We can all agree that Buying Handmade Products is expensive. This is especially true with handcrafted items. But what happens when we choose to understand why these prices are fair? What transformative benefits are there?
We can all agree that buying products made by hand is expensive. This is especially true with handcrafted items. But what happens when we choose to understand why these prices are fair? What transformative benefits are there?
In choosing handmade over mass-produced products, we make positive effects on the environment. We help the seller. The buyer. The economy. And dying traditions.
To know how we create impact, it’s important to first know the difference between buying handmade and handcrafted items for sale.
So, What’s the Difference Between Handmade and Handcrafted Items?
To begin, both terms are widely and interchangeably used. They both mean that a product is made by hand rather than a machine from a factory. But, they also differ in terms of skills required to produce the product. The tools and methods used are also different.
Handmade products are usually assembled by hand but the use of machinery might’ve been involved. To give an example, a jewelry vendor can purchase beads and ear wires (that were produced by machines) and then use them to assemble their earrings.
It is important to note that when something is handmade, it doesn’t necessarily mean that the entire product was made ethically and sustainably.
Some vendors, however, do try to buy locally sourced products and make it their mission to be sustainable.
They do this by using upcycled materials to create products. And in other cases, choose recyclable and compostable materials for their shipments. Of course, each vendor has their own ways to be sustainable, so the buyer should do their research.
Handcrafted items are usually made entirely by hand by a skillful artisan. Traditional tools and traditional methods are often used to craft the product.
For example, a vendor who specializes in traditional weaving will need to know how to use a loom. This is a traditional tool usually made of wood and bamboo. Additionally, the artisan will need experience creating patterns and interlacing threads to form a piece of fabric.
The skills to make handcrafted items are much harder to learn than handmade products.
For new vendors, learning how to make well-known products made in America such as soaps and candles isn’t difficult. It also doesn’t require the maker to get special equipment.
Traditional methods such as glassblowing, woodworking, and basket weaving, on the other hand, are difficult to learn. There aren’t as many resources and it’s hard to find someone that knows the craft. Traditional methods also use raw materials to make their products. This increases the time, labor, and skills it takes to produce an item. It also explains why the value of handcrafted items is often higher than handmade and mass-produced items.
Whether you choose to buy handmade or handcrafted goods, they both lead to positive impacts.
Benefits of Buying Handcrafted and Handmade Products in USA
- It directly supports the maker. When we purchase handmade products, we enable the maker to continue pursuing their passion. We recognize the seller’s story and why they are creating products. In addition, the maker will get paid fairly because the prices are usually set by them.
- It supports our economy. When we buy from local vendors, we strengthen our economy. Not only does the maker get paid, but all the vendors who provided materials will get paid.
- It is more sustainable. When we buy from local vendors, we eliminate the need for international shipping. By choosing to pick up items locally, we eliminate the need for packaging. And when we buy from shops that make only a limited amount of products, we cut waste.
- The buyer gets quality items. Consumers are benefiting by getting products that are one-of-a-kind. Instead of buying and replacing items as we do with mass-produced items, we are buying items that are made to last longer. Items that are customizable to our needs.
- We keep traditions alive. By purchasing handcrafted items, we create demand. We help artisans make a living and thus, allow them to pass down their tradition.
Where to Find Handmade and Handcrafted Items for Sale
- Facebook Marketplace
- Handmade Amazon
- Mindful Market
- Flea Markets
- Art Galleries
- Coffee Shops
- Pop-up Stores
When shopping online, take into consideration that the seller may need to pay additional fees.
Sometimes, online marketplaces will charge for listing and commission fees. This means that the vendor will get charged every time their product is shown and when a purchase is made.
To get around this, you can try to buy directly from the seller’s official website. This way, the seller gets paid fully.
Workshop classes are also a good way to support local artisans.
When you take part, you can create your own handmade product and bring it home. You could also choose to customize it and turn it into a meaningful gift.
Some places to find workshop classes in America are through sites like Eventbrite, Facebook Events, and Groupon. Whether you choose to attend workshops as a fun activity to do with friends and family, or as an independent hobby, we are creating an impact.
By experiencing and learning the craft, we help keep traditions alive.
There are many reasons why we should buy products made by hand in the USA. The economy, environment, seller, buyer, and traditions are all benefiting when we make this choice. When we purchase from handmade and handcrafted vendors, we are helping our planet and the people in it. We are choosing to be a part of the conscious consumer movement.
So, if you would like to join this movement as well, remember to look beyond the price the next time you see a handmade product. Take a moment to learn about the maker’s journey. Learn about how the product was made. In addition, ask yourself, in what ways will my purchase impact the vendor and the environment?
If you know of other resources to help support handmade businesses, please leave a comment! You never know who will find your comment helpful.