So, what’s all this fuss? Why is everyone all worked up over handmade these days? Why should you care?
If you love going to the craft shows and seeing all the unique handmade treasures, you have probably noticed more and more manufactured items being offered. Some shows have stopped being craft shows all together. Artisans and crafters do the shows to offer their creations to the public at reasonable prices. We can’t afford to have a full time shop with staff for a hobby. We can afford to rent a space or table and spend time getting to know the public.
Handmade means someone (a human) created the design and had a direct hand in completing it. With my items, I do all of the stitching myself. I do some of the design work as well. I do all of the finishing. My husband does help with the photography. But, I do 90% of the process by myself. It is handmade. Where it stops being handmade is if I engage a factory to mass-produce my designs and represent them as being my own work. Or farm them out to a village of needleworkers and pay them pennies per item. If my husband creates furniture, it is his hands at the machines, his hands applying the coats of finish and not some employee or subcontractor in a factory somewhere else.
The internet has been a blessing for so many creative people. For many years, the only option to us was to list our goods on eBay and hope someone bid on them. The listing fees were reasonable and payment could be made through PayPal. It was better than nothing, but not much. We could also build our own site and then hope that someone found us.
Enter the marketplace sites. The biggest and best known is Etsy. Why? It focused on handmade items as well as allowing vintage goods and craft supplies. You could find all kinds of wonderful items there, most of it with that unique flavor. I have a shop on there for my finished magnets and ornaments and I help with another shop that sells stitching supplies.
At the beginning of October 2013, Etsy rocked our world and announced they would start accepting manufactured goods. Yep. This now means that people like me can go out and hire others to do the work for me and still call it handmade. Really? They are now allowing us to apply for approval. The very first one approved doesn’t make his bags at all – a factory in a different state does. Should he be competing with all of the sellers who do create fantastic bags by themselves in the same marketplace? I don’t think so. His items are nice… but they are now mass produced. You are not getting a one of a kind item. You are getting a quality item from a small business.
So, one very clever, driven lady decided to do something positive about this. Stacey Sobelman of SMARTdesigns by Stacey created the logo you see above and put the word out to other pure handcrafted sellers. In just two short weeks, over 400 have joined her team from all over the world. We proudly display her graphic to help visitors find the unique, one of a kind items they have come to expect from Etsy. If you see a shop using this graphic, it means they make everything they sell. It makes shopping for handmade even easier!!