Hand made vs. factory made

29 Jun 2017

 
Since 2004, I've been incredibly grateful to be a professional artisan, hand crafting luxury — and more recently, expendable — goods.

One of the awkward challenges of this path has been the frequency with which I've encountered a common misconception: that artisan goods should cost less than mass produced goods specifically BECAUSE they're hand made (because they're home-spun, imperfect, and/or made from materials any resourceful person could obtain.)

What people forget to take into account — very innocently, I believe — when they think this way, is that hand made goods that are priced fairly (covering time spent, materials costs, and unique skills, without undercutting pricing "to be nice," as a favor, or stemming from a lack of confidence in product, self, or sales potential) will always cost more than factory-made products due to:

1) Labor Costs — Factories are automated and can perform the work of hundreds of hands in a much shorter time than a single artisan ever could, even working 24 hours a day;

2) Bulk Discounts — Large companies with million-dollar-deep pockets and huge warehouses available for storage can buy and store supplies in massive quantities that even the most profitable artisan business could neither afford nor accommodate, while receiving gigantic discounts for purchasing in such bulk; and

3) Artistry — There's something truly special about something made by hand with personal oversight, aesthetic vision, artistic skill, and lots of heart, that you'll never, ever get from a mass-produced product made by machines operated by a hundred or more workers who don't have soul, reputation, and integrity invested in what they're producing.

The graphic attached says it more visually (and probably effectively) than I just did. (Original source here: http://m.industryweek.com/technology/handmade-vs-factory-made-comparing-time-and-cost.)

I appreciate my customers, past and future, so deeply. They are willing to pay a little more to support my one-woman artisan business, and other businesses like mine. They see the value — artistic, ecological, humanistic — in doing so. What they receive from me in return is a product reflecting my unique vision and skill set, made from the highest quality, best priced, materials I can source, with lots of personal oversight, and plenty of loving care. I truly do my very best.

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© 2018 Shelli Quinn | Shelli Makes Studio

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