Why buy handmade: An inside look at our business practices
Why buy handmade? Here at Fair Ivy, we hold great value in buying handmade versus mass produced. This means that every product we send to you monthly as a surprise comes directly from a small business or individual hand-maker. Nothing comes from a big factory, and everything is produced using good business practices.Why is this important to us? There are multiple reasons why we feature handmade products exclusively, as well as a few challenges (that we think are well worth it). Here’s an inside look at why-we-do-what-we-do.
Pros (i.e. why buy handmade):
- We support small local businesses and individual artists. Often the creators of our handmade surprise gifts are regular individuals with a specific skill and love of crafting, who hold completely unrelated day jobs and then spend their evenings and weekends lovingly creating the products you then receive in your subscription. Some are stay-at-home moms, some are teachers, nurses, accountants, or marketing executives in the daytime.
- The money you spend on your subscription (and thus the money we then use to purchase each surprise gift) stays in the US economy. All of these artisans are located within the USA, meaning that you are shopping locally, even though you are purchasing something through the internet!
- We love working with individuals verses corporations. All our business transactions occur after we’ve found someone wonderful at a craft fair, via Etsy, or though another artisan venue. We absolutely love the part of our job where we get to interact with these creative individuals. And we love helping the businesses grow stronger—some of the businesses we’ve worked with have grown to open brick & mortar stores!
- Our customers get to connect with the artisans as well. Each surprise gift you receive should have details from the artist about their life, their craft, or their inspiration. We have had many reviews and feedback saying that this personal touch sets Fair Ivy apart from any other service out there.
- Each surprise item is hand-wrapped! You can’t get that with mass-produced items!
- We know the business practices of our hand-makers. By working directly with individual small businesses in the US, we are boycotting the types of labor practices that often go hand in hand with mass-produced overseas products. We know exactly who is making our product, and that they are doing it because they want to, not because they have to.
- Individual artists need time to create all the handmade items for our subscribers. Which means Fair Ivy has to plan ahead—far ahead! Sometimes we have to give them 3 months before their feature to get all the items made. This also means that once we decide on a quantity for a given month, we can’t accept any additional customer orders (so if we tell an artist to make 200 items for a future month, once we hit 200 subscribers that month we have to close orders completely).
- While handmade items are more costly to create, we think the quality is worth it. Some people may say “why buy handmade when it’s so much cheaper to buy mass-produced items?” Many companies use products from overseas simply because labor is very cheap outside the US. Having individuals in the US make products is more costly, but it also comes with a guarantee that they are using good business practices (e.g. no child labor, no indentured service, no unhealthy working conditions, etc). As a result we have a much lower profit margin than some of our competitors, and our boxes are slightly more expensive. However, we know that our customers realize all the wonderful benefits of connecting with US hand makers and supporting their craft.