When you give a handmade or personalised gift, it says so much: "you're a unique and special person, and so I am giving you a unique and original gift you won't get from anyone else..."
That's what I've got on the home page of my website - and I was prompted to write this piece today following a discussion taking place amongst members of UK Handmade on the Linked In site. The question posed was: "Do you think its important to support local designers and why?"
As a supporter of their "Buy Handmade" Campaign, I feel so strongly about the reasons why it is important to encourage everyone to buy from independent crafters, designers and creators. Why?
When you make a purchase from one of these talented and highly committed people, you are supporting their family and their talent - not a faceless corporation with shareholders and company Directors. You're not funding a new yacht, or another holiday home - you are making a difference to someone's day by buying their work and you are gaining a totally individual and unique item. When you think of the term "handmade" this doesn't mean knitted toilet roll holders or macrame pot hangers by the way - there is an extraordinary amount of British talent out there creating modern, contemporary (and traditional) work that you will love.
Not only that, but you'll probably receive amazing service and customer care too. So many of my own customers comment on the fact that it is me that answers their emails personally and that despite the fact that I'm a small business I look after them too - old fashioned good service is what I'm all about. And I know I'm not alone in this, there are thousands of us out there waiting to make or design something wonderful for you! Plus, you are also supporting the UK economy by buying from independent British designer-makers. It's a win-win!!
So what do you get when you "Buy Handmade"? Something that has been made with love and care, and probably created individually to order just for you. A truly bespoke item! It won't have been assembled on a production line in a factory, and you won't be buying into child labour or exploitation issues. And if you're buying the item as a gift, it will show the recipient how much care and thought you've put into the purchase.
So when you start your Christmas shopping this year, or next time you fancy something new for your home or need to find a great gift for someone - think "buy handmade"!