Lately, it’s become harder for a small business to make it’s way. To say the world has become commercialised may well be the understatement of the year (and we are only two weeks into 2018!).
It’s safe to admit that we are completely obsessed with “stuff”.
Whether it’s filling our kitchen cupboards with food, our wardrobes with clothes or our bathrooms with the latest beauty secret, we always feel that we should be buying things. Often we are not even sure who we are buying from or why we are even making a purchase.
Gone are the days of always purchasing that same washing up liquid that your mum told you was best, or the trusty jeans that you knew fit you perfectly. Now, we buy what’s on offer, what was recommended in our weekly magazine or what we saw someone shouting about on social media. We give little thought into our purchases, trusting in others, instead of going on what feels right for us.
Today, to market products, all we have to do is get a big social media name on board and people are snapping it up in an instant.
It’s less about quality and more to do with what recommendations say.
People care less about who is producing things and more about who is using them. That’s great if you are a big brand with money to splash out on Instagram posts that someone with tons of followers posts for you (£1000 for one post, really?). But what about those that don’t? What about the small business that produce great stuff but struggle to stand out in a competitive market? Are we just ignoring small brands that produce amazing products because there’s too much else to look at?
When commercial craft first began it was all about appreciating every little business.
The best bit about buying products was that each and every item was made by someone with a passion and time to dedicate (the Crafty Co has always labelled our products to be “handmade with love”). The special thing about buying a handmade item was that whilst someone was fulfilling their passion, somebody else received a product that had a whole lot of hard work and love put into it. Plus it was a purchase that had a bunch of benefits for the business too. A sale funded a new tool that would build new products, a positive review was read by the maker ten times over and ideas were born through creativity, not commercial gain. You’ve all seen the Instagram quote “when you buy from a small business someone does a little happy dance”, well it’s true (The Crafty Co HQ can confirm based on evidence!).
Now, the craft community is more at risk of becoming over-commercialised than ever before.
The platforms to sell our products on have become endless. The sheer number of small businesses means it’s pretty hard to get your products noticed. Plus, Instagram is becoming more about how beautifully you showcase your product than the product itself. But, it doesn’t have to be. The craft community is a strong one and there is a way that we can hit back at the mainstream and hold onto being niche. How you ask? By support.
The origins of hand making items was about sharing a passion.
It used to focus on hobbies, talents and being rewards for efforts. Buying a handmade product was appreciating the work that went into something and genuinely loving the creation. This is all something that we can still do. We don’t have to be competitive with others, we can lift each other up. We can ignore what Instagram is trying to force us to see and search for the products that we genuinely like instead. In fact, we are capable of giving a helping hand just by clicking the follow button. There’s enough room for us all, but only if we offer each other support. If we truly appreciate a small business we can keep the value of handmade items. We have the power to make people all over the world happy dance, and we should absolutely use it!