Friday, November 25, 2011

Buy handmade this season, a pledge

I know it's "black Friday" and many people went out at midnight, camped out and already purchased hugely discounted, large-scale electronics made in China and shipped to big box stores. I hope you all got some great deals on things you needed or gifts you intend for deserving loved ones.

From here forward, I have a suggestion. Rather than ordering another crate of miscellaneous, anonymous, ubiquitous items to be shipped from's largest warehouse, consider these other, more sustainable choices:

  • Buying from a local artist or craftsperson
  • Shopping at a small business, and getting to know the owner — you'll know exactly where your money is going.
  • Making gifts yourself — the most beloved and unique gifts are DIY from the heart; whether it's a painting, a knit scarf, or baked goods, a gift made with love with the recipient in mind is most welcome.

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If buying online is the best option for you, these websites support artists who hand-make their goods (list compiled by re-nest):

Online Handmade Marketplaces
There is no shortage of handmade items, nor marketplaces. Here are some top choices from around the globe:
  • Artfire: Not just for paintings and original art pieces, this marketplace is now open to all sorts of handmade goods.
  • Best of Handmade - This site searches multiple handmade sites at once.
  • DaWanda: This is Europe's version of Etsy.
  • Etsy: This is easily the largest global online community of handmade goods.
  • Folksy: This is the UK's online shop for handmade items.
  • iCraft: This is Canada's own Etsy-esque online community.
  • MadeitMyself: This site is similar to Etsy as an online community of handmade buyers and sellers.
  • Shop Handmade: This has a slight eco twist to the traditional craft store listings with carbon mitigation and rainforest conservation donations.
  • Ten Thousand Villages: This is both an online store and a brick and mortar shop that features fair trade items from around the World.
  • Try Handmade: This site highlights and shares handmade finds and shops.
Take the pledge this season to buy handmade. It's easy, just a shift of perspective. Many people have already chosen for years to only buy handmade goods as gifts. I ask you to do the same for yourselves and for me.

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