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Buying handmade means so much more

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To quote a fellow artisan: "Indie business is not for the faint of heart." I completely agree.

A few years ago, I was faced with a decision. Stay in my management job and suffer mentally, or quit to advocate for my daughter who has a learning disability and struggles in school. You’d think it would be easy, but it wasn’t. I’ve worked since I was 14, I loved my job and to quit seemed so much like giving in and giving up.

I did quit, and to manage my stress, I turned to my creativity. I have always been a creative person and dabbled in many creative endeavours. Before I knew it, I had so many paper crafts made that I decided to sell them at a craft show. I was hooked.

Now I find myself in this community of creative friends that has nourished me and enriched my life in ways I never knew possible. I have artisan friends who make jewelry, soap, reclaimed wood art pieces, baby blankets and clothes, you name it.

We all began for different reasons. Either for the freedom to be creative, for the natural ability to be entrepreneurs, the passion we have for what we create, or the flexibility needed to be home with family.

Buying handmade is rewarding and if you’ve never done so, I encourage you to try it. A few common reasons for buying handmade:

1. Quality. All artisans take pride in their work, so you are guaranteed to get a quality piece of craftsmanship.

2. Uniqueness. When you wear that handmade item or give that handmade card or fabulous piece of jewelry or natural soap, you are giving an item that may even be a one-of-a-kind.

3. Custom. Many items can be custom made. Have you ever found something you love but wish it was in a different colour, or somehow made differently? Ask! Talk to the artisan. Chances are they can custom make something just for you.

4. Support. That artisan works long hours, often as a second job, creating his or her wares. When you spend $5, $10, or $50, you are supporting that artisan in ways you cannot begin to imagine.

As the holiday season approaches, consider giving a handmade gift.

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