For an artsy craftsy girl like me, it has been incredibly heartening over the last few years to see the emergence of the “indie” craft movement, especially online. So many of us pride ourselves on our uniqueness and individuality, but every day it becomes harder and harder to express that through our consumer habits. Even here in New York, the last decade has changed the City from the island of the individual full of tiny little funky stores, to one homogeneous shopping experience, indistinguishable from any mall in the land.
Where once there stood Canal Jean Company, affordable and funky, there now stands a Bloomingdales, overpriced and a lot less interesting. Don’t get me wrong, I still love a trip to Target or Kmart and do sometimes find myself at Macy’s, but so much of what has been unique about New York has disappeared over the years and been replaced by Starbucks and banks and big box suburban shopping stalwarts, oh and did I mention Starbucks? So, it’s nice to to see that there’s still room for lots of unique points of view in the marketplace. Sites like Etsy and ArtFire have made it possible for lots of crafty micro-businesses to thrive and it has given all of us the opportunity to find unique, one of a kind treasures that allow us to express our individuality.
Some of my favorites on Etsy include Metal Sugar, Joan Miller Porcelain, May Luk Ceramics and Red Bridge Brooklyn. I’m still pretty new to the ArtFire community, but even as I sell from my own store, I’ve started buying from others. Some new favorites there include The Ivy Leaf, Surly-Ramics, and BCharmer Designs.
All of this is just a long way to say, supporting indie artisans is a great way to support the economy. Take the Handmade Pledge and buy handmade this holiday season. You’ll feel good about your gift giving and your friends and family will thank you for giving them something a little different.