Sunday, November 27, 2011

Buy Handmade!

You won’t find me shopping the Black Friday "sales", as I prefer to purchase from an artist or artisan and buy handmade. I am participating in Small Business Saturday however and I’ll be looking for handcrafted goods or service offered locally by small business. While the masses are out pushing, shoving, waiting in line only to be let down when the deals are not really that good, or what they wanted is gone, I am sitting here with my cup of coffee, sweet music playing, talking to you.
Remember to look for gift certificates for services in your community. Not limited to but including car repair, car wash, child care, housekeeping, providing meals, yard work, snow removal, haircuts (at small locally owned beauty shops/barbers) just keep it small, keep it local! If you plan to visit a coffee shop, try out one of the small, independently owned shops rather than one of the large chains.
A lot of folks tend to believe that if you buy handmade you are either paying way too much or not getting good quality while the opposite is actually true.
The sweetest thing about getting something handcrafted is it is almost always unique. For instance, if you buy a piece of jewelry or a hat from me I guarantee you that you will not see another one like it coming down the street towards you unless you purchased it as a gift. The same is true with most handcrafted goods.
Consider these points:
First and foremost you are supporting your economy, a small business, an entrepreneur, or a stay at home mom perhaps.
The quality you get when you buy handmade in most cases far exceeds the "made in China" goods you can buy at big box stores.
It is easier to shop handmade from home and there are a lot of artisans who offer free shipping and gift wrapping, like myself. No gas to waste, parking spaces to hunt for or lines to stand in. Use keywords like "handmade", "handcrafted", "artisan-created" or you can go to Etsy or, Artfire where they have a large community of wonderful creators. You do have to be careful of Etsy. When they first began everything had to be handmade, not so anymore but all you have to do is hit the "handmade button" and it will limit your search to handcrafted items…almost. I do suspect that some of the shops located in the East are mass produced as they will sometimes have a large quantity for sale or when you look in the "sold" section of their shop they have sold 150 of the EXACT same thing. Making 2 handmade identical-in-every-way items is extremely difficult; just keep that in mind.
You can use the "shop local" feature and discover artisans and crafters you never knew existed right in your own back yard!
I hope everyone will support independent artisan, crafters and small business this year and each year forward. Start small if you like. Commit to buying this way for 3 people on your list.
Have some fun, express your individuality and that of your recipient…shop outside the box!

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