The digital era is responsible for a great deal of consumerism, and that’s often a mixed bag. It’s very easy to shop online and forget about small artisan creators, but the internet has made those creators more accessible, too! Don’t forget—it’s never too late to start supporting small businesses selling handmade items with craftsmanship passed down from generation to generation.
Avoid purchasing mass-produced what you can find from artisans online. Read on to discover eight reasons to buy artisanal and handmade products.
It’s no secret that many mass-production industries waste far more than they need to. Did you know that we can thank the textile industry for almost ten percent of all global carbon emissions? Handmade products are an opportunity to put your money where your mouth is—it’s easy to say that we support eco-friendly alternatives, but this is the chance to actually do it!
What makes artisans different from mass-producing corporations? For one thing, they need to think carefully about the materials they use. Sustainable materials are often the best option because they’re more economical and easier to get in smaller quantities.
Artisan glassblowers in many countries utilize recycled glass bottles and turn them into beautiful new creations. This setup is perfect because it ensures easily accessible materials for the creators, and it also drastically reduces the amount of glass that winds up in landfills.
Glass isn’t the only recycled material in use across the world! Aluminum and cast-iron products are often made of recycled metal—if something can be recycled, we’re willing to bet there’s an artisan recycling it!
Artisanal makers create their products with generations of knowledge backing them up. For example, the artisan responsible for our juicers learned his craft from his father-in-law, while the makers creating molinillos are currently teaching their family’s fourth generation how to carry on their legacy.
Why is that important? When a product stands the test of time, generation after generation, you can rest easy knowing you’re paying for the best of the best. Handmade products are passionately made with decades (sometimes centuries) of technique.
Mass production results in cookie-cutter perfection, but if you’re like us, you’ll learn to appreciate the flaws and imperfections in handmade products that tell stories and history of each product. On top of that, we really enjoy helping artisan makers keep their time-honored traditions thriving! Buying handmade products helps to preserve the techniques for future generations.
As we mentioned earlier, the makers who create artisanal products have had generations to think everything through. From the uses of the product to the design, materials, and production process, the artisan has carefully considered every step. The best part is that functionality is of paramount importance.
A few hundred years ago, the only thing that mattered was how well a product performed its task. Decades of artisans ensure that each product gets better and better until it is a finely-honed object that fulfills its purpose without fail. On top of that, an eye for beauty often comes with hands for function, so many artisan products are staggeringly gorgeous and functional.
When features are quickly stamped on or thrown in to finish the mass-production job, care doesn’t usually enter the picture. Handmade products, however, simply last longer. Why? Because artisans pay attention to every curve, stitch, and corner no matter what they’re making.
Artisanal set their sights on creating things that are meant to last for years, even to be passed down to future generations. We’ve already discussed how techniques are passed down, and important sentimental items often come with those techniques. The higher the quality, the longer those items can survive—that’s part of the reason they stand up so well to the tests of time.
Original and Unique
Many artisanal creators are so good at their craft that you can’t tell that each item is completely unique—but they are. Every handmade product is entirely original, and their tiny imperfections make these items special. You can proudly display your glassware or woodwork in your home, knowing that no one else in the world has that product, which can’t be said for many things these days.
Support Local Economy
Buying from artisans helps more than just the artisan—it also supports the economy surrounding that craftsperson. Every maker carefully chooses where they purchase their materials from, where they get their packaging, and who they employ—and your support allows them to help keep other people in business. The more you buy from artisans, the more the artisans can give back to their communities.
Usually, makers support local suppliers and small stores in the area, meaning that your actions are probably more sustainable than you can appreciate.
It isn’t easy to be a responsible consumer. Everything we purchase has implications—from political to social to environmental. You never know when a corporation is lobbying against something you believe in, and it’s exhausting to try and keep track of every company’s motives at all times.
Buying from artisans gives you a much better sense of the process. You know where the product is coming from, who you’re supporting, and how they’re making the world a better place. On top of that, you know you’re paying a fair price for the product instead of buying something mass-produced that may come at the expense of workers somewhere else.
Stories Behind Each Item
When you buy anything handmade, not only is it entirely unique, but it also comes with a story. Sometimes you can ask the artisan the process behind making your particular product—or you can hear their stories for yourself!
Maybe your item is the artisan’s favorite they’ve ever made. Perhaps your product didn’t come out exactly as they’d hoped, and they needed to put a little extra work into it to make it perfect. Whenever you purchase from an artisan shop, you’re getting more than a trinket—rather, you’re getting a piece of history that wouldn’t be possible without everything that came before.
Now that you know these eight reasons to buy artisanal and handmade products, make your mark on the community by avoiding big retailers and supporting independent artisans and small businesses.