The Number One Reason Why We Buy Handmade

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When I sat down at my computer to write this post, I stared at the blank page for almost an hour. Not because I had nothing to say, but because I have so many thoughts on a topic like this, I wanted to choose my words carefully.

The importance of buying handmade is not as cut and dry as it may seem on the surface. Although many people try to fit it neatly into whatever box happens to meet their agenda.

But the fact is… the real reasons why each one of us buys handmade goods is just as complex as the topic itself. There are a lot of layers to peel back. And everyone and their grandma has an opinion on the topic and their own set of reasons, as well they should. And guess what?

Each one of us has our own truth.

Yes, we all have our own reason(s) to support and contribute to this movement in arts and crafts. And it seems like some of us have forgotten that. So the one thing I want you to remember, in this amazing  journey we have all willingly embarked on, is this…

We all buy handmade for different reasons…

1. Some of us feel a sense of camaraderie and community when we purchase something that was made  by another individual.

2. Some of us prefer the quality of handmade goods to cheap, manufactured alternatives, and see buying handmade as a way  of quietly (or perhaps loudly) protesting mass produced goods.

3. Some of us believe in mindful spending: respecting every dollar as an extension of ourselves.

4. Some of us interpret our purchases as a means of support and love for another.

5. Some of us like the originality and authenticity found in handmade goods.

6. Some of us like it “just because”.

7. Some of us follow the eco craft theory (thanks pns reader Amina for sending the link).

8. And some of us believe everything above is true.

But do you want to know the best part about those reason listed above, and even the reasons that aren’t listed?

No one reason is more right or wrong than another.

So although this post is actually called ‘The number one reason why we buy handmade‘, there is no number one reason. That’s right. There is no one, singular, definitive reason to reject the mass market of mediocrity in favor of handmade goods. There are MANY.

And my reason is just as good as yours. Your reason is just as good as mineAnd there is enough room for everyone’s thoughts and opinions.

image above book planter by M JPorter Design

31 comments | Click here to reply

🙂 so true

erin * sparkle & hay | May 10th, 2011 at 9:09 am

My reason to buy handmade is just as good as yours and you’ve summed it up nicely in your final sentences today. That is, to reject the mass market of mediocrity.
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Michele | May 10th, 2011 at 9:10 am

Thanks Michele and Erin for stopping by!

papernstitch | May 10th, 2011 at 9:15 am

Not on the list, and maybe not a #1 reason, but a nice perk: the handwritten notes, little freebies, and unique business cards! So much more fun and personal than a plain old packing list or receipt!

Natalie | May 10th, 2011 at 9:17 am

That’s a great reason Natalie. And a very good point. Those handwritten notes and occasional freebies make us feel more connected to the person(s) on the other side of the “line”. Don’t they?
-Brittni

papernstitch | May 10th, 2011 at 9:31 am

So true lady, so true!
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Jordan | May 10th, 2011 at 12:18 pm

Absolutely! If you support handmade, no matter what your reason, it’s still awesome, helpful, and good for the community.
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thezenofmaking | May 10th, 2011 at 3:17 pm

Exactly Thezenofmaking! Thank you (and Jordan) for stopping by!
-Brittni

papernstitch | May 10th, 2011 at 3:18 pm

Handmade is often a way to express things that are hard to put down in words. It is a wonderful way to connect to the other person, because handmade means something made with love, with the heart and where emotions are involved.

Mesas de dulces | May 10th, 2011 at 5:50 pm

Thank you for submitting a well balanced article.
It is nice to hear someone appreciating others opinions and choices. Choice and opinion are two privileges of the American system which are often over looked and ignored.

Chris | May 10th, 2011 at 7:02 pm

Great thoughts Mesas de dulces and Chris! Thanks for stopping by.

papernstitch | May 10th, 2011 at 9:36 pm

Funny that you’re posting this now, since I was thinking about this topic very recently! Among the several reasons I buy handmade, two of the biggest reasons are these:

I want to support talented people who are passionate, thoughtful of their art, and more often than not have spent years laboring away working a job they hate while doing their true passion on the side. I think it’s important to support the dreams of creative individuals, be it an online shop, building a massive tree fort, sailing around the world (which is the reason I have my shop) or simply the dream of being able to be your own boss. Every penny counts for these handmade sellers – especially those of us trying to pay off expensive school debt while surviving from day to day!

I say this because I speak from my own experience – I support handmade to pay it forward. I hope that this type of love and support will make its way back to my life, will be reflected in sales from people with a similar mindset. People who want to see me succeed, share beauty and inspire.

jamie | sharks keep moving | May 11th, 2011 at 5:11 am

I like that thought Jaime, “supporting the dreams of creative individuals”. Very well said. Thanks for stopping by and adding to the dialogue!
-Brttni

papernstitch | May 11th, 2011 at 11:38 am

Thank you so much for posting this – I can’t agree more. Buying handmade is a very personal process. It’s taking that leap away from what you know and have always know, buying mass-prouced goods. And that’s scary for some people! I would never want to force anyone to buy my products, just because I make them by hand. Education is key, so thanks again for enlightening us. 🙂
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Michelle | GOLD-HEARTED GIRL | May 11th, 2011 at 12:11 pm

You are so right Michelle. It can be scary for some people to make that leap. And I do feel that it is our duty to educate those people and let them know the MANY (not one) reasons to buy handmade goods and support small businesses.
-Brittni

papernstitch | May 11th, 2011 at 1:00 pm

What a fabulous post. I agree with many comments that have been made. I like what Natalie above said–it’s just “fun!” I also appreciate Jamie’s thoughtful comment. I know as a creative entrepreneur myself, I support the handmade community because it supports me. I wholeheartedly believe in the handmade movement and am awe-inspired to be a part of it.

