Buying Handmade Creates Community
Buying Handmade Supports Community -
I made this faux bois stone necklace with stones from a fellow artisan in Idaho.
She’s a fellow bunny lover, what a small handmade world!
When you support the handmade movement by buying interesting handmade crafts, clothing and art, you’re not simply “buying a thing” you’re helping to create and define a new grassroots global community! We all need a certain measure of possessions to go about living our lives and when you buy consciously and with purpose by supporting amazing craftspeople, then you’re joining a vibrant community with the collective mission of living in a way that’s more meaningful and fulfilling than the dominant big-box culture.
5 Ways That Buying Handmade Creates Community:
- When you buy something handmade, you get to interact directly with the seller. I’ve had real, lasting friendships start with a customer’s purchase!
- Most handmade artisans also buy handmade. By supporting even one artisan with one purchase, you’re helping to support a community of people who buy from and support each other.
- Handmade artisans network with other handmade artisans. Since handmade artisans are working independently, often the only employees of their businesses, the online community of artisans is a vital part of their working days. Imagine what it would be like to work alone every day with no co-workers. Online artisan communities are a place for handmade crafters to find friends, colleagues, advice and inspiration.
- The customer service that accompanies a handmade purchase is personal and meaningful. If you’ve ever had a bad customer service experience, then you know what I’m talking about. They don’t answer your question, they’re hard to get a hold of, they don’t know what they’re talking about. The experience of buying from a handmade artisan is a world apart from the experience of buying from a big-box store or a mega online retailer. I can’t guarantee that EVERY handmade purchase will be perfect and that EVERY dealing with a handmade artisan will be to your liking. But it’s almost certain to be more personal and more real which generally means that you’ll be treated with the respect and courtesy that a generation ago was commonplace in the small mom and pop stores that dotted our nation. That personal level of interaction comes from the knowledge that the person you’re dealing with is a member of your community, that what they think about you matters not only to your business but to you personally because they become more real for you and you for them.
- Handmade artisans promote their online shops using social networks. So when you buy handmade, you’re supporting a way of marketing that is more authentic and that’s about creating relationships. Not every handmade artisan has quite gotten the hang of how to use social networks yet, but the ones that do are at the hub of a community-building phenomenon. Marketing through social networks is a breath of fresh air compared to the old way of advertising (commercials, billboards, newspaper ads, etc). Marketing on a social network may as well be called “not-marketing” because what it’s really about is forming relationships and being a part of a community and trusting that, as a part of that community, when a fellow community member has a need for your product, they’ll think of you first. Back to the analogy of the mom and pop stores: If you know and relate to the pharmacist downtown (his kids go to school with your nephew) then you’ll go there to fill your prescription, not to the pharmacy in the next town over, because you care about that pharmacist and buying from him strengthens and reaffirms your community bond. When handmade artisans and their potential customers are separated by hundreds or thousands of miles, the way for the two to become community members is through social networks. Sure, a customer may search for “natural stone jewelry” and find the shop of an amazing handmade artisan, but the way for both buyer and seller to have a more meaningful and fulfilling transaction is by connecting with each other on a social network.
With big-box culture taking over our society, and people connecting less and less with the physical community around them, the handmade movement is, through the internet, providing us all with a way to regain that old-fashioned sense of community while retaining our modern preference for an infinite variety of choices. (In fact, buying handmade provides us with a lot more variety than we can get our hands on in the world of big-box department stores!)
Thanks for stopping by and becoming a part of my community! If you’re interested in connecting more with me, these are my favorite social networks to build community through:
I love to chat, so don’t be shy! Until next time, Happy Community Building everyone!!