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!