My next event is a pop up shop in Holt, Norfolk from 15th May-23rd May.

Homemade, Handmade or Machine made?

Homemade, Handmade or Machine made?

There is a whole world of difference between each of these categories... each of them has their place in our lives so I thought I would share some pros and cons as I love writing those kind of lists and I am standing here on the edge of fairs starting again.

Homemade - if you are creative, then this is ideal for you. Check out pinterest for more ideas than you can possibly imagine and then try to gather things you already have at home in the craft cupboard in order to make something that really is minimum price but maximum love. These gifts are not made by anyone who pretends to be an expert, but are mindful gifts which can be packed with marks which chronicle the adventure of making. They are not perfect and are not the gift that you will regift.if you are making something for the first time, please don't think you are going to be able to make it as well as someone who makes it every day and has done for years. These gifts represent something special - time and effort and they are unique.

Handmade - a gift made by someone who has spent time learning to make something, they are experts of sorts. This gift may cost more than the factory/machine made gift and there will be errors but maybe those are only recognisable by the maker who knows the journey of making that one item. They are still special gifts as these are made in small batches by small businesses. These gifts come with more confidence as they are made by someone who has experimented with different techniques and knows that they are fit for purpose.

Machine made - walk in to any high street store and the chances are that your gift of choice has been bulk made often not in this country. It will be perfect, but some people consider that to mean that it lacks some soul. That depends on your perspective. These are the gifts that can be returned (there is even a gift receipt that you can obtain to make this easier). If you are not sure what to gift someone, maybe this is your perfect choice.

The thing is that as a handmade business, I find people often confuse these 3 categories.... some people consider that they can return something after wearing it for a few months just because they don't 'feel it anymore', although they would never dream of doing that in the high street. People often want the perfection of a machine made business from a handmade one and yet hands which make can almost never produce something absolutely perfect. However, the joy of being a handmade business is hearing the stories behind commissions and gifts, reading the gift messages people leave and learning about someone's personality and making something special as a gift.

Perhaps this blog post is just about urging you to think carefully when approaching handmade businesses. How hurt would you be if your homemade gift was greeted with a 'I don't like that' or a sneer? We feel the same. I've lost count of the number of people who have walked away from my stall saying something really hurtful and thinking I can't hear - of course I can. We often feel uncomfortable about being salesy and we overlook emails and messages in this busy world, there is no need for harsh words towards us, a gentle nudge in a private message is really appreciated. We are just human and customer satisfaction is vital to us, we are often juggling a dozen things and mistakes happen.

So next time you have a gifting opportunity, have a think - do you want homemade, handmade or machine made?

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