There is nothing better than seeing a loved ones face light up with joy, that utterly wholesome moment when a grin begins to spread across their face, their eyes sparkling as they unwrap the perfect gift.
We all know the perfect gift isn't found on a last-minute dash to the shops on Christmas Eve when you end up grabbing the last Lynx or Lush gift set out of frustration for your *insert difficult to buy for relative here*. But it can be so stressful trying to find something truly special and unique... until you shop handmade 🙂.
So, to help you out with your gift shopping this year, here are my 20 top reasons to shop handmade!
1. There is little to no risk of a duplicate gift, especially if you opt for a bespoke/custom gift. We've all been there, it's awkward for everyone.. let's eliminate the embarrassment!
2. Everything is made with true love and care and therefore is better quality than a mass-produced item from a high street store.
3. You are supporting more ethical production.
4. Every time you buy from a small business the owner does a happy dance! (As do their employees if they have them 😉)
5. Handmade items are made to last. True artisans have spent years honing their craft and their biggest motivation is to create something you and your loved one/s can love/use/wear for years to come 🙂.
6. It's generally much better for the environment. Of course, this depends on who you are buying from, but typically smaller businesses are much more concerned with their environmental impact which includes how they source their components and how they package their items to ship to you. They also do not require large factories or production facilities to make their products, most handmade products are made in the makers' own homes or studios, which means less pollution - YAY!
7. Each handmade item has a story and a history. There's a reason a particular colour was chosen, the particular material and the method used to create it. There's a story behind why the maker made every item and why they began crafting and their business in the first place. This gives every gift that little extra magic 🙂.
8. You can find something truly unique! Many small businesses offer commissions and custom orders, by working with a crafter, artist, designer or artisan you can have something made specifically for your loved one that really encompasses their personality and what they love. What better way to say to someone that they are one in a million than with something truly one of a kind?
9. When you buy handmade you're supporting the local economy of wherever you bought that item and the reach of this can be enormous. Though buying a cheap mass-produced item in a store can seem like a good choice in the moment, it has many hidden costs (both literal and figurative costs).
10. Customer service is so much better and more personal. How many of us have spent hours trying to get through to a large companies customer service to be passed back and forth through departments and in the end not getting anywhere? When you buy handmade you will either speak directly to the maker or someone knowledgeable on their close-knit team who will work tirelessly to help you have the best possible experience.
11. By supporting just one crafter, you are actually helping to keep certain craft skills alive. You are motivating that one maker/artist etc to keep practicing their craft and in turn, they will potentially pass it down to a new generation and keep traditional and new craft skills alive (which is so important in a world filled with unsustainable fast fashion, don't you think?)
12. When you buy handmade it truly shows that you care and have thought about the receiver specifically. It shows you took the time to think about the best gift for them and it makes all the difference 🙂.
13. You can get an item that actually fits! Haha, what a luxury, huh? We all know that high street sizes can take on a mind of their own. When purchasing fashion or accessories from a small handmade business you often have the option of having it custom made to your (or your loved ones) measurements. No more sadness and frustration over ill-fitting items! Hurrah!
14. You can buy online and avoid the chaos of crowded stores, much more convenient and no stress!
15. OR you can experience a lovely local Christmas market, filled with lots of different handmade products. Not only are Christmas markets an atmospheric winter wonderland of smells and festive cheer (there is bound to be some mulled wine and roasted chestnuts), you're also supporting your local economy 🙂.
16. No two handmade items will be exactly alike. As everything is handmade, each piece even if it's the same design will have some difference due to being made by a person, not a machine. This makes every piece extra special and unique to the owner.
17. You know what you are buying. You've heard/read about the hidden animal fur in "faux fur" jackets. If you're an online shopper, big brands also frequently leave out important fabric content information which can be super frustrating if you or the person you're buying for has an allergy and as we mentioned above big brand customer service can leave something to be desired. When buying from a small handmade business not only do most (we certainly do 🙂 ) give all appropriate fabric/materials content upfront but are also very easy to contact to find out more information. We can also usually easily make adjustments for special circumstances if needed.
18. The items come beautifully wrapped already, making gift-giving much easier on you!
19. HANDMADE = HAPPINESS! Not only are you making a small business owner happy every time you make a purchase, but the knowledge that you went out of your way to pick out this perfect, well thought out gift will also make the receiver happy which in turn will make you happy. Everybody wins!! 😃 (Including Santa who has one less gift to worry about 😉 )
20. And arguably one of the most important reasons, instead of lining the pockets of an already stinking rich CEO, you're helping to support a small business. This could be as "simple" as helping independent designers continue with their dream job or even as massive as keeping food on the table and a roof over-head for a crafter and their family.
To finish off this post, I wanted to add on a more personal note that when you buy from VelvetVolcano, you are helping to support a disabled and chronically ill designer (me, Hi!) and her mother who not only makes all of the gorgeous crochet-wear you see here on our website but is also my full-time carer. We are a very small business, I (Tamsyn) am responsible for product design; custom design work; material, packaging and shipping supplies; social media management; website design and management; product photography and photo editing; customer service (if you contact us via social media or email, I'm who you will speak to :) ) and lots more. Mumma VV as we affectionately call her ^_^ (or Linda 😉) handmakes all of our products from our Fingerless Gloves to our Cardigans, lovingly packages them and ships them out to you. We do have a little extra help in super busy times and for very specific tasks, my sister is a graphic designer who made our beautiful VelvetVolcano logo and my Dad also helps out where he can with shipping, putting boxes together or helping me out in our photography space 🙂.
Your orders mean so much to us and it brings us such joy in our 10th(!!!) year to know there are now 1000's of people wearing our items!
Much love, sparkles and spookiness!