Reasons to shop Handmade.

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This year, for my Christmas gift buying, I decided that wherever possible, I would buy direct from an independent shop or maker. I’ve had such fun doing it as well! I have found some amazing unique gifts, all handmade by craftspeople who are fantastically skilled and passionate about what they do. This translates into their products and their customer service.

Where to find them?

I started with a craft market. I went to one in Nottingham called Lustre - a fantastic opportunity to start gift shopping and meet the makers who can tell you all about their work. There are tonnes of craft markets around at this time of year, in town halls and tents up and down the country. Some charge to get in, others don’t. Lustre was £5 to get in but the variety and quality of work was fantastic and you get a colour brochure with all the makers details which is helpful for contact details after the event. I was underway with my Christmas shopping in November! Winning.

Being a maker myself, I already follow a lot of other makers on Instagram, so was also able to find some perfect pieces here. Instagram also enables you to know a little bit more about the makers, as they often post work in progress or even videos of how they make their work. I love this, as you get to see behind the scenes a bit and connect more with the piece you are buying and the person you are buying from. Most makers have some sort of online shop these days.

Independent galleries and shops will hold a range of work from makers far & wide, so you can not only support the makers, but also the indie shop owners too! …..Also sometimes it’s nice to be able to see an item in the flesh, pick it up and touch it before making your choice. (This goes for craft markets too) With handmade things, there are often subtle differences between similar items which just adds to the uniqueness.

There are also many online sites that showcase the work of independent makers and small craft businesses such as Handmade in Britain Shop, Made by hand on line, and I’m sure you’ve all heard of Etsy.

Shopping ’handmade’ from small businesses makes a real difference to these business owners and has given me a feel good factor. Not only have I got some amazing and unique things to wrap up this year to delight my family, but I know that with every purchase I have made, a maker somewhere has done a happy dance - that’s a triple win, no? I made a diagram, mainly to break up the wordiness of this post. You’re welcome.

 I know what you’re thinking….those years of life drawing classes were not wasted.

I know what you’re thinking….those years of life drawing classes were not wasted.

I’d love to show you what I’ve bought, as I’m so excited about them (some still yet to arrive in the post) but they are a secret, obviously, until 25th. I am somewhat torn though, on the one hand, can’t wait to give them…..on the other hand, I want to keep them all for myself!

Have you bought any brilliant handmade gifts? Ideas still welcome as I’ve not quite finished my list yet….