Hi fellow crafters. Sam from Hey Cherry here, with a few thoughts about the I Heart Handmade pledge. I was chatting to a friend about this campaign a few days ago, and he said something that got me thinking. What he said was 'Yes, it's all very nice to support local crafters, but what if the stuff they make is kak?' And that's a good point.
Now, I've watched a lot of crafters evolve over the last couple of years of I Heart Market (including ourselves) and the products have got better and better. That's kind of different though. Those products were made with care to start with, it's just that their makers have learned and grown and developed great new ideas. I have also seen, at various markets and shops, handmade goods that are slapdash. It's true, just because something is handmade does not mean it's well made.
Thinking about this led me to this interesting article. The gist of it is that you have to think of handmade goods as a product like other products, in competition with both the factory-made goods and the work of other crafters. And, as a maker of handmade, you have to put care into your product, into its packaging and into how it's presented. Here's a line that is very important:
Handmade can’t compete on price, nor can it compete on a moral high ground, but handmade can compete on the way it is uniquely designed for real people.
At the end of the day, as much as we can jump on a high horse about the economics of manufacturing and the morals of production, the true beauty of handmade lies in the real person standing at that stall sharing with you the story of how they created this unique and lovely thing.
When you buy handmade this season, remember that the person you are buying it from made it, especially for you (even if they've never met you before, it really is specially for you). They sat up late at night cutting and sewing and welding and glueing and taping and packing and labelling. They're there, right in front of you. That's a gift in itself.