I came across this Etsy store (http://www.etsy.com/shop/LuxVivensFashion?ref=ss_profile) on my usual nightly Etsy trawl. There is amazing attention to detail and unique designs.
And it struck me that the growing interest in handmade products in recent years defies most economic theories (the very basic ones) I studied in school. That people would specialise, that the pricing mechanisms would force production to centralise in places where the costs of production would be the lowest. That people would want to obtain products at the lowest possible price (assuming like for like).
With handmade products, all these theories just don’t work so well anymore.
As an occasional seller of my completed craft projects, I’m always amazed that someone actually wants to buy something I made! because its not the cheapest around, it may not even be the best value for money in terms of raw materials used. But then I suppose what they pay for will be my time and the way I have chosen to put things together. And I suppose this could be why people continue to produce handmade products even when its not the most economically efficient for them to do so.
When I was trying to maximize sales and revenue for my store, I tried figuring out what buyers wanted, and the best conclusion I came up with was that buyers of handmade products wanted the originality and quality that came with handmade products (ok actually I got this when I googled “why people buy handmade stuff” but its so true!) And this originality can only come about when production is not centralised.
BUT, sometimes I still can’t help feeling like I ought to be buying something instead of making them, especially when the former would cost me so much less!