Friday, November 27, 2009

Buy Handmade this Black Friday

Black Friday thoughts from Jess of Sweet Eventide.

Most Americans know Black Friday as the term referring to the start of the Christmas shopping season. And for most Americans, it means heading to their "local" big box store to score great deals. As I wrote here last month, the big box dollars do not stay in your community the way your true local, independent store purchases would. While my last post focused on brick & mortars, today's post will focus on the importance of also buying handmade.

On one of the biggest shopping days of the year, I would like to encourage you to step away from the mall today and take a few minutes to read 101 reasons artists and designers want you to buy handmade. This list was put together by Poppytalk which curates Poppytalk Handmade, a monthly street market to showcase handmade goods.

Being a shop owner and blogger, I figure most everyone has heard of Etsy by now. Their most recent weather report indicated $17 million in sales last month. Yet at a recent fundraiser for my son's school, I met several people who had not yet come across the "world's most vibrant handmade marketplace."

Etsy is promoting sellers via Twitter who are offering Black Friday deals or free shipping. They have all kinds of ways to help you find the perfect gift. Here is a link to search results for sale listings and you can refine it with the categories handmade, vintage or supplies. Here is an article with more information on how to shop Etsy today through Monday.

So please don't fight traffic and spend hours looking for parking and standing in line today simply to hand over another generic, mass market gift to a loved one this holiday season. If you aren't crafty or don't have time to make your own gifts, you can purchase handmade gifts and know you are supporting an artist, someone whose passion is to create and you will know your gift was made with love. Can you say the same for your shrink-wrapped object from Target, et. al.?

Etsy is not the only handmade marketplace out there, by the way. There is also Artfire and Big Cartel. Don't forget that you can get more than gifts from all of these sources, you can get vintage holiday decorations, candles and soaps for guests, a pretty platter to serve your favorite holiday recipes on and clothing as well.


Eco Yogini said...

when I think of Black Friday, as a Canadian, I remember that every year someone (or two) dies from being trampled to death in the crazy shopping that occurs...

etsy rocks :)

utahlawyer said...

Eco Yogini . . . actually, one person was trampled to death, others were taken to the hospital including a pregnant woman. When paramedics arrived, they were shoved and stepped on by shoppers trying to get into the store. Also, two people died from gunshots in an argument over a toy. I won't shop on Black Friday, not only because of Buy Nothing Day, but because the big box retailers' Black Friday marketing promote this type of behavior. It is tragic that people die so someone can get a deal on stuff. I'm all for getting a bargin, but not at the expense of someones life.

I also oppose the horrendous working conditions that store employees are forced to endure on Black Friday. Back in my retail days, I was required to work 12 hour shifts without so much as a bathroom break (we did sneak to the bathroom when we went to the back room to grab something for a customer). I refuse to contribute to these conditions. Online retailers aren't better. My sister is working an extra long day today for one; though she will get to got to the bathroom.

Green Bean said...

Yay for Etsy!! And independent crafters everywhere.

Bec said...

Oh my goodness. I'm from Australia and cannot imagine people being trampled to death for a sale (at least if it has happened here I don't remember it). Our biggest sales are usually the day after Christmas in Sydney and Melbourne which are pretty bad, however in the state I live stores are closed on that day. I tend to avoid them. It's not worth it.

Etsy is wonderful, so many beautiful items!


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