One of the most wonderful things, that we never imagined when we started this blog almost five years ago, was the amazing people we would meet and make friends with along the way. It is something we never expected and is the thing that keeps us going after all this time. We find it hard to go a week without discovering a new maker or designer or illustrator crush.
For us though it is not just about buying awesome things, it is about supporting our friends old and new, supporting talented individuals who are putting themselves out there and creating careers for themselves. Supporting our local economy, supporting British design and home grown creatives. We are here to tell you how you can start to do the same.
1. Shop local, it supports the economy. Take a look around your local shops and galleries, you may be surprised at what you can find not far from your door. Check out local fairs and markets, you will often find really amazing quality and service, with people who are a part of your community creating amazing products. By shopping with them you are getting better value for money and most likely helping the environment by reducing your carbon foot print and waste by buying higher quality products.
2. Local is not the only way to make your support known in the handmade community, online marketplaces like Etsy, Folksy, Not on the High Street and shortly Look Lane are a great place to find bespoke gifts and unique products.
3. Instagram has become an amazing showcase for brands of all size, but it is particularly great for finding small boutique brands and connecting with those that run them, I cannot tell you how many products I have bought from designers I have found on Instagram. Following accounts like Renegade and Etsy will introduce you to lots of new makers all over the world. If Instagram isn't your thing, try Facebook or Twitter, most makers will be on at least one of these platforms.
4. When you find makers you like buying their product is not enough! Sharing your finds on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook or even just with your friends will in turn help you find more makers and help them to spread their message further than they can alone. Word of mouth is still a powerful tool, especially in this digital age. If you find something you like shout about it, to everyone you know!
5. We are not all made of money so if buying all your products from designer makers isn't an option but you still want to support the handmade community why not check out what you can do to help. Websites and initiatives like UK Handmade, Small Business Saturday or the Just a card campaign have been instrumental in bringing the issues effecting independent businesses to the fore front of peoples attentions. There may be events or initiatives in your local area that could use volunteers. If you have accounting skills, offer some lower rates for independent traders or if you are in marketing offer to run a workshop. If you don't have a local craft fair near you, organise one! The answer is if you can't give your money, give your time or support.
These are just five ways to support handmade, there are lots more but we think these are a great place to start. If you have some to add please let us know in the comments below.
Handmade fans for life
Sammy and H xxx
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