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Perspective on Handmade Merchandise

weather: partially cloudy
outside: 9.0°C
mood: ...
Having been around a handmade merchandise community for a while, I had some thoughts.


The reality of it is, there is no quality control in handmade products. You can't assure quality on your own work. If it were bad or wrong, you would NEVER have done it that way to begin with.

You'll see some really well made items by some really talented people. But there are an awful lot of people out there who just think they're talented. It's very inconsistent. The buyer, customer, end user has to do their own quality control. You need to be able to tell good stitching, good wire work and generally what "well made" means in each skill category.

This isn't necessarily a bad thing, per se. Being more aware and involved in the quality of your environment and what goes into the things you use, I feel, is definitely in some ways an improvement over mindlessly raking things off the shelf.

But it's exhausting for me because I do quality assurance for a living. I'm constantly checking things over, sending things back for defect resolution and improvement. I'm damned tired at the end of the day and given the choice, I would rather someone else handle that for me in other aspects of my life.

I see some very nice things. Merchants of handmade items tend to be very down to earth and practical people which is reflected in the designs of the things they make. The items are in very down to earth styles and colours. I can totally see myself wearing some of the clothes and jewellery, etc. I see a lot of things that I would love to own.

But these items are Things That I Don't Need™ and usually priced like high-end, luxury items. I can appreciate that that's how much it cost in materials, labour and they've priced it to be able to cover overhead costs and make a living. I can appreciate that they have been fair in their pricing decisions.

But that doesn't change the fact that I still can't afford it.

I only occasionally find things that I both like and can afford. But it's like shopping for things on sale all over again which I really wanted to avoid because I hate shopping.

There's no advantage to me to buy handmade. It's not always more cost effective. The styles are not necessarily nicer. The quality is not necessarily better.

I have gained perspective on merchandise. Some things I will continue to buy handmade or make myself. Other things will be bought mass produced.

Whatever I decide, I'm more aware of the choices I'm making.


Comments

( 1 comment — Leave a comment )
sophia
Apr. 26th, 2008 01:12 am (UTC)
interesting
( 1 comment — Leave a comment )

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