By Isabella @TheWandCarver
With the holidays coming ever nearer and everyone thinking of their loved ones and what gifts they can choose for them which will really please them, I would like to bring to the spotlight the small business handmade seller. This is all about every handmade seller, not only the ones I know from Twitter and Etsy and other parts. And, although I was only able to speak to a few, what I’ve learned is, they work hard but with deep care. It isn’t about putting some earrings together and saying, “I made those”. It isn’t about making a box pretty or knitting up a hat or crocheting a toy. It’s about a great deal of thought, planning, design, work – and love. It’s about thinking of how a customer might use their product… how will they get the best use out that product? Will my product stand up to the use it may be put through? Will they be happy to buy more of my product? Will their faces light up when they open our product? Our first concern in making handmade items to sell is: make it so it lasts. Of all the handmade sellers I know, their products will stand the test of time. For example, my eldest daughter has a lovely hat from Jacquelyn @clickclackknits that, after nearly 2 years, it looks as wonderful as the day she received it. And, another daughter has a handmade Memory Box by Liss @sistersofmoon; it has withstood two hurricanes, so you know it’s good 😊
Some may not realise just how much time is involved in what we do. I think the consensus amongst us is – we can’t dare charge for time. Honestly…if I charged for time, in addition to materials, plus a modest mark-up, I would never sell. Many of us – I know that Jacquelyn, Tanya, and Berit design many of their own patterns – design our makes from scratch. And, we also make bespoke, special order items from time to time which requires lengthy interaction with our customers…as in when I ordered my daughter’s Morrigan box from Liss. I felt when I paid her that I was stealing the box! All the time she put into design, drawings, photos…I paid a pittance compared to the hours of work she did.
But, that said, if you still feel you must pay too much for handmade, I beg you to think again. Yes, you can buy “off the rack” and get a nice machine-made item, probably free of flaws and tidy. But you’re not buying an item with character…soul, if you will. When you buy handmade, you are buying a piece of us…but more importantly, you are buying something that is uniquely yours. One just like it won’t pop up on your best friend’s head or in her house on a table. Or on her altar 😊 It is yours, a one-off, a piece of art…history, even.
When you buy from a handmade small business, you open the door to new apprenticeships being created. Of course, small businesses can’t always pay as much as the larger companies but can often afford to hire teens for a few hours after school or on weekends and teach them a trade. Perhaps they won’t make much money, but they will learn valuable skills which will help them in future as well as a little pocket money to help them along. And, who knows? Maybe as the small business grows these teens can be hired on as permanent employees. The possibilities are endless when you give small handmade businesses your custom.
The small handmade business owner often depends upon his or her sales to, at the very least, add to the family income. In some cases, it is their sole means of income. But one thing is for certain – a great deal of love is always inside of every item they create:
That said, I think The Beatles were wrong…just a little – money can buy you love! For, each and every time you open a box full of a handmade seller’s unique products you will find you have bought love. Our love to you!
Many thanks for reading and warmest blessings x