Saturday, June 4, 2011

Why I Love Handmade & Etsy

I've been wanting to blog about why I love handmade items, and specifically, Etsy items. I could easily sum it up by saying: One of my favorite things is to purchase handmade/uniquely made things from the direct artist. While that is true, there is more to it.

I Love Unique
Don't get me wrong, for as much as  I love Target and shopping at other big name stores, I love purchasing unique things. That's why my goal for decorating my house is that each decorating item by handmade/homemade by me or someone I know. This includes knick knacks and all art pieces. Aside from a couple of pieces, I've managed to do this. The result is incredible. For one, I never have to worry that someone will walk into my home and say, "I've got the exact same piece at my home!". Plus, it provides a lot of great conversation starters (Like the art piece that was a custom-made wedding present for a friend of mine...that now sits in my home!).

The decision: Make it myself or Not?
A couple of months ago,  I purchased a crocheted hat for a baby shower gift. While everyone thought I had made the hat, and could easily do so, I love being able to support these artists who, for many, make their living creating items (toys, hats, art, etc). The result of this is that I can see the pride of the artist and their strive towards excellence. (With the exception of one item for Baby A's room, I have been pleased beyond words by what I've selected for my entire home).

I know it seems (almost) like an oxymoron - handmade quality. But, my love for Etsy shops and my belief in purchasing handmade has only grown by the exceptional quality of product I have received. Like I mentioned before, with the exception of ONE piece, every item I've bought has been a superior product. Plus, I've noticed that part of an artist's strive for excellence is how the item is packaged. A lot of times, I'm not opening JUST a box, I'm opening something that not only is beautifully made, but beautifully packaged. It makes the experience that much more special.

Commissioning Artists
I'm cheap. Really, I am. ( I love beautiful things, but my budget doesn't allow me to throw caution to the wind) When it comes to art, in particular, I have a consistent dollar amount I won't go over. That said, it takes time to find what I want. Which is fine with me - I'm patient. However, if there is an artist whose work I really love, I'm not afraid to stuff my money in mattresses to save to buy what I want.

Using Etsy for Inspiration
I'm not against this because I do it all the time, but I think this comes with a good balance. It's one thing to see something and figure out how to make it for yourself. It's a completely different thing to do that, and never support the sellers on Etsy. Like I mentioned before, this is how a lot of the Etsy sellers pay their bills. So, be selective in your inspiration, but don't be afraid to purchase either. Etsy crafts itself around inspiring people to be creative, to embrace the homemade, so be wise when you select what you can make for yourself and what you can purchase for the principle of supporting someone's craft.

This has turned into a fairly serious blog, but it is certainly a topic I really believe in. What are your thoughts? Do you buy handmade? Share away, I'm eager to hear your thoughts.

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Etsy has no idea who I am; this blog was not for advertising purposes in which I benefited, it's simply because I love Etsy products, and want to share them with you.

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