Look around the room you’re in. How much of the clothing, furniture, and items around you were made entirely by robots? 3D printing and automation have taken over the manufacturing industry, replacing craftsman of an earlier era. Big box stores push to make things cheaper and quicker, filling your home with poorly-made items that break within months. You might be hard pressed to find something truly made by hand. What happened to all the craftsmen that filled our homes with beautiful things?
Consumers are speaking out with their wallets, and handcrafted products are on the rise. Tired of being surrounded by tech and machine-made items, we all craved something artisanal and made with care. Thus, the modern craftsmanship age was born.
With the rise of Etsy and other online marketplaces, consumers have been able to find more handmade products, and craftsman have found a market for their skills. An independent soap maker may have struggled to own a brick-and-mortar store, or was unable to find success at Saturday farmer’s markets. The internet allows these craftsman to connect with customers around the world, capitalizing on niche interests. It has become increasingly easier for creative DIY entrepreneurs to build and grow a handmade goods business, from scratch, online. These skilled workers are able to find success that no one thought was impossible anymore. Now, craftsmanship is thriving, in everything from soap to jewelry to furniture.
We have more options than ever to choose where our food, clothing, furniture, and beauty products come from. Instead of bringing home items that contain unknown chemicals, made without ethical standards, or are not sustainable, we can find products that fit our exact specifications. You can choose if you want your soap to be made of goat milk, lard, or no animal products. You can customize your new sofa down to the sustainable wood and organic cotton. You can order a shirt made from fabric that was hand-dyed by villagers around the world. The decisions are in your hands, allowing you to see and decide exactly what you bring into your home.
Quality over quantity is the name of the game. People are over the indulgent opulence of generations past, pushing aside fast fashion and bland mass-produced items. Instead, there’s a rise in investing in something you truly care about, and know it will last for years. Why buy a new jacket every year, when you can invest in a handcrafted piece that you can enjoy winter after winter. The initial purchase may be more expensive, but for the quality craftsmanship you’re receiving, and the knowledge that you’re supporting a true craftsman, is worth it.
Modern customers are proving they are tired of shopping from faceless corporations, and ready to bring it back to the way it was many years ago. Purchasing products from small, independent artisans provides a unique connection to the item and to the globe at large. Consumers can hear the stories of these shop owners and know that their purchase is directly supporting a person or cause they care about. We can discover exactly what materials go into furniture craftsmanship, how it is made, and learn about the person who made it.
Merchants that create their own products by hand are much more invested in their product. They pour their heart, soul and energy into each and every item they produce.
Especially when buying a gift, making that connection with the product makes it that much more special. Choosing fabric that reminds you of the person’s favorite flower, or a scent that makes you think of an experience you shared allows you to give something that can truly be treasured.
This connection allows you to trust that everything that goes into your product is safe and of the highest quality craftsmanship. These products are built to last. Craftsmen know they will not be successful if they create a low-quality item, nor would they want to peddle these to the customers they care about. Handcrafted products, whatever they may be, have a standard of quality you cannot find in mass-produced items. Each individual piece is brought together with care, down to the final thread and screw. And if something does go wrong, you have a human being to contact and get it fixed.
As more and more people realize the importance of living a sustainable lifestyle and putting in effort to save the planet, eco-friendly products are rising. Handcrafted products are likely to be made using sustainable business practices and materials. These craftsmen put effort into sourcing materials that they agree with, even recycling their own products or using herbs from their own garden. Instead of shipping materials that crisscross the globe, you can know that the entire new couch you purchased was made locally.
Handcrafted items give us a break from all of the tech we surround ourselves with, and allow us to reconnect with nature and our community. You can appreciate the story of every item in your home, making your space more personal and unique to you. It’s a nice feeling to wear something that you have a connection to, or look at a painting where you personally met the artist.
Supporting these local artisans encourages everyone to follow their passion. It creates more jobs, and allows more people to support themselves through their art. Frequenting independent businesses not only boosts the local economy, it also supports the independent companies that those businesses source for materials. Your leather bracelet is also helping the leather supplier, and the local farm that raises the cows. It’s an endless cycle of support and sustainability that creates a strong economy.
We may never have streets filled with all family-owned shops where you know the name of every artisan. But in the modern age, we can use technology to our advantage to connect with likeminded people and bring handcrafted items into our home that we care about. Modern craftsmen allow us to explore what we are truly passionate about, and enjoy high-quality, hand-crafted goods that will last for generations