Handmade or mass-produced??

Evening everyone!

I hope you are all keeping well!

I'm not quite sure where the subject for this post came from, but I think it's something that I've been thinking about for a while, and I'm sure it will come up in future posts!

I look around me, and all I see, every day, is mass-manufactured goods. Saturation. Everywhere you look there is a product or company desperate to get your attention - and ultimately for you to buy from them. Everywhere you look there's a special offer, or discount. Every day I get tonnes of junk mail through my letter box, all of it trying to get my attention (although it doesn't work - it goes straight in the shredder lol!).

So how can a crafter or small business compete with this level of market-domination? I feel jewellery in particular is a very difficult market to be in...these days, you can pick up perfectly nice costume jewellery from the local supermarket...and for a very reasonable price. You can pick up a cute necklace along with your cabbage, which is extremely convenient for the consumer who is looking for a quick fix or a last-minute gift for a friend.

So what are the differences between choosing handmade over mass-produced? I think that there are definitely advantages for buying handmade goods...in particular, there's something very satisfying knowing that you are buying from a 'person', instead of a 'corporation'. Does that necklace purchase you made from Costco (over here it's Asda!) mean anything to Mr Costco? No....well at least not on a personal level (although you may have made a tiny contribution to the end of year figures). When you buy off a crafter, or home-based designer, you know that that piece has been made with passion and love. When someone buys a piece of my jewellery, it gives me a huge sense of achievement, and pride. So when you buy handmade, you are not only buying a beautiful, one-of-a-kind item, but you are also making someone feel great about themselves.

I also find buying handmade is a much more pleasant experience. You often find when you buy handmade items that the package comes beautifully wrapped, which is all part of the overall feeling of the purchase...the seller wants you to enjoy opening their item, and wants you to get much enjoyment from it. Great time and care are taken on the sellers' part to ensure that the buyer has the best possible experience - probably not something you find if you bought a book from Amazon, for example.

Of course there are advantages in buying mass-produced items - probably the most notable is the cost. You probably could buy a similar item that is mass-produced to one that is handmade, and it would cost you less, but the overall experience you pay would be reflected in the price. I guess it's like in the supermarkets - I could go and buy my meat from the local superstore for a fraction of the price I'd pay for the same cut of meat in my local butchers...but I wouldn't be supporting my local community and getting a first-class service from a family-run business....

I think this subject is so interesting - and one that affects me directly. With jewellery so readily available and so very cheap, it's quite hard to ensure that you stand out above the competition. It's so great to see places like Etsy where handmade goods can be easily promoted and sold...I think it keeps the world more interesting. Who wants run-of-the-mill, when they can have unique?

Phew that was quite a long post for me! Thanks for reading guys...!

Cerries xxx
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2 Response to "Handmade or mass-produced??"

  1. HeritageKnitting says:
    23 March 2011 at 19:16

    Great post!! I love buying handmade but there are things that I just can't/wont buy handmade. Clothing is one of them. I simply will not buy a shirt on etsy for $120 when I can get a similar one at Forever21 for $10. Diamond jewelry is another one that I wont buy handmade/online. But there are a lot of things I'll actually pay more for in order to get it handmade. And even on Etsy, if I see a seller that has made over 7,000 sales...I usually go find a newer shop with less sales.

    I wish you the best of luck with your new Etsy shop!


  2. Carabijoux says:
    24 March 2011 at 00:56

    Hi Maria!

    Thank you for your comment :)

    Absolutely agree with you - there are lots of things I wouldn't buy handmade. Clothes too are one for me. I am still relatively new to the world of handmade (as a buyer) and there are some things I didn't even know you could buy handmade! You made a good point too about price - there are some things I have found that are handmade that I would like to buy, but I find them more expensive than what I can pick up in the local shops. I saw a handmade lip balm on Etsy this morning, and I loved the look of it and the idea of buying a handmade lip balm. But with P&P it came to over £6 (not sure what this is in $!), when I can pick up a tin of Vaseline for 99p. Had I a little more money to spend on this kind of thing I probably would have bought it, but when money is tight it seems like an extravagant buy!
    It's an interesting topic I hope to keep re-visiting...:0)

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