In a world of mass production and standardization, handmade products make up a unique niche. Once a way of life, crafting by hand is now a more out-of-the-box approach to business but one that's vital to our society.
This doesn't mean there's necessarily anything wrong with mass production. After all, it did solve the problem of how to get basic products to a large number of people. But buying handcrafted has many, sometimes hidden, benefits for you and for the business you buy from.
Here's a closer look at the huge benefits of buying small.
#1- More Sustainable and Eco-friendly
Many large businesses are attempting to become more environmentally friendly, but small businesses that craft by hand have an enormous head-start in this area.
Mass production assembly lines need a large amount of raw materials and labor to churn out finished products. Labor is often outsourced to other countries where low wages are allowed.
Most often, these large production businesses also generate a large amount of waste and pollution that ends up in our environment. With the large scale at which these places operate, there's only so much they can do to offset all of this.
On the flip side, small businesses where products are still made by hand have a very tiny carbon footprint. Most don't need large machinery and don't generate much waste. And it's much easier to implement eco-friendly measures at a small scale.
Small business owners are also more likely to hire local, which means fair wages for workers and support for the local economy. This makes handcrafted products much more sustainable and better for the environment as a whole.
#2- You Get to Buy From People
Most of us have our favorite brands of clothing, shoes, etc. But that's exactly what they are to us: brands. We likely don't know who started the brand, and we don't feel like we're buying from another person when we buy from big businesses.
When you buy handmade, however, it's a completely different story.
Many times you're buying directly from the owner and creator of the business, and you can see their personality and story come through in their products. You're also directly supporting that person (and maybe a small team of people) instead of sending money to large chain stores.
#3- Relationships Grow
Because you get to buy from people instead of faceless brands, there's much more room for relationships and human interaction to happen.
If you have a question about the product you bought, you're likely able to talk directly to the person who made it or someone close to them. You can ask questions, hear about the story behind their business, and actually get to know who you're buying from.
This is something extremely important that we miss out on in big box stores.
#4- You Support Local Businesses
In the world of the Internet, we have the ability to buy handmade products from all over the country (and the world).
But even though that's not technically buying local, chances are you're still supporting someone's local business. Many crafters start out making their products at home and take them to local markets or trade shows. From there, they might move online to increase their reach, but it's still a local business at heart. In 2019, Euphoric Herbals acquired another local very small business, Schrock's Soaps. The owner, a good friend of Cindy's, was going to close his small business for personal reasons. Schrock's Soaps soap sold well at our herbal apothecary and became a favorite in the local community. Buying the small soap business not only allows a great product to exist in the marketplace but it also provides more work for our existing team members (with the future potential to hire more people) and expands our crafting skillset.
Money from handmade products often goes back into the local economy where these business owners are located. It's a beautiful system that's sustainable and supports real communities.
#5- Better Quality
Quality products are only going to come from people who care enough to make them, but handmade businesses have an advantage in this area.
First, most people who are passionate enough to make things by hand care about what they're making. Your product isn't being made my machines and an assembly line. It's being carefully put together by a person or small team.
Also, because only small batches are made at once, quality control is much easier to accomplish. It's possible to actually inspect and make sure each individual product is as it should be. With mass production, this just isn't possible.
Finally, many handcrafters care about the quality of ingredients or materials they use. The might source organic ingredients or buy raw materials from other small business owners, continuing the cycle of sustainability.
#6- You Help Keep Skills & Traditions Alive
It's an unfortunate fact that a lot of old skills and trades are being lost as we move towards a more high-tech society where computers and robots are a main part of the work force. At Euphoric Herbals, we even have hired young homeschool teenagers over the years. In fact, our very first employee was a high school student. It brings us great joy to know that working with us is the first job they have ever had. It provides a learning opportunity to teach a teenager what to expect out of work, how to be apart of a team, cultivate a strong work ethic and that regardless of their youth their contribution is valuable.
Business owners who handcraft clothing, herbal products, baked goods, jewelry, and many other products are all working to keep their specific craft alive. And when you buy from them, you become a part of that and help to keep valuable traditional skills from being lost for good.
#7- You Benefit From Someone's Passion
Many handcrafted businesses are born out of someone's passion. They often start accidentally by a person making products for the enjoyment of it or for their own use and then realizing other people want to buy them.
There's a huge, though intangible, difference between something handmade with care and passion and something mass produced by machines. It makes you feel good about the products you're buying and might lead you to catch some of the enthusiasm of the maker.
In the end, buying small and handcrafted supports our communities and our connectivity. It allows us to buy with purpose and to receive meaningfully made products in return. It's all about the people: both on the making and the receiving end.
Handcrafted at Euphoric Herbals
Despite being an online business that serves customers in over 59 countries, Euphoric Herbals is still a small, handcrafted business at heart. Everything is made in small batches with quality ingredients and tested for safety and purity.
The business was born in Cindy's kitchen while being a stay-at-home-mom to three boys and fueled by her passion for helping other women have holistic health options, especially through pregnancy and postpartum. Along with the online store, there's also an Euphoric Herbals Apothecary that operates at a physical location in Delaware started in 2018, serving the local community and the entire state.
Every product is still handcrafted, packaged, and shipped by Cindy and her small team. Euphoric Herbals is a small but mighty team of 7 located in central Delaware. Customers can feel the love and enthusiasm that's gone into a business like this. Euphoric Herbals also chooses to give back by supporting women and children around the world who don't have access to the health options or training we do.
To go deeper, read more about the Euphoric Herbals' story or try our holistic and handcrafted herbal teas and products for yourself. And don't forgot to look for and support other handcrafters and creators in your local area!