MAKER / A CASE FOR HANDCRAFTED GOODS

The case for homemade and handcrafted goods can be a tough sometimes. How nice would it be to wear or use a product a few times, and then send it off to Goodwill. No upkeep or maintenance required. Just pure uncommitted bliss. Disposable goods are fun, cheap, and can deliver that fast shot of adrenaline that is addictive. What's not to love?

But bliss does have a flip side. Brands with a quick and repetitive sales model often design their goods with "planned obsolescence" in mind. Design decisions like quality and durability of materials and sewing craft are planned to erode quickly. This means that a great bedding set or sweater might look beautiful on first use, but colors will fade, fibers shrink or get itchy, and buttons will fall out quickly. Thus begins the cycle of consumption that requires more visits to Goodwill, stresses your monthly budget, and occupies a never-ending place on your to-do list. It's truly a treadmill. Further, in order to produce these goods at such an enticing price, other corners must be cut. Fast goods are often produced in slum factories in developing countries where children and young woman work for less than living wage. The dye process for some textiles uses harsh chemicals that are dumped into water sources and the soil. All this for fast profits.

The alternative this would be hand-crafted goods. Instead of big highs and big lows, slow goods are long-wearing, predictable, and actually improve their durability over time. They fit into a lifestyle built on ritual, routine, community, and commitment. It takes time to cook, to iron (on occasion), to do laundry and make the bed. Fabrics are savored and collected and become like old friends. Over time, that one pair of favorite linen napkins, for example, will also be less expensive to use and maintain than a slew of paper napkins or cheaper cloth napkins. Your shopping routine will become simple and cost-effective when you live with things that don't often need replacement.

So this is the dilemma. Go for the bright shiny object with the great price or a more authentic and carefully made object that will last longer? I think you know which we prefer. What about you?
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