At a recent craft show I overheard a conversation between the vendor and a potential buyer:

PB: “This is a very nice bowl. It really caught my eye.”

V: “Thank you. Yes. It is a new design inspired by Mayan art and figures. It is completely handmade.”

PB: “I have a lot of respect for your skill in crafting these. So, what makes handmade bowls different?”

There was somewhat of a pause, and the vendor struggled to respond. For makers and crafters the value of handmade is crystal clear, but the words for describing the obvious are not always top of mind. Here are some ideas for sharing the merits of handmade with shoppers.

1. Handmade is Green

Makers don’t use assembly lines. Their work is not created in a faraway country and needs not to be shipped over thousands of miles to reach the consumer.

2. Handmade is Local

Buying handmade supports local crafters and maker businesses. The revenue that is generated stays in the region. It does not flow back into the coffers of multi-nationals which have no interest in and connection to our cities, towns and neighbourhoods. Crafters and makers are less likely to be put out of work by ‘big-business‘and can continue to invigorate local commerce and culture.

3. Handcrafted Products Are Unique

Handmade items are not mass produced and don’t look identical to each other. They are one-of-a-kind and the exact opposite of monotonous consumerism. Buying handmade means being different and it empowers shoppers to express their individuality. Purchasing hand crafted makes a customer 1 in a million, not 1 of a million.

4. Handmade is Worth More

Handcrafted gifts for business associates, teachers, co-workers, friends, and family have much greater perceived value for the recipient. They bestow an air of caring, authenticity and generosity on the person who offers the gift. Buying a handmade item also means no one else can give the same present.

 “Giving handmade is truly the essence of gift-giving. When you give a friend or loved one a gift, you are really saying “I care about you.” Cassie @ Clementine Jewelry

5. Handmade Connects

A pin on the board of Menucha of Moms And Crafters states:

“When you support handmade you are not just supporting a person, small business, family, our economy; you are purchasing a small part of an artist’s heart.”

Buying handmade establishes a lasting bond between the consumer, the artisan, their work and the story behind both. It connects the shopper to the history and inspiration behind the creative process. 

Handmade is more than just a product. Customers who buy from a crafter are rewarding hundreds of hours of designing, failures, trial and error. They are sharing long hours of frustration, but also moments of pure joy, such as when the first sales-ready piece emerges from the artisan’s hands. Buying handmade lets them become part of the fabric of a different world.

 “Not only are you receiving a beautiful creation made with genuine love and care, but when you are by buying handmade, you are also supporting and becoming part of the dream of: freedom, financial independence, being in charge of your own moral compass, having a daily life’s purpose, experiencing more joy, all as a result of doing work you truly love. There’s nothing better.”  Marisa @Creative Thursday    

When people buy mass-produced articles all they are ‘connecting’ to is a machine that sits in a football field size factory churning out things that may not be touched by a human hand until they reach the wholesaler or mass market retailer.

6. Handmade is About Love

Amanda Evanson even translated the value of handmade in poetry, which was printed on the product tags of a ceramics vendor:  

A gift that’s handmade

Is a gift not replaced

Entrapping sweet memories

That can’t be erased


The time and the talent

That goes into creating

Is where the real gift lies

When giving art away


Made with two hands

And the love of one's heart

Handmade is extraordinary

And a true work of art.


So when receiving handmade

Rather than store bought

Know in your heart

That someone loves you a lot!

 7. Handmade is Human

“Buying handmade celebrates humanity.”

         Julie Booth @Shopify