A wonderful thing about living in the digital era is that we can discover new brands, products and services from the comfort of our couch or while waiting in line to get a coffee. The best thing about this is that entrepreneurs, small businesses and sustainable brands can promote themselves without having to rely on traditional marketing and advertising methods; in addition to having the advantage of creating a solid base of followers that undoubtedly help to share content on different social networks. It’s not all of these brands, but the vast majority are artisanal and handmade products, which makes them part of a sustainable and circular economy; in which handmade becomes the only sustainable alternative to the climate crisis we are facing.
- 1 Why choose handmade products?
The 10 (definitive) reasons to buy handmade
- 2.1 1.- Traditional production techniques and skills
- 2.2 2.- It’s well thought out.
- 2.3 3.- Sustainable materials.
- 2.4 4.- Higher quality and durability
- 2.5 5.- You get an original and unique product.
- 2.6 6.- They can be customized.
- 2.7 7.- They support local economy
- 2.8 8.- You know the people who make the products.
- 2.9 9.- They create community.
- 2.10 10.- Responsible consumption.
- 2.11 11. Don’t haggel.
- 3 Let’s be part of a more conscious world
Why choose handmade products?
This is’nt a post which purpose is to talk in detail about fast fashion (but we will talk about it), but it is an important part of why we should choose artisanal and handmade products when buying. Currently, the textile industry is responsible for 8% of global carbon emissions and 20% of toxic discharges into rivers and seas. And that’s not all, every year – at least in Spain – 326,000 tons of clothes are thrown away … that’s a lot! These figures alone are impressive and we are not talking about the people who work in terrible conditions and with a salary close to zero.
But as I said, this is not a post dedicated to fast fashion, it’s a post dedicated to the economic, social and environmental benefits of buying artisanal and handmade products. I’ll start by saying that buying handmade products is not just buying once from your neighbor who makes really cute things, or going to a market and finding super cool handmade products and doing the rest of our shopping without conscience. Buying handmade products is an ongoing decision that should be made every time we go shopping or to the supermarket; whether we need to replace something in our house or if we want to give a gift to someone special.
The 10 (definitive) reasons to buy handmade
1.- Traditional production techniques and skills
Let’s start at the beginning, an artisanal and/or handmade product is not the same as a craft. I don’t mean to disregard people who make crafts, they have their merit, but when we talk -specifically- about artisanl products, traditional production techniques play a very important role. In many cases, these techniques are learned by observation and passed from generation to generation, which makes them long lasting. One of the main concerns of the industry today is precisely that by moving to mass production models, these techniques are in danger of extinction. By buying artisanal and handmade products we are helping in the preservation of these techniques and prevent them from being lost; something that many contemporary artisans also do by offering workshops about their production techniques… if you ask me it’s killing two birds with one stone.
2.- It’s well thought out.
The people who make artisanal and handmade products have thought it through. They have thought about the use that can be given to the product, the design, the materials and the production process. They think directly about their customers and the functionality of the product beyond the fact that it’s pretty or looks good. Their collections are usually made in small batches or limited editions because of the amount of time, effort and creativity that goes into each product; but a great advantage is that if a garment or product is sold out, the artisans have the ability to make it again and just use other prints or colors.
3.- Sustainable materials.
Just as the artisans think very carefully about the design and use of the product, they think a lot about the materials they use; and fortunately many choose sustainable materials. By choosing this type of materials they help the environment, while ensuring a higher quality product compared to one that doesn’t use this type of materials. But just because a product is handmade, it doesn’t mean that it automatically uses sustainable materials; on our store we have a specific category for eco and sustainble products that in addition to being handmade they are made with reused, recycled and/or vegan materials.
4.- Higher quality and durability
The first two points have their culmination here. What do you get from a well thought out product with sustainable or quality materials? A handmade product that is well made and will last longer. Artisans, artists and designers pay attention to every stitch, every cut, the tailoring and of course the materials, which although they may or may not be sustainable, they always choose quality materials so that the final product doesn’t suffer the consequences. A handmade product will last longer than just one season; it’ s no surprise that we all have a product or item of clothing that belonged to a grandfather or grandmother and that thanks to its durability has been passed down through generations as a family treasure or heirloom. Nowadays it is very difficult for this to happen, but there is still time to leave these kind of treasures as an heirloom for your family.
