We live in a world where many things are mass produced. Not that there is anything necessarily wrong with that. It’s great that some things are manufactured in massive quantities in order to fill a worldwide demand for them.
But it’s also wonderful that more people everywhere are beginning to embrace things that are made by hand in small quantities. In case you hadn’t heard, here is why handmade matters.
1. It’s Human Nature to Value the Creative Spirit
“Art and love are the same thing: It’s the process of seeing yourself in things that are not you.” – Chuck Klosterman
When you make something, you leave a part of yourself in it. When you are finished creating, you take pride in the work partly because you see yourself in it. When you buy something someone else made, you yourself are reflected in that purchase. Whether it’s the color, the texture, the shape, or just the mood you happen to be in, an item that has been crafted as an expression of the creative spirit person who made it is treasured and valued far beyond an item that was made for worldly mass consumption.
2. Handmade Items are Crafted in an Environment of Joy, Honor, and Respect
Have you ever studied the work space of a person who creates for a living? Their creations are almost always made in a space of joy, honor, and respect. Those same values somehow find their way into the very fiber of a handmade item. For example, consider that every inch of the yarn that forms a hand knit garment once flowed through the fingers of the Maker who knit the garment with intention and purpose. Who wouldn’t take extra special care of such an item.
3. A Handmade Item Cannot be Duplicated
No two handmade items are exactly alike. Variations in color, shading, texture, shape and grain are inherent in a handmade item. No two items are alike, so that every single one is one-of-a-kind. This means that every handmade item you purchase is also one-of-a-kind. What’s not to like about that?
4. Everything is More Beautiful When it is Made with a Heart
You can serve your guests a frozen, mass produced pound cake or you can treat them to the one your mom made. The frozen one will do in a pinch, but only the one your mom made will touch the very heart of every one of your guests. A consumer shift is happening. A movement if you will. More and more, people are willing to be educated about the value of a item that is made by hand. People are starting to dream about things that don’t exist, but should, and then making them come to life.
5. HANDCRAFTED PRODUCTS ARE GREEN
Work done by hand takes less energy than a mass production assembly line, which makes it more environmentally sustainable. This is particularly true if the commercial good is produced overseas and needs to be shipped a very long distance to reach the consumer.
6. HANDCRAFTED PRODUCTS ARE GOOD FOR THE JOB MARKET
Another reason you should feel good about spending your money on hand-crafted products? Doing so creates jobs. One study found that shifting just 10 percent of consumer spending in a particular area to locally owned businesses would create hundreds of new jobs and millions of dollars in local wages.
7. HANDCRAFTED PRODUCTS ARE WORTH MORE
A number of experiments have shown that people value an object more highly when they are led to believe it contains an “air of authenticity,” for example, if they were told it was a work of art. This means that artisan products, be they jewelry or jam, are perceived to have more value in society.
8. HANDCRAFTED PRODUCTS ARE ALSO JUST BETTER
It’s not just an amorphous air of authenticity that causes people to shell out more for handcrafted products. Handcrafted goods are often just better. A study of coffee found that 47 percent of respondents said it tastes better when prepared by hand compared to just 11 percent who are happy to settle for machine-produced drinks.
9. HANDCRAFTED PRODUCTS HELP COMMUNITIES
Studies have shown that locally owned independent businesses —many of which sell wares produced by hand— return a higher percentage of their revenue to their communities than chains. That means the people who make money off sales at independent businesses, owners and employees, are more likely to spend their salary at places in the same area where they work.
10. HANDCRAFTED PRODUCTS CAN MEET YOUR NEEDS BETTER
Often with handmade goods, you have the option of customizing your purchase. Because you’re often dealing directly with the artisans when you purchase handcrafted products, they might be open to tweaking certain aspects of the product specifically to fit your needs.
11. HANDCRAFTED PRODUCTS OFFER A FULLER EXPERIENCE
A study researching cheeses in Vermont found that consumers prefer buying “artisan” cheese because they feel it provides a fuller “sensory experience.” This is a factor of both intrinsic properties, like better taste, and extrinsic properties, like the joy of finding something you really love. Even just the knowledge that a product was handcrafted contributed to the feeling of a better experience because there is a relatable, knowable back-story.
12. HANDCRAFTED PRODUCTS SUPPORT A TRADITION OF SKILLED WORK
We’ve seen that supporting your local artisan is good for the community, but it’s also good for the art. As technology makes it possible to replace skilled workers with machines it’s important to keep hand-making goods a financially feasible career choice.
That’s why handmade products matters even in our modern, highly technological society today! Do you have skillful hands to make beautiful craft? Would you see yourself crafting your career in this area?