your own scrap bag/wood pile/free time in new and exciting ways.
8. You're helping someone else. Buying handmade gives an artist the opportunity to continue doing the work they love, and helps them make a living using their skills.
9. You spread the word. Buying and giving handmade is a great way to spread the gospel of hand-crafted.
10. There's a potential heirloom. When you commission a piece to commemorate a specific occasion, a handmade item will carry the story you want to tell down through the generations.
11. It's interesting. In addition to enjoying your hand-crafted object, there's always plenty to learn about the person who made it, and the materials and techniques that were used in its creation.
12. It's fun. Shopping at craft fairs or browsing online is a great way to fill your hours with eye candy.
13. Your item is well-crafted. The kinds of people who create beautiful objects are the kinds of people who derive joy from the process. Your item is likely to be made to last.
14. It'll give you a good feeling. For all the reasons listed above and many more, you'll feel good when you buy and give handmade. It's the right thing to do.
15. It's easy! Etsy makes it easy to find thousands of hand-crafted items from the comfort of your own home. Never before in history has there been such easy access to all-things-handmade . . . (And if you're looking for something a bit more upscale, the ACC is chock-full o' artists who will be happy to help you, online or at a show!)
What are you waiting for?!
For instance -- time to get busy on that Christmas list yet?
Ouch! I said the word! Sorry about that.I promise not to say it again until it's time for me to offer specific complaints about my to-do list. Which judging by the Christmas stuff I saw at Target this week, could be soon. I will not feel guilty before Halloween...I will not feel guilty before Halloween...I will not feel guilty before Halloween... Hmmm. It appears the big box stores may be much more evil than Etsy.