The handmade movement is booming all over the world, and is becoming a real force in the market. Aimed at countering mass-produced consumerism, “buy handmade” has become a mantra of many disenchanted consumers, and owners of small handmade businesses are benefitting. People want less stuff, and they want to feel connected to the stuff they DO buy – they want to know things are ethically produced, they want to feel as though they KNOW the person who created an object. They’re tired of mass-produced crap.
But handmade businesses just can’t compete with the prices of goods from China, and the economies of scale for larger companies mean most small business owners are struggling with increasingly small profit margins.
As an example: two brightly colored wool hats sell in a clothing store for $30. One hat was made in China, shipped to the country and sold to the retailer by a large hat-buying chain for $15. The retailer makes $15 and that hat-buying chain makes $8. The costs of shipping, storage, freight and packaging add up to $7.5 and the Chinese hat maker earns about .50c.