Sunday, September 28, 2008

Craft shows means handcrafted by YOU?

That would seem obvious to me, but, judging from my previous experiences and the experiences of quite a few other Etsy sellers here on this forum thread, more and more craft shows are being inhabited by wholesalers who buy wholesale candles/pottery/jewelry etc that is made in China, remove the stickers, and sell them as handmade by THEM in craft shows. I first saw this in at the South End Open Market, and then a Harvard Sq Mayfair market. Some of these sellers claim to have handcrafted these items, but you know it is just not true, when every single candle is layered in perfect symmetrical layers, and it looks every bit like mass produced wholesale crap to you. Sometimes, it's even more obvious, from Mary Kay hawkers to people selling new QUARTZ watches.

Of course, everyone has to make a living. But, to pass off these items as made by you is just downright sad. And the Mary Kay hawkers watch sellers just befuddle me-- did the craft show people just not bother vetting the vendors? Most of all, how do you compete? I can't compete with the prices of wholesale mass produced items, I just can't. Having them there will no doubt hurt the sales of real crafters. And in the sanctity of a craft show, I would think that I will be able to showcase my work, surrounded by all other people who designed and made the items they are selling to. Am I misunderstanding the meaning of the word "craft" in "craft show"?

Do the public care? If I was a candle maker who makes my candles standing next to someone who bought them wholesale and was selling them at half my price, would the public see the value in what I do? Who would they buy from? Could they tell the difference?

Through the years selling my designs, I have come to believe that there are a significant number of people who value handmade. But still, craft shows are for us crafters, and wholesalers should go to their flea markets, and not try to pass off their stuff as handmade and try to infiltrate the handmade market. People do place a higher value on handmade stuff (and perhaps that is why the wholesalers do this, because their is a market for handmade). But I would feel insulted to have my items placed next to mass produced jewelry. Am I just being snobby?

The Bazaar Bizarre in Dec is all handmade though! And there is a bunch of AMAZING vendors. Come visit us then!



Quail said...

Probably the best blog post in the world! I run my own fashion label and from time to time I attend craft markets to help with the PR of my very small label. It infuriates me when I rock up to a craft market and find my 'neighbours' selling stuff exactly as you described. True, there are people who appreciate handmade, unique, innvation and bespoke things but a greater number fall in love with my stuff and then run away from the price tag and go buy some mass-produced crap for themselves.

pequitobun said...

thank you quail!
yes, as the handmade market grows i think more people are going to try to capitalize on the added value that people place on handcrafted items, and try to profit from it dishonestly. oh well, karma has to count for something, doesn't it?

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