Monday, December 2, 2013

Happy Cyber Monday - How to Buy Handmade

Are you shopping this Cyber Monday? I'm not but only because I've got pretty much every gift I need for gifts this year. And I'll be making a few, of course.

If you are still looking for a special gift, please consider buying handmade. Etsy was created specifically as a shopping venue for handmade and vintage items. There are amazingly talented artists who create their items from start to finish.

Etsy isn't perfect though. Too many non handmade vendors have sneaked in and watered down the market...with mass produced, cheap, Walmart style jewelry. I'm not knocking Walmart...I like Walmart personally. But there is a market for Walmart and a market for handmade...and the two are not the same.

How to tell something might not be truly handmade by an artisan:

  1. The shop has no information in their about page or profile.
    This is a big one for me - if you haven't taken the time to fill out the section to tell me about who you are as an artist and a person I am less likely to trust you as a seller.
  2. Location.
    There are absolutely handmade artisans in China...but if the shop is from China and everything in the shop looks the same with just variations in colors...and it looks like something you'd find at Walmart...chances are it's not an actual artist. I'm not against people buying things made in China, and I do it myself, but Etsy is not for those manufacturers or resellers of cheap jewelry. Also, if someone doesn't list where they are from that is a warning sign to me.
  3. Price.
    If it's too good to be know the rest. As an artist I work very hard to price my jewelry appropriately. But sterling silver and fine silver is expensive. And high quality. If someone is selling a necklace for $2.99 chances are it is NOT handmade. Even the cheapest materials will cost more than that, plus the time to create, than $2.99. And if you are an artist pricing your work at this rate...stop it! Just stop it. It makes you look bad and your work cheap.
  4. Originality.
    This one can be a little tough, however if you do a search for an item like "bubble necklace" you will see hundreds of results for items that all look seriously nearly identical. It's pathetic. I'm not saying there can't be hundreds of people making simple pearl earrings, but if even the photos look identical, then the items are likely not handmade.

If all these things combined - no information, location, price, and originality are all together please don't support that shop. It undermines the whole point of Etsy. I report those shops that look like manufactured or reseller shops. Nothing seems to ever happen to them and sadly some of them have thousands upon thousands of sales. But I will continue to report them and hope that Etsy will eventually crack down and get back to the roots of Handmade!

Enjoy 10% off your order in my shop through Friday 12/6 - use code CYBERMONDAY at checkout.

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