When you purchase a factory manufactured product online, chances are you already know what it looks like because you've seen it in the stores. But when you purchase handmade online from a handcrafter, it can be a little more challenging to figure out what you are getting. According to BigCommerce, the words "handcrafted" and "homemade" can also be confusing https://www.bigcommerce.com/ecommerce-answers/how-define-handmade-items/. Before you buy, either online or at a craft show, make sure you ask questions.
Here are five tips on what to look for:
1. Lots of photos, both inside and out. When you see lots of photos, you know the maker is proud to show off their work. Zoom in and look at the detailing.
2. Detailed specifications. You should expect the maker to give you as much information as possible to help you with your purchasing decision.
3. Materials. An expert crafter takes the time to source quality materials AND they want to share with you what makes their handbags so very special.
4. Product construction. Sometimes it can be difficult to see if a product is well made. Did the maker add special details to their products to make them special? Do they look well crafted? Were they complicated to make? Often the price reflects the level of difficulty.
5. Reviews. Customer comments and reviews are definitely important but for startups, the review numbers may still be small. Don't let the numbers fool you; they may still have great products to offer - they are just a new business!
We've heard this before but buying handmade helps build the economy in ways that manufacturing overseas cannot do. Zaum's blog says it quite nicely: https://www.zaum.com/blog/whyhandmade
And here is the critical piece. If you love a maker's products but are not ready to purchase, you can help keep them in business by SHARING and LIKING their Facebook, Instagram, and website pages. The more people who see these pages the better chance someone else will purchase. Then when you are ready to purchase, the product will still be there. Simply put, without your support today these businesses may disappear tomorrow.