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10 Reasons to Buy Handmade for the Holidays

October 08, 2015

Its 2015, and it has become a theme over the past few years to shop small. Walk down to your closest main street, and you’ll see a sign on nearly every window: “Think Big, Shop Small”, which is a campaign started by American Express to help support local small businesses. 

Look past the window, and see a business owner with beautiful smile on their face.  Look past that smile, and see someone who has been working since 4 o’clock this morning just to make rent. 

buy from local artists

Think Big, Shop Small, is not just something to promote a credit card company. Its a revolution to promote the dreamers and the doers. The entrepreneurs and the start ups.  So why buy handmade gifts this year? Here are just the top 10.

1) The Ability to Customize

When a piece of plastic is sent through a conveyer belt, it's just about impossible to add your name, birthdate, or “Thanks Tom!”. Luckily, most handmade products are made in small batches and can be customized to your exact needs. This gives you a totally unique item that you wont see 5 times on every street corner.  (Leather Journals by: In Blue Handmade) In Blue offers customized leather journals with not only a cool print, but a name or date stamp.

2) Personal Relationship with the Artisan

Maybe this is just me, but some of the coolest people I know are artists. Artists tend to have the best and most creative ideas, and usually the coolest stories. I don't know about you, but I have never been close friends with a 3D printer. When working with an artisan, you’re not just working with a machine… you're working with a human. 

3) Stellar Support

When you have a problem with a big corporation, you can always call them. And you will most likely talk to someone in a middle eastern country with broken English named “Bob”. When working directly with an artist, they will do whatever they can to make you satisfied. You mean a lot more to an artist than you do to Target.  (Sterling Earrings Made by: Lizzie Bowersox, Simply Bold Jewelry Designs)

4) Inspiration, Love, and Uniqueness

Which one would your prefer: a necklace that was made with a round black stone, or a necklace with a stone that was picked because its color resembles the sun, and inspired the artist to make something beautiful.  The love and inspiration that goes into every piece in irreplaceable.

5) Jobs - Helping Your Community Thrive

Every time a new machine is created, a job is lost. Machines are cheaper, but at the end of the day, I would rather have a person than a machine working for me. Not to mention that these jobs are in your neighborhood directly helping your state and city’s economy.

6) Have Something to Treasure

In today’s world, its easy to have too much clutter. When you’re cleaning out your house, what are you going to throw away, the BIC pen that you have thousands of, or the handmade wood pen that was given to you by your wife? (Wood pen made in house: Autumn Summer, LLC)

7) Environmental Sustainability

Its time to think bigger than ourselves. Handmade products produce less pollution and use less energy than the machines used in mass produced products. We only have one earth, and its time to start thinking about what we can do to keep it alive.

8) The Highest Quality

This one is pretty obvious, but you’re not going to get the same quality from a machine that you would get from a hand.  Notice that there’s a difference between quality and consistency. A consistent product means that the edges of your pottery will be straight. A quality product means that those edges may be slightly curved, but the mug wont fall apart after 2 uses.  Handmade products are made to last.  (Palm Wax Candles by: By the Bay Botanicals) Do you like Yankee Candle? Michelle at By the Bay Botanicals makes palm wax candles by hand that not only burn longer and cleaner, but are about the same price, if not less! (Not to mention that the scent lasts longer than 20 minutes)

9) We Need Your Help!

Have you ever heard the term “starving artist”? Yeah, it’s a real thing. The world would be a terrible place if there wasn’t art. The walls would be grey, and there wouldn’t be music in the air. Support your local artists to keep them creating what you want to see and hear. 

10) Handmade Gifts Show That You Care

During the holidays and during someone's birthday, its really easy to get caught up in giving a gift just because you "have to." Like spending $100 on your husband because he spends $100 on you. It just isn’t logical.  Do yourself and your gift recipient a favor, and give them a handmade gift. Show them that you care enough to find an artist who has something unique.

Do Some Good in the World

In the end, there will always be machines. There will always be a cheaper and faster way to do something. But at the end of the day, do something that you feel good about.  If you never buy handmade, make it a goal to buy one thing this year. Maybe its for you, a gift for your husband, or a gift for the father of the bride in your wedding. But just up it by one. It doesn’t have to be us. Just support something worth fighting for.

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