Right now is a bad time for just about everyone. Don't get me wrong, I am thankful that my husband has a job and we are living a decently comfortable life, but I know it is playing (more) havoc with the lives of so many others.
Shops I love to buy from are going under or no longer carrying items I love. Handmade artisans are having to stop creating, because they aren't making any money. More and more are giving up the dream.
I love the handmade movement. Yes, it's true there are some people who should NOT absolutely NOT be selling what they make. Yes, there are people putting out low quality items that can cause new handmade buyers to turn back to store bought. Yes, handmade can be significantly more costly causing people to not be able to buy, especially in this economy. Store bought is usually of a pretty consistent quality and you know it has been tested if it is something tht is regulated. And yes, if something you buy is handmade and not up to snuff, you are probably out more money than if you had bought it from a store.
I love that none of my mugs look like anyone else's. I love having casserole dishes that people ask me where I got them. I love burning candles that I can't just buy from Glade. I love knowing it is HIGHLY UNLIKELY that my sister already has one of whatever I got her for Christmas this year. I LOVE seeing the awesome things people come up with. I love that more often than not, the extra money I sepend on something is totally worth it.
I love handmade, and I love unique.
I am not one of those people all handmade sellers seem to worry about who is going to get all righteous and come down on you over misnamed or labeled stones (Unless you are selling your jewelry as "fine" and charging a LOT for it), failed experiments hitting the listings (especially if they are heavily marked down), selling your first whatever even if it isn't perfect(as long as you admit it), selling anything, for that matter before you are an "expert" at making it, or anything else hypocritical like that. All I ask is that you sell me a quality item (Or mention honestly if it has problems), listen to me if I have a problem with what you sent, and if I am unhappy, try your best to rectify the situation.
I also don't necessarily believe that handmade is "better". I think it can be better, but just because something is handmade does not automatically mean that you are getting better quality or something that will last longer than store bought, no matter what people say and no matter how much "love" went into something. Sometimes the extra cost is NOT worth it. SOmetimes people charge too much. SOmetimes people charge too little. Sometimes covers a lot of ground with handmade, and more people need to be aware of it. Everything depends on what you buy, who you buy it from, how they do their pricing and production, where they get their materials, and how skilled the person is at making whatever it is you are buying.
I bookmark Regretsy and UglySh*tOnEtsy (which doesn't have the *, By the way). I use them to find new shops and see new things all the time without having to hunt them down myself. Since everyone's taste is different, I have loved checking these sites out. Yes, sometimes I get a laugh, sometimes I shake my head at people's naivete, sometimes I wonder about people's sanity...and sometimes I put something from the shop in my favorites. It is great that these things are out there, and that people are creating.
I am not going to put in a plug like "go buy something, support the handmade movement, keep these shops alive!", because I really believe these plugs are hard selling and making people buy out of guilt. If you don't have the money, DON'T BUY SOMETHING. Go support your family and take care of them. Charity starts at home, and I truly believe that. However, if you DO have the money, think about whether or not you can get whatever it is that you want or need handmade instead of from a store.
You may be thankful you did.