Mai | May 11th, 2011 at 1:35 pm

“I support the handmade community because it supports me” Yep! Another good one Mai!
-Brittni

papernstitch | May 11th, 2011 at 2:34 pm

Great article. I like to support people that have a passion.

Tammy | May 12th, 2011 at 10:11 am

great post today brittni! i really admire your perspective and openness on topics like this.

i think buying handmade items…is pretty comparable to choosing to eat healthier…locally grown…food. yes, it’s more expensive, but the value of owning something handmade and knowing that it’s not massed produced eventually outweighs the cost. same with food. it’s more expensive to eat healthy, but people tend to live happier, healthier lives down the road when they’re not stuffing themselves with fatty foods all the time (but i’m not saying it’s horrific either..cuz i sure as well know that i sometimes can’t resist the craving of a nice and greasy burger), but you get my point. haha..

hope your week is going well!
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linda | May 12th, 2011 at 1:29 pm

Thanks for your thoughtful response Linda. I greatly appreciate your input. You bring up a very good point about relating handmade to food. So true! Eating healthy and/or organic costs more, but what you get in return (the nutrition it provides for your body and mind) well outweighs the price. And handmade is very similar in that way.
-Brittni

papernstitch | May 12th, 2011 at 2:34 pm

I agree with every point you’ve raised about buying handmade. I put my money where my mouth is and support local and international artists I admire. It’s a win-win, you support a talented artist and receive something unique that’s far superior to ubiquitous retail store offerings.

It’s up to you to support the art and handmade products you love.

I could go on and on, I’ll just finish with saying my heart is in handmade 100%.
Vanessa recently posted..Thrifters Around the World- Thrift in Vancouver- Canada with SixBalloons

Vanessa | May 12th, 2011 at 4:06 pm

lovely post and even lovelier comments, i especially liked vanessa’s.”my heart is handmade 100%”so cool..
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maslinda | May 13th, 2011 at 3:52 pm

Buying a handmade craft is like buying directly from the maker. Every handmade craft shares a story. It adds an interest to itself.

ihandmade101 | May 26th, 2011 at 8:59 am

I find in handmade stuff a source of inspiration, and respect to all of these people that made it possible. I started realizing that not so long ago (it’s a pity I didn’t realized it earlier) and now I’m loving it 🙂

Sasa | May 29th, 2011 at 6:54 am

[…] at Papersnitch, there is a great article about why people buy handmade, rather than machine-made, […]

Why do YOU buy handmade? « zenobiasouthcombe | June 1st, 2011 at 5:36 pm

Thanks, Brittni, for doing a post with a topic close to all our hearts!
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Cookie Cutter | June 15th, 2011 at 12:58 am

Continue to encourage creative consciousness and consumer consciousness. This world needs more of both.

ACL Handweaver | June 15th, 2011 at 6:03 am

I was just writing an article about this myself. And even though I haven’t posted mine yet, it will probably echo yours. I have 3 girls I make clothing for, but ironically began sewing at first for my son. I think handmade clothing are absolutely awesome! They showcase the uniqueness and creativity of a person, and no store can rival that!

TailormadeGirl | July 14th, 2011 at 9:50 pm

For me, it’s the originality. You can get things handmade that you would NEVER find in a shop. That’s what really draws me towards it. That an individuality – I know when I’m wearing some handmade clothing and accessories out of the house that I’m likely the only person wearing them, and in some cases, I am the only one that owns them! And if someone does have the same piece, I know where it came from, and I feel a great deal of respect for that person. I carry the business cards of the shops that I got the items from if I’m wearing them out to a social place, just in case! I only hope others may do the same for me!
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Kim Wedlock | March 5th, 2013 at 10:24 am

I stand with “originality.” I keep an eye on a few fashion blogs and can’t help but cringe when I see one publish a “must-have” or “obsessing over” post featuring the object of desire on the wrist or ears or neck of a colleague who made the same post featuring the same item on another colleague who also posted the same of a different colleague. Even if the item is gorgeous in design and presentation, all I can think is “why?” when there are so many unique options in the world.

I have tried, several times, to duplicate a few of my more popular designs, but the joy of creating something special isn’t as exciting when I try to duplicate another piece. Duplicate projects almost always end up sitting for weeks, unfinished, before being torn-down and returned to supply compartments.

We all have heard just be yourself our entire lives. Why wouldn’t that apply that expression to the things we own from art, to furniture, to linens, clothing, jewelry, journals, and even keychains? Handmade gives us the ability to express the uniqueness being the only “me” there is.

Kate | May 2nd, 2014 at 8:52 pm

Great comments. I am so happy to hear that there are people who love handmade items. Living for a purpose it also important. It means that you matter and that you have made a change for that artisan. When you buy handmade it’s like saying a silent thank-you from them to you.

Segundo (@theincabag) | November 17th, 2014 at 10:12 pm
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