The Value of Buying Handmade

Handmade goods sometimes, but not always, cost more than their mass-produced counterparts. Why are so many of us willing to pay this extra dollar? Looking at it like a math equation: If the handmade item is less expensive than its mass-produced counterpart, then there's no discussion, but if the handmade item is more expensive, what drives people to spend extra? I checked in with friends to find out.

Why our friends buy handmade: it supports small communities and individuals; the items are not mass-produced; quality; unique product; appreciation for and desire to support the creator and their trade.

Why I buy handmade: One reason I buy handmade is for the story—the story of the object before me and the story of its use after I acquire it. Our home is filled with handmade objects—hand thrown dinnerware from our wedding registry, our wedding cake toppers that now adorn our mantle, the handwoven rug in our living room, and the quilts we curl up with on cold nights. I value the stories and creators of these objects: Our dinnerware was thrown and glazed by my college ceramics professor. I purchased the cake toppers from a sweet store in our old neighborhood; they were made New Hampshire. Our living room rug was hand dyed and woven by women living in Pakistan. And our quilts are family heirlooms, sewn from my grandmother's baby clothes. I enjoy thinking about the people who made these objects and I value surrounding myself with their pieces, but ultimately I love supporting their efforts financially by paying fair market value for their wares. Knowing my hard-earned money is supporting an individual's creative endeavor is invaluable, even if these objects cost more. This is why I support the alternative supply chain that is handmade craft.

Why do you buy handmade?

(Hand-drawn Image: Landis Carey)

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Green Living, Handmade

Landis is a ceramic artist who hand-makes heirloom-quality pottery for the kitchen, table, and home. She writes about tabletop design and entertaining for The Kitchn and lives in Maplewood, NJ with her husband and toddler.