How the Internet Saved Handmade Goods
How the internet saved handmade goods
Alt: Colorful spools of threat symbolizing how the internet saved handmade goods
A recent article in The Economist deemed the unexpected emergence of obsolete products paradoxical. Given the fact that old technologies, once replaced by better and less costly alternatives, have found their way back into the scene, it does seem interesting. Not only have specific products resurfaced and regained their popularity, but they have also proven to be successful at maintaining healthy business functioning. Just think of the fountain pens and vinyl records, for instance. Possessing these has become much more than a remnant of the nostalgia for the times passed. They have become a symbol of prestige. Similarly, other handmade products that come in small batches, like needlepoint products, have got back in vogue. How has that happened? Well, it's safe to say that the internet saved handmade goods.
The reemergence of artisanal goods
It's unlikely you haven't noticed the sudden explosion in popularity of handmade products. Perhaps it's like fashion. After a few decades, specific styles are bound to return. However, it seems that handcrafted products have a different role. Many consider them more valuable than anything produced in large quantities. And this is true. Of course, something that is in many ways unique and created with particular care and devotion of a single person so that you can enjoy it will carry more meaning.
For that reason, many would rather spend more money on a needlepoint dog collar than on one of many options at a regular pet shop. A custom-made product as a gift to a person you love feels like you have given it more thought and even shows you care more.
In general, old crafts have regained their previous glory, which can only be a good thing. They are a way of preserving culture and old skills that have long been battling the menacing demise. So, for many who enjoy practicing some of these skills, this unexpected renaissance is very welcome.
Possible reasons behind the rebirth of handmade goods
It seems natural that the demand for handmade goods has been on the increase recently. Following the cultural shift that has occurred over the past several years with the "organic" and "green" movement, it's only natural that handcrafted products made in an eco-friendly way see a rise in popularity. Clothing and accessory designers often use recycled or repurposed materials for their products.
In addition, in a mostly uniformed world where fast fashion has been dominant for quite a long time, it's refreshing to see the growing need for uniqueness. In search of distinctive products that will allow them to express their individuality, more and more youth are opting for innovative and creative pieces that will make them stand out. So the recent fad for artisan dresses, jewelry, hats, needlepoint keychains, and other accessories is only growing bigger.
The role of the internet in saving handmade goods
It's not surprising that the internet came to the rescue of handmade products. With the appearance of numerous platforms and social media networks, people who had something to show and say got the opportunity to be heard and seen. It was a matter of time before someone tried to sell something they created. To facilitate these transactions, new digital tools like Etsy and Kickstarted developed.
Etsy is a digital marketplace where the saviors of nearly extinct technologies from all over the world can present their handmade items. Kickstarter functions in a different way. It's a crowdfunding website that collects donations to help fund these artisans to sell their products or services to interested customers. Without such platforms and the electronic communication tools that eliminated intermediaries, it would be practically impossible for individual craftspersons to reach these markets and sell their products. The traditional ways of doing business would render their efforts overly costly.
The rapid growth of websites such as Etsy clearly indicates that there is a lot of interest in high-quality, unique products with a personal touch. At the same time, the growing popularity of artisanal goods somewhat overshadows mass produced goods. Etsy allows sellers to connect with buyers looking for what they are selling. It also allows them to build their internet presence and operate independently, which they wouldn't be able to do for such a low cost on their own.
Etsy charges only $0.20 per listing and deducts a 3.5% fee on sold items. In return, it enables its users to reach buyers worldwide and increase their exposure. What is more, since suppliers of different materials also use Etsy, it provides artisans with additional ways to source materials.
Etsy allows its users to make a living by selling smaller quantities of products to their loyal customers. As a small producer, you have a way to find your market and reach buyers worldwide. All you have to do is deliver your goods to customers wherever they are in the world.
This platform enables small businesses to overcome the most significant challenge they face. Coming up with a substantial amount of money necessary for the initial investment is now easier. Kickstarter helps users raise the needed capital. Many of this platform users are artists, people in design and fashion, crafts, and food.
The internet saved handmade goods, and we can't be happier about it
The technological advances that have made many crafts obsolete have also enabled them to thrive in a different way. The internet saved handmade goods by providing artisans with platforms on which they can present their products or services. While there will always be the demand for mass-produced, cheaper products, artisans will also have their loyal customer base. These customers will put more value on hand-stitched needlepoint belts than store-bought ones that lack personal touch. They will enjoy a unique product more than a copy. Most importantly, they will gladly support producers with a strong social mission, such as Good Threads. So, in a way, the comeback of handmade products symbolizes the change for the better in terms of social and environmental awareness.