Handmade is ALWAYS better.
At femafric, we ARE handmade. Yet often when I’m asked why handmade is so special, why each piece costs more than a similar, BUT NOT THE SAME, item in the hair store, Or why I bother making in the first place? in the face of such hostility, I always repsond: “Buying handmade is better for people, better for us ALL.”
So what really is so special about handmade?
Well, firstly it’s a mistake to compare handmade with the large corporations – there really there is no comparison. How do you compare a jar of mass-produced jam with a homemade preserve using locally grown fruit presented in a beautiful recycled jar with a cheerful label? It’s impossible.
Buying handmade is more sustainable
I would argue that handmade is more sustainable than mass production. Mass production means bulk buying and this forces the lowering of prices down the line, mainly in the production of raw materials. Lower production costs ensure that the large-scale companies can make more profit while selling, at what first appears to be, a low price – a bargain price.
Dig a bit deeper and what this really means, is that many people worldwide are forced into jobs with little pay and this has a knock-on effect for those countries, in so far as they cannot develop, cannot sustain their environments and any adverse condition, such as a drought, has a far more adverse impact upon them than if they were wealthier.
The wealthier nations, such as the United States, then have to subsidise these poorer countries with loans, rescue aid, charitable giving etc. That money comes from you. It’s a false economy; it’s a profit on a page but not profit in reality because if you had paid the real price in the first place there would be no need to pay up in another way.
So when you look at that £1 mug from your local supermarket, it’s not a bargain. It will cost you more in hidden charges than what you initially paid for it.
Buying handmade supports local people
Buying handmade supports local craft industries and people, wherever you buy it. The price you pay for it is exactly what you see – there are no hidden costs. The revenue stays within the country and people are not out of work but working in their business either as individuals or groups. Buying handmade (or creating ourselves) helps us express our true selves and reconnect. It’s the difference between buying something that was made carefully and with love rather then buying one of a million machine manufactured items. Support local artisans and craftspeople, not large stores. When you are buying handmade, you are BECOMING part of the artists dream of freedom, financial independence and creative expression.
Handmade is forever not for just now
Mass-produced items are perceived as or actually are, ‘throw away’. A horrible culture of ‘if it’s broken, don’t fix it – just chuck it out’ is now so prevalent that we throw away things that are perfectly fine. We want an upgrade, the latest version, the next best thing… we want to be noticed. However, what we are failing to notice is our rubbish piles are growing higher and higher!
Here is where handmade excels – there’s no need for an upgrade as it is perfect already. If you own a handmade, unique piece of work then only you in the whole world own it. That’s over 7 billion people who will never get to have it because you have it and if you keep it until 2050, then it will be nearer 10 million people who don’t have it. How’s that for having the edge on everyone else? Each handmade piece of work is as unique as each person in the world.
Buying handmade keeps craft skills alive
When we buy handmade we are helping to ensure traditional making skills are kept alive and creating a demand for education in these skills. These skills have been handed down from generation to generation.
Buying handmade celebrates who we are
Handmade is a celebration of our contemporary lives and our living culture – not a mass-imposed, one-size-fits-all consumer culture where everything looks the same and is easily boxed up. Each handmade item is about people and not machines. It’s about the time and effort that goes into each piece of work. It’s about the skill of each maker, and the technical ingenuity of the maker.
Call me biased. Say I am a ranting maker on my handmade soap box! But don’t deny the facts – buying handmade is far better than some people have ever given it credit for!
At FemAfric, we aim to be the premier handmade crochet braids producer committed to empowering women all over the world by creating income for women in Africa while also giving our customers stunning looks that will make you look and feel fantastic.