Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Why buy handmade?

So I was wearing a piece of my jewelry at work today and one of our clients asked me where she could find my necklace and was a little disappointed when I told her I made it (but that it or a similar piece was for sale).

And it was then, while we waited for the rest of her party to show for the meeting, that I got to share my views with another unknowing person about the benefits of buying handmade items.

I started off by telling her she could rest assured that she'd be getting an original, more times than not a one-of-a-kind piece that has not been mass produced by machinery. I know most others, like myself, will make certain items that look similar, for say Valentine's Day, but that each item is indeed different whether it be by adding a crystals, silver balls, or shortening or lengthening the item. Occasionally, I will make an identical pattern with different gemstones or crystals, but still, each piece is made with my own two hands and my love of my crafts.

Furthermore, at least in my case, 98% of all of my items can be made to fit, and if not, I can closely recreate a similar piece to custom fit. In most commercial/mass produced pieces, that cannot be done.

With handmade jewelry, the only hype you will get are all of the questions and comments about where you found your wonderful jewelry. The hype that comes with mass production/commercial production is often the brand name which raises prices because of trademark issues. I can keep my prices low because I don't care to brand my products other than by word of mouth or opening my own shop in ten years lol.

All times are uncertain, even the good ones. In this current bad economy, this is the perfect time to go handmade for the very reason I told her above. Most artisians I know, whether jewelry makers, bead makers, painters, etc., we put so much love into our crafts that no matter what, we often underprice our items either because we a) want to or b) have a hard time knowing the true value of our items.

Each handcrafted item takes on a life of its own and has its own character. Personally, I don't find that with commercial/mass produced items, even as different as they can be. I used an example of Webkinz, which is one of my personal addictions. These are adorable stuffed animals that have a virtual world where you play and take care of them. I can pick up ten of the same animal in the store, and really not be drawn to one in particular because they are identical, all cut from the same mold.

With handcrafted items, that is not true, well at least in my opinion. For example, at a recent bazaar there was a man there with 10 pairs of earrings all made with the same stone, same colored crystals, and even though they appeared to be the same from a distance, when I got closer, each one was a slightly different pattern, slightly different length, just enough something different to make it unique.

These are some of the reasons I buy handmade and encourage others to go handmade.

Perhaps these will help you when faced with a similar question down the road if they haven't already been used by you :)