Thursday, February 9, 2012

6 Reasons To Buy Local, Buy Handmade

Have you ever stopped to consider the story behind the items you purchase? Whether they were created in accordance with good humanitarian practices? How about their impact on the environment? Is your purchase benefiting your local economy; a local business, a local designer? How about if the design is unique and original, or just another version of what you can find on any end cap, in any department store?

Having the ability to make a conscious decision about how and where we spend our money is a gift; one we can use to do more than add to our possessions. One that can benefit our community, local designers and the environment. One that might just help a Mum send her child to dance class, a Dad afford to take the family on holiday, an artist to make a viable living doing what they are passionate about. One that doesn’t support sweat-shop manufacturing.

Here are 6 reasons why buying locally produced handmade items is good for everyone.

Love the environment When you purchase locally produced handmade goods, they don’t have to travel hundreds or thousands of kilometres to reach you, reducing the use of fossil fuels, and pollution being released into the atmosphere. It is also common for designers to create up-cycled products from pre-loved materials, potentially reducing the number of items going into landfill.

Be a humanitarian Handmade artists create items in their own homes or studios, and on their own terms. You can be sure that human rights have been respected during their creation. Every time you buy a locally produced handmade item, you are reducing demand for mass produced items made in sweat shops.

Support your local economy Purchasing a locally produced handmade item has a flow on effect which benefits your community. Your purchase supports a local person to put that money back into the local economy; it may mean that the maker can buy more supplies, extend themselves by studying, afford to go to the movies, donate their time and skills to charity or even just buy groceries. Surely its better the money goes to them, than to a chain store CEO who wants a new sports car.

Unique design, quality production Handmade is often fashion forward or better still timeless. Makers are producing items which are one off or limited run, and different to what you can find in every chain store. Moreover, the craftsmanship and attention to detail is generally of a very high standard; designs created and made with genuine care and attention, for your benefit.

Personal connection Buying locally produced handmade products often affords us the opportunity to meet with the maker; to learn their story and hear about the creation process. Many makers also love to create custom items specifically for you; an added luxury not possible in the mass produced marketplace.

Give a gift with care Giving handmade gifts can denote an extra level of care and attention shown when choosing the gift; and you can be pretty confident that no one else will give the same gift!


Pictured: Shown above is a new retail space inside the stables gallery, Bairnsdale VIC. Along with the gallery director, I established it to support East Gippsland makers by providing them with permanent ongoing retail space within our community. It's called The {East Gippsland} Makery.

It's the first step in some grand plans to create a handmade cooperative with a dedicated retail space in our CBD; which will include a sewing lounge and public meeting space.

What's happening in your community? Is there a gap that needs to be filled? Are you waiting for someone else to fill it? Hmmm... maybe something to think about then?

Cheers, Chicken

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