Anyone who creates or designs their own work, and sells their work independently, is (it seems) automatically geared up for supporting other similar artisans. Since starting PhotoFairytales I’ve been lucky to make some wonderful contacts and friendships with other designer-makers. We all seem to recognise the spirit and passion we have for our work, and feel a desire to support one another.
Most designer-makers, crafters and handmade artists are already buying work from fellow sellers. Now, the question is, how do we get consumers at large to forego the high street and the major player websites this Christmas, and buy from the smaller independent sellers instead?
Getting people to go shopping is not a problem - OK, so sales in retail have been suffering of late thanks to the recession, but ultimately we are still buying gifts for loved ones, and the odd treat for ourselves and our home. Whilst people may find that they need to budget a little more carefully, one thing that they may not be aware of is that buying handmade is a fabulous way of making their spending work. I’m not suggesting that buying handmade is going to be cheaper than buying from the high street - in some cases it isn’t - but it’s often of a similar price, and hey, you’re discovering something amazing that has been made with love and passion (and not thrown together on an assembly line).
So here are my top 5 reasons why you need to change your shopping habits NOW:
- Stop lining the pockets of the big guys - When you make a purchase from a small, independent designer-maker you are supporting an individual. A real person, who has put their soul and passion into that item you’ve purchased. You’re not lining the pockets of a huge corporation, you’re making a real difference to the life of one, single person (or tiny team). You’re helping them to look after their family, and to keep their business alive. Your purchase makes a difference - a HUGE difference! And the best bit of all is that the person you’ve just bought from probably buys their supplies from another small independent business - so the money you spend keeps working and supporting these people.
- Help the UK economy - if you buy something from a UK designer-maker you are directly helping the UK economy. You aren’t a link in the chain unwillingly supporting those factories in China.
- It’s the thought that counts - it’s a cliché, but this is a phrase that comes into its own when you buy handmade. We’ve all done it: walking around the shops aimlessly trying to find “something” for “about £x” for someone. How many times have we picked something up in a shop and thought “that’ll do”? I’ve done it, and I bet you have too! But by changing your shopping habit and channelling your effort into finding something different you automatically unearth not just “something” but a little treasure that is totally unique (and often totally bespoke too - how posh is that?!).
- Stop searching for something “different” - if you often find yourself trying to buy something a little unusual, this is another reason why you need to buy handmade. Designers and creators are passionate about new design - they live and breathe what they do and are always striving to do something new. Handmade artists, crafts people and designers offer unique value: giving you that special feeling that only an item made with passion can create. If you want cutting edge design with soul, something more “next season” than last, you know what you need to do!
- Help the environment - if this is something you feel passionate about, then buying from a small, independent business is a great way of doing it. No huge lorries carrying massive bulk deliveries covered in acres of packaging. No factories. Often no commuting (given that many designer-makers work from their own home)! Buying vintage is also the ultimate way of recycling of course.
So, other than buying from PhotoFairytales (of course!), where else do you shop when you want to discover a gorgeous handmade, independently designed/created item? What great places (online or offline) have you found to unearth treasures?
Do you make, create, or design gorgeousness that you think everyone should buy this Christmas?
Will you pledge to change your habits this Christmas (in which case, why not tweet this post or give it a like on Facebook and tell everyone!)?
Leave a comment or a link and let me know!