Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Made 'To Look Crafty'

There's something on my mind today. And it's big, oh yes it is. I've noticed the hand-made trend gathering momentum over the past few years, which is great, when it is really hand-made.
Now, there's a company here in Sydney fronted by 2 women who are directly copying hand-made kids clothes and softies, having them mass produced in factories (ie. sweat shops) and flogging them off with a huge mark up. Big dollars, zero creative input.
This company has set up a blog with a cutsie name, and are even doing hand-made markets, so they are setting up directly beside all the crafters who put their heart and soul into their work. They have deals with big stores though, and one of the women owns a few kids shops here in Sydney. Unethical businesses like these are not uncommon I'm sure, but I really feel for the genuine makers, these people are being blown out of the water by the 'big guns' not only by them getting a strong hold in the market, but by ripping of their work and creativity. Now I don't have any objection to people having stuff 'made out' when it's their own designs, but having other peoples ideas mass produced is a whole new ball game.

Just because it has a 'hand-made' aesthetic doesn't mean it is, it's a case of buyer beware, if you like the hand-made look, then BUY genuine hand-made items. You can run a business and have ethics, just look at Pip from 'Meet Me at Mikes' what she doesn't know about craft, isn't worth knowing. And she supports the hand-made community by producing books, and pointing out amazingly clever people on her blog. As a person who creates and makes things, I'm becoming cagey about showing them off on my blog, I hate the idea of people getting hold of my ideas and producing them without any regard for how they are actually being made. Simply, if it's mass produced in a sweat shop, it isn't 'one-off' or unique.
On a positive, there are lots of great hand-maidens out there, and if you are looking for genuine hand-made gifts or clothes for little one's this Christmas, here's a few to be going on with:
Grandy and Baa - amazing applique pinni's
Bad Skirt - beautiful soft toys
Loz and Dinny - gorgeous girl's dresses
Dorothy Bills - yummy, cushions, quilts and bags
Rivetkitty - great softies and kids clothes

Beccasaurus - clothes, quilts etc
And of course there's always Mikes, a great place to start if you are new to hand-made.
Edit!! Oh my, I can't believe I forgot to add Curlypops above! One of my favourite ever bags was hand made by this clever crafter!

16 comments:

Cindy said...

Oh my I so struggle with this especially at the moment. Not only are things ideas being 'borrowed' but that a large part of the community that don't appreciate how much goes into making a hand made product - in fact the think it is inferior to a sweat shop. Having said that though I think that when you hand-make your own clothes for the prices people pay I reckon I am on sweatshop wage anyway

Veronica Darling... said...

Whilst I don't know really who you're talking about here, I have done my own investigations and found a company that sounds similar to this outfit in Sydney.

I noticed the 'Made in Thailand' label one day at a market, and bought two baby things at $5 each as I had decided then and there I would copy these baby things for my own babyfriends. And only because I was suspecting the same thing you're suspecting. Hmmmmm.

Am I bad for perpetuating the copying thing, or is karma, karma here?

beccasauras said...

Thanks for the plug! I have to get my arse into gear now and put the photos on my shop. Love ya! PS and yes, it sooooo sucks. I have have a problem with machine embroidery sometimes, it's not really hand made, is it?

Claire (ethel loves fred) said...

No Veronica that's not bad karma! These people are selling mass produced pinni's and toys that are directly copied from the original designers, who make them by hand! You did it the other way round, and you GAVE them away, so good karma!!

CurlyPops said...

Ugh that's so frustrating! I really hope that consumers can tell the difference and stop buying sweat shop copies.

Amy (badskirt) said...

Reading your post made me sad. Because long before I got to the list of handmaidens and saw my name, I understood what you were on about. Without going into names or shops, I read this and thought... someone gets it... Someone understands why last week I had to make a choice. I had to decide during the busiest shopping time of the year to put my toys aside and return to the workforce for a bit. Someone understands why people who truly do handmade craft can't compete with imports because of overhead, time and so much more. =/

and so while I have a few toys and another market or two in the books, I'm taking a break from handmade because I can't compete and eat anymore. =(

thank you for the link though and more importantly thank you for understanding! I really appreciate it.

Cathy (Tinniegirl) said...

Beautifully said Claire. It's outrageous that people are stealing ideas and 'handmade' like this.

Rachel said...

Rightly said... It really irks me too. I know who you are describing though and having examined their work though I think it looks cheap and nasty. The handmade aesthetic is one thing, but I don't think that they can copy the high quality and love that goes into most truly handmade items.

zose said...

......also.......
cheap and nasty with a vague aesthetic does not warrant a hefty price tag!

some of the pieces produced in one collection in particular, which are quite similar to things i was making a few years ago, are double the price that i was charging. and while one might have to pay small children in asia, pay import duty and pay for scummy PR to make one's arse look slimmer, one cannot seriously believe that one can continue ripping the shoppers off.

can one?

victoria said...

That's so crappy. And adding to the crappiness is when magazines (whom I will not name) advertise and feature the ripped off products as great original designs.

Claire (ethel loves fred) said...

Yes Victoria, that does my head in too. So hard for genuine hand made to get a look in these days, though thankfully it does create a big divide, which is an advantage, but only if consumers are looking with a view to buying and supporting hand-made. 'GENUINE hand-made' on our tags could be a way.

prashant said...

have have a problem with machine embroidery sometimes
Make website india

clare's craftroom said...

I posted about this recently and the support from bloggers for "genuine" handmade is heartwarming , thanks for talking about it, it all helps .

thornberry said...

My six year old always says "handmade is best because it's made with love". Have I indoctrinated her well already?

Bec @ honi design said...

ooo this makes me so mad. You're a lot more polite than me- i'd be naming and shaming. It's not the nice thing to do though.

It's a symptom of what happens when handmade becomes "cool" not for the love of owning something that was made with love poured into it, but for the simple fact of being able to say to people "oh yeah, it's totally handmade"

At the Mathilda markets the other day I overheard one lady say "oh, you can buy that in cotton on, but it's a lot cheaper".
I could not believe my ears...

Mon Alisa Design said...

Thankyou for your post. It was so good reading everyones comments. I have recently been knocked back from Markets that i have participated in since day dot. Only to discover that shops and websites that import goods from O/S are getting spaces. It's really disheartening. I think that as crafters we all have respect for one anothers work and wouldn't dream of ripping eachother off. It made the atmosphere at the markets so lovely when it was all us handmade folks......now there's a lurking suspiciousness that is oh so yukky.