I recently read a forum post on pricing handmade goods and started wondering “why should a person buy handmade?” You could say it is because handmade is:
– Unique and/or individual
– Well-made and/or high quality
– A high level of innovation
– Fair labour practices
– Traditional skills are used
However, I disagree that these are good enough reasons. Go and wander through top-end shops and you will find products that match all of these criteria.
I think that the main motivation that people buy handmade goods is for the story. But be careful because you can find a story in exclusive boutiques too. You can go shopping with a friend and talk about how elegantly the items are layed out, what the packaging is like, how you decided on your purchase…that is a story too. However, what is the ‘value’ behind the story? This is where I feel handmade wins hands-down.
When you decide to buy handmade you are a part of the whole story and not just a consumer, a number on a sales chart. For example: You walk along the street and you see a man carving a wooden sculpture. You stop and watch him in amazement. You see that in front of him are a few pieces for sale. You buy one of these. Why? Because when you get back home you have a story that is more precious to you than anything you could ‘buy’: you met the man himself, you saw him carve, you have an experience and this sculpture, the one you bought, reminds you of this precious moment.
That is why you buy handmade. You know the maker and the story behind your product. You know where it came from and you were a part of that. Your story does not begin after you have purchased the product.
The story of handmade has value.