The recession has caused many people to look to their own skills in order to make a few extra pennies to help make ends meet. Making things by hand and selling them was the norm right up to the 1950's when consumerism started to take a hold on our society. Since then, it appears that it is easier to buy new items in a shop than it was to make things for yourself.
In the current climate this is quickly changing. Making things for yourself and for sale has once again become fashionable and many more people are making and selling handmade goods. In a recent survey by the BBC Moneybox Live programme, they found that many households now have at least one member of the family who was considering using their skills to make things to sell.
By far the most popular item made is jewellery but this is very closely followed by handmade greeting cards. Both have evolved easily because there has also been a steady growth of websites selling the raw material needed to make them. Unfortunately for the crafter, because there are so many people making these items; the competition is great. Although the good news for the buying public is that the crafters have had to up their game in terms of quality of goods and of presentation. This can be seen in the much higher standards of digital photographs being presented to the MyOwnCreation website. It's true to say that the standards have always been high but the photography has not.
The big gap in the marketplace right now is in the arts. Items that rely on the pure skill and talent of the artist have been slow to pick up. Well, slower than crafting anyway. The numbers of painting, pottery, sculpture and iron art items being added to sites like ours has not really changed since it started. The most likely reason for this is that all of these skill have always been used as the main income for the artist and is not therefore subject to the 'extra pennies' criteria mentioned earlier. However, the fact remains that this is a gap and as such is an opportunity waiting to be filled.
In our experience, the quality of handmade goods has always been high but the problem is convincing the buying public that this is the case. Usually this is acheived by lowering the price but this has the negative effect of making the item cheap and therefore giving the impression that the item is low quality. Often NOT the case. Sites like MyOwnCreation allow crafters to offer guarantees and money back if not satisfied. This helps convince on line buyers to make the purchase.
With the recession set to last for at least another year, we at MyOwnCreation are doing all we can to make it possible for anyone with a skill to make things to bring them to the wider marketplace and fulfill their dream of 'making a few extra pennies'. Keep them coming!
Selling handmade gifts and crafts in the recession. Aug 2009