"Handcrafted." More than just a Verb.

The dictionary defines "handcraft" as a verb that means "make skillfully by hand."  By extension, "Handcrafted" signifies something that is made by hand, rather than mass produced.

In days long gone by, artisans and trades people created high-quality products, primarily using their hands.  The industrial revolution advanced this process, with machines capable of producing products with better time/cost efficiency, with quality levels that are influenced by accountants, shareholders and ROI.

Fast forward to today.  Off-shored, mass produced products flood the marketplace, their profitability fostered by a society that's sadly become conditioned to "planned obsolescence," low quality, etc.  This situation was caused by time/cost issues, along with exorbitantly high repair costs and the inability of many people to repair things themselves - because of their own time/talent issues.

But all is not lost!  There is a faction of artisans in the world, who possess a variety of talents and creativity.  While all are doing it for the personal/professional satisfaction and enjoyment of successfully doing things with their hands or tools, many utilize their talents in the hopes of generating enough income to support themselves and their families.  

Many of them attempt to use social media to "get out the word" about their products, and hope that people will see their postings, visit their physical/virtual stores, purchase products and tell their friends.  

However, many social media outlets "encourage" these businesses to "pay to play," by "limiting exposure of all non-paid promotion," sometimes to the point of limiting the businesses site access/features - and sometimes suspending their access altogether.

Trying to run a small business is more than a 9 to 5 job.  A small business owner wears many hats, especially if they don't have the resources to outsource the tasks.  

Besides needing time to make products, the business owner has to somehow promote the business (either online, on the phone or in person), pay the bills and account for them for IRS purposes. On top of that, many have to either oversee and maintain a virtual online store and/or exhibit at craft/art shows.  

To confound the situation, the small business owner must price their products to compete with the mass-produced items - which can significantly reduce the actual money left over for them to support themselves and their family.  

Small businesses aren't large company with deep reserves to draw from when sales are slow/down.  Often they have to draw on personal/family/friend financial reserves, attempt to get business financing - or close their doors entirely.  I can personally confirm that profit margins aren't large, but you hope to make it up with sales volume to make it work.

If you like a small business and their products/services, please tell your friends.  Better yet, please purchase some of their product/services so you have an informed perspective.  

If you don't like what you see or are looking for something else, please talk with the owner.  I'm sure they will do all that they can to satisfy your needs - I'd like to see you walk into Walmart or IKEA and do that...  

Despite the political rhetoric, the small business economy isn't that sustaining for everyone.  Every sale help keeps the lights on and doors open - and helps revitalize the idea of handcrafted products in the world's economy.

Bottom line, the small handcrafted business you support today, will (hopefully) be around tomorrow.  If not...

 

 

 


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