Millions of people around the world (most of them women) participate in the artisan economy, which happens to be the second largest industry in the developing world. Rich cultural traditions, an array of different materials and diverse artisanal skills are the backbone of this thriving $34 billion per year industry. Read on to discover 10 reasons why you should be a part of this exciting movement.
#1 Feel Good Factor
Rather than putting more wealth into the pockets of huge multi-nations shopping artisan made products directly from local artisans is the way to go. Not only will it provide a sustainable source of income that benefits the artisan and their family, it will have a ripple effect as they spend their money in their local community and in turn boost the local economy. Oh, and did we mention you’ll feel better for it too!
#2 Global Community
We live in an ever changing and detached world. Shopping locally and from different artisans around the world enables us to build a community across continents and across cultures. Rather than increasingly dividing us, it can bring us together, to be one global community who learn, share and grow from one another.
#3 Supporting Local Entrepreneurs
Local artisans are entrepreneurs who generally are committed to making positive changes in their community and in the world. Supporting local artisans not only gives them access to the global handmade craft marketplace it also shows them that there is a demand that values sustainability, ethics, human rights and thrives on empowerment. As this quote from Small Business Saturday so aptly puts it; “Small businesses are the heartbeat of your neighbourhood, the spine of the local economy, and the spirit of your town.”
Huge companies generally tend to see you as a number rather than an individual whereas local artisans’ custom make handcrafted items to your order. Each piece is skilful crafted, unique and made just for you! Selecting handcrafted pieces to decorate your home will keep generic décor at bay and give your casa that special personal touch.
#5 Everything Has a Story
>Buying directly from local artisans gives you the opportunity to put a face to the person or people that create your beautiful handmade artisan products. Oftentimes we buy something and have no idea where it was made or by whom – how sad is that! Establishing who made that beautiful Thai ceramic piece or that Laotian textile is the important link that gives you a connection to that particular item and the ability to share its story with adoring admirers.
#6 Quality Over Quantity
Minimalism might just be the latest trend but purchasing good quality items over cheaper items, that need to be replaced more often, is also just common sense. Investing in high quality throw cushions or that gorgeous ceramic dining set will likely be a higher initial investment but will also last longer and look much more elegant in your home. Quality handmade items have the added benefit of being crafted with a whole lotta love, care and thought!
#7 Green is Cool
Local artisans often recycle, reuse or repurpose old items within their artistic designs. And if that wasn’t enough, hand-crafted products are much greener than huge assembly line ones. Supporting local artisans lets you vote with your dollars and make a statement against mass produced items and factories that are damaging to our environment.
#8 Job Creation
Supporting local artisans creates jobs! Whether it’s keeping one lone artist employed or other members of their community it’s all contributing to the bigger picture. According to a study, shifting 10 percent of consumer spending towards local businesses not only creates hundreds of more jobs, it also results in millions of dollars in local wages. As they say, sharing is caring.
#9 Local Traditions
Increasingly generation old traditions and techniques are getting lost and replaced by machines. With the rise of mass production these traditions have been put in jeopardy and one of the best ways to ensure they stay alive is by showing them your support by purchasing those very items. Sourcing your homewares directly from local artisans keeps those sacred and beautiful age-old traditions alive and thriving.
#10 Embrace Your Conscience
Buying beautiful artisan gifts, handmade decorative items and functional homeware products directly from local artisans is a conscious and rewarding decision. Too often we go about our lives blindly spending our hard-earned cash. What if we all shopped consciously? Not only would it make us as consumers feel better, it would actively change the way our current economic model and our value system exist.