Note: The following was written by OKetsy member StoryBuilderToys. Check out her blog over at www.storybuildertoys.com
With the holiday shopping season fast approaching (most retailers already have their Christmas items on the shelves) it’s time to start planning your holiday shopping lists. This year, why not be adventurous and try buying some handmade products for the ones you love? Why should you buy handmade instead of the usual store bought products you’re used to, well I’m glad you asked. Here are ten reasons why I think you should shop handmade for the holidays.
- Be original. Handmade products are usually one of a kind or produced in small batches so you don’t have to worry about gifting something the person already has or giving the same gift as someone else. Instead you’ll be able to find something just as unique as the person you’re shopping for and nothing brings a smile to someone’s face better than knowing you really cared enough to find them the perfect gift.
- Support people, not companies. By giving your business to local artists and crafters you’re helping build a better economy without lining the pockets of overpriced corporations who’s only interest is the bottom line. People care about each other, companies care about themselves and getting as much of your hard earned money as possible. A crafter will appreciate your business while a corporation demands it. The choice seems pretty clear.
- It’s more environmentally friendly. Handmade items are usually made from natural raw materials with much less waste and machine emissions than mass produced items. If your goal is to leave a smaller carbon footprint on the planet that you can’t go wrong with locally produced handmade items.
- Build a personal connection with the person making your items. Craftspeople love what they do and not only does it show in their work, but also in their attention to customer service. Have a question about how something is made or what inspired it? Ask away and the crafter will be thrilled to tell you all about it. Handmade items have a story and a history that mass produced products will never have.
- Avoid shopping at the mall. Holiday shopping can be pretty crazy and sometimes even dangerous as the days tick by. Why not save yourself the trouble of finding a parking space and braving the overcrowded big box stores by shopping local boutiques, craft fairs or even online handmade outlets like Etsy. Finding the perfect gift for a loved one should be fun, not frantic.
- Get it customized. Since the items are made by real people you can often ask for little extras like customization or even fully commissioned work to your exact specifications rather than having to settle for whatever the store has in stock.
- Handmade products are made with passion. Crafters pour their time, talent and passion into everything they make. Store bought items might all be the same size and specifications, but they will never have the heart or soul that a good handmade product is made with.
- Quality counts. Because even the raw materials are individually selected by hand more effort is put into the quality of each individual piece. Crafters want each and every product they make to be of the very best quality as a testament to their work They don’t take mass produced shortcuts or shortchange the customer by using lower quality materials, just the best material carefully crafted into the best possible product.
- More unique choices. An individual making a handfull of something is able to be more adventurous than a corporation which must sell ‘x’ amount of a product to be able to turn a profit. This means that handmade products can afford to be more unique and creative than store bought products.
- More value for your money. Handmade items are made to last. While mass produced items must be made quickly for as little money as possible handmade products are made from only the best materials and techniques. Corporations don’t mind if their products break down over time, then you’ll just have to buy another one. A well cared for handmade product on the other hand can last generations. Perhaps that is the reason people are still crafting by hand today even with all the advancements in technology trying to render them obsolete.
Bonus Point! Know where your gifts come from. There is something empowering about taking control and making something yourself, or at least supporting someone who does. It’s making a conscious decision to spend your money on a quality item instead of a mass produced product built by machines and underpaid workers in a distant country. Show support to your local economy and buy from artists and crafters in your area this holiday season.