5.- You get an original and unique product.
Although it may not seem like it, handmade products make much more original gifts than those you can buy in a store. By having small productions, it is very unlikely that you’ ll find someone who has exactly the same product; they may just have variations in color, size or materials. Wearing – and gifting – artisanal products and handmade products will ultimately make you fashionable and stand out with your 100% original and 100% handmade style. At this point it is important that we pay attention, as there have been many cases (in particular a very recent one from Zara) where brands are “inspired” by handmade products for the creation of their lines and have the luxury of claiming to be original when they are not.
6.- They can be customized.
I mention it above in point #2; and it’ s because if the design, the materials used and because of the production processes that customers can choose to personalize the products, they can choose to customize them. While artisans, artists and designers are open to making customized products, you can ask them to customize a product from their existing line to make it even more special. The only thing I would emphasize at this point, is not to abuse the customization of the products; if it’ s something very specific you should first ask if it can be done and if so, be willing to pay the price.
7.- They support local economy
An artisan or designer also chooses carefully where and from whom he buys the materials for their products; and when choosing, they usually choose local suppliers, small stores and local businesses. This action may seem very simple, but it is one of the principles of a sustainable economy; in addition to the fact that buying locally reduces the carbon footprint associated with that product, making it even more sustainable.
8.- You know the people who make the products.
This is one of the advantages I like the most about handmade products. I’ m fortunate enough to meet many artisans and designers who dedicate themselves to create very cool products and have wonderful stories. From Mexican artisans, to designers who opt for a handmade production model; to know what has led them to create each product and turn their passion into a business is priceless. Knowing these people, putting a face to the person who has made the product you are buying and knowing their stories is what makes brands and their products much more human. This aspect is so important that in Valéxico we have a specific page for artisans in which we dedicate a space to each one of them so you can know their stories, and so you know that the products you’ ll find here have been made by great people who want to make a difference in the world.
9.- They create community.
As I mentioned in the previous point, during the last year and a half I ‘ ve had the opportunity to meet artisans, designers and artists of different nationalities and with different skills. I’ ve met them because they have approached me, because I’ ve approached them or because I’ ve shared a table at a craft fair or market; and what I’ ve liked the most is to see the support that exists and the beautiful community that they have created. And I’m not just talking about a community of people who are dedicated to the same thing, it’ s a community of people who also trust the products within the same community and when they have to buy something they do it from one of their fellow artisans that they already know or if not, they ask for recommendations.
10.- Responsible consumption.
And last but not least, when you buy artisanal and handmade products you are being a responsible consumer. When you choose to buy from an artisan you are choosing a product that has all the benefits mentioned above; you become a more informed consumer of everything involved in the planning, production and selling of a product and the great work done by artisans, artists and designers. By buying a handmade product you are choosing a sustainable option in which you support the local economy (or in some cases you support the economy of developing countries and indigenous communities), help the environment, pay the fair price for a product and therefore help a more just and equal society.
11. Don’t haggel.
This last point on the list is not a benefit, but a recommendation. If you got this far, the only thing I have to add is that when you buy a handmade product, whether from a small business or a more established brand, don’t ask for a lower price or a discount. The prices are what they are because of everything I mentioned above; each artisan has set the price of their product taking into account the materials and craftsmanship. And from my experience I can tell you that even so, many sell them short because the argument they hear the most is that their product “is too expensive”; it’s not too expensive … what is mass produced is too cheap.
Let’s be part of a more conscious world
Now you know, buying artisanal and handmade products has many benefits; they are a sustainable option to mass-produced products; you support entrepreneurs, artisans, artists and designers in growing their brand or business; you buy a unique and original product that in many cases is made with sustainable materials and with exceptional care to ensure its quality and durability.
If you want to start choosing these types of products now, take a look around at our store, explore our catalog and get to know the artisan partners we work with. Share this post with your friends and family so that the next time they need to buy something for themselves or need to make a gift they can choose the best handmade products.