Did you shop “Small business Saturday?” If you did you probably supported a business that sells artisan goods. Webster’s defines artisan as a worker who practices a trade or handicraft. Many small and local companies can describe themselves as making or selling artisanal goods and are worth seeking out. There are people opting to search these companies out and purchase their products. We think that’s pretty cool!
Here are 10 reasons we think they are worth finding and supporting:
- Materials: Many of these companies search out specific materials to use. If you are looking for something made with a certain material or ingredient you may well find a company that specializes in just that!
- Giving Back: This is a wonderful trend that is continuing to grow. Many artisan driven companies support charities year round. A simple Google or Etsy search can help you find companies that support any number of charities.
- The goods they create: Artisans care about the details. Almost compulsively they will seek out exactly what they need to create and know well the materials they can use effectively. They have spent years perfecting their craft and are always learning. This shows up in what they create. There is something about holding these goods in your hands. They feel different, smell different and taste different. “The difference between ordinary and extraordinary is that little extra.” Jimmy Johnson
- The people: Stop and visit with the owners and people who work in these shops. Even if their store is an online presence you can usually email them. In the process of getting the details of your order together you can meet some wonderful people.
- Custom Work: If you are looking for something specialized, having custom work done is the way to go! Small artisanal companies are a wonderful resource to have a gift made for someone special. Just be sure to check out the timeline needed to have your gift completed by the time you need it. This will help avoid a heap of frustration. Remember, they are creating just for you!
- It’s Friendly: At a small business, chances are you’ll be waited on by the owner, a member of their family or someone who reports directly to the owner.
- It benefits both the local economy and the national economy: Shopping small creates and supports local jobs. Each time you purchase a product or a service on Main Street you are helping to pay the salary of a friend or neighbor. Historically, two-thirds of net new jobs in this country are created by small business and they are also responsible for over half of national GDP.
- Avoid crowded stores: It is annoying to maneuver yourself (and your cart and possibly kids) through packed store aisles only to fight with someone for the last thing on the shelf. Then wait in a line for hours with a cart full of stuff and realize you still need to get something for your mother-in-law, coworker or neighbor. You can purchase handmade items at local craft fairs, markets and boutiques. You could even shop online to avoid people altogether.
- Cool, trendy gifts: You’ll give cool, trendy gifts. Custom work can be a one of a kind gift. People will be asking, “Where can I get one?”
- Production Process: The production process and conditions of work for artisans are often more ethical / environmentally friendly than in many factories where items are mass produced.