Let’s face it: handmade entrepreneurship is challenging. In a world of “I can buy that cheaper at…” there’s no competing. So how’s a little fish supposed to get by in this sea of big business? You have to play to your strengths. 

One big thing that handmade entrepreneurs have going for them is the Feel Good Factor. Customers feel good when they buy the added emotional value of local/handmade/fair trade/supporting someone’s dream. Your biggest asset is your handmade story! 


Customers buy feelings, not things. As anyone who has partaken in retail therapy knows, emotions are very good at leading the way when it comes to purchasing decisions. In fact, the rational mind has little say. And no wonder! Research by the Nielsen Company shows that the subconscious mind is responsible for roughly 90% of purchasing decisions. While the quality of your offerings, your branding, your marketing, etc. certainly factor, there is a deeper drive behind the buy. 

As humans, we have a number of fundamental needs. In addition to our five basic physiological needs, psychologists have also identified ten essential emotional needs: (ii) (iii)

  1. Security
  2. Attention
  3. Autonomy + Control
  4. Emotional Connection
  5. Community
  6. Friendship + Intimacy
  7. Privacy
  8. Status
  9. Accomplishment
  10. Meaning + Purpose (Self Actualization)

These fundamental emotional needs determine how we feel about ourselves, about others, and about the world around us. Our experiences and actions, including consumer behaviours, are all informed by subconscious attempts to meet these needs. We all seek the Feel Good Factor, and it’s not our fault.


The human brain processes 11 million bits of sensory information every second. Of this, the conscious mind processes less than 100 bits per second. This leaves the subconscious mind to process the bulk of the information the brain is receiving, filtering it through the lens of our fundamental needs.  Take for instance, a customer who is holiday shopping. Their subconscious driving needs and emotions might be Intimacy, Attention, Status, even Accomplishment. Attention, Status or Accomplishment might drive them to buy something bigger, flashier and more expensive, while Intimacy or Emotional Connection might direct them to choose something meaningful with high personal significance. If customers are shopping for themselves, they’re more likely to buy something they subconsciously believe represents their identity or a value they wish to convey. In any case, purchasing decisions are driven by subconscious attempts to fulfill fundamental needs. We’re all searching for significance. 

Knowing this, handmade entrepreneurs have an advantage. The Feel Good Factor is high on handmade goods. The love, quality, time, value and energy you’ve put in to your offerings subconsciously translates into Meaning + Purpose, Community, Emotional Connection (etc.) for your customer. All you have to do is let them know. Play up your community connections, your handmade story, your passion, the origin of your ingredients, the good causes your products are contributing to, the meaning behind the elements you’ve chosen. Create an emotional connection between what you’re offering and your customer, and let them in on what you already know: handmade is amazing, and supporting makers helps actual people create their dream life. 

Tell us your handmade story and connect with the Nook 2 Nook Canada community!

(i) Tony Robbins Blog. “People Buy Feelings, Not Things.” Tony Robbins, www.tonyrobbins.com/career-business/people-buy-feelings-not-things/.
(ii) The Human Givens Institute. “What Are the 'Human Givens'?” Human Givens Institute, 15 Sept. 2017, www.hgi.org.uk/human-givens/introduction/what-are-human-givens.
(iii) The Mindsfield College Blog. “The 10 Essential Emotional Needs.” The MindFields College Blog, 8 Jan. 2007, mindsalot.wordpress.com/10-emotional-needs-that-must-be-met-for-good-mental-health/.
(iv) Tony Robbins Blog. “People Buy Feelings, Not Things.” Tony Robbins, www.tonyrobbins.com/career-business/people-buy-feelings-not-things/.