Jan 19, 2008

Why are resellers hurting the handmade scene? A manifesto.

People often ask what a reseller is.
In the handmade scene, a reseller is a person who buy items in bulk (it can be clothing, but it can also be toys, bags, etc) and resell them making you believe he/she made them, alone or with another person.
They buy their merchandise at a very low price and resell them at an affordable price. Most of the time, these items are handmade, in a sweatshop or/and mass produced. They are not made by the person her/himself, but by people paid next to nothing to do the work. If you want to know more about sweatshop, please visit this link: http://www.sweatshopwatch.org/

On the handmade selling venues, the presence of these resellers makes it very hard for the real artisans to compete.
Their presence on these types of site lures the buyer into thinking they are legit if they are allowed. Most of the buyers will just take it for granted and not make any research about the articles.
As a clothing designer, I am seeing a little more than the average shopper. All the member of the ScratchFashion Street Team on Etsy can relate and agree with me.

So I will focus on clothing items in this post, subject I know best. When you see a picture of a garment which is wrinkled - folding wrinkles, very crisp and clear - there is already a problem.
As a clothing designer, all the garments I store, I hang them. If I have to fold them, I would never be able to get these kinds of folding creases. These were made during the mass production and the garments are stored in bulk folded as it is.

Once this doubt in head, the best is to do a quick search on the net: name of the seller, name and type of items.

Basically, these people just buy a stock and sell it under the pretense they have made the items. What is they hard work in all that? Buy the stock, take pictures, list the items associated with a beautifully constructed lie. Some people can get really good at it, they are real writers and authors in fact.
And I repeat, buying the item for 3$ and reselling it for 20$ get them a nice benefit without too much work involved.

But maybe there is something you don't know: the incredible hard work a clothing designer put into his/her work.
- Thinking and designing the garment,
- finding the materials, buying the material,
- taking apart the clothing for reconstructionists and recyclers,
- sewing and adjusting,
- taking good pictures of your work, which involves mastering good photographic techniques.

After all that work, which can take weeks, we clothing designers have to promote our work and let the world know about it. We have to prove our clothing worth the price because they are well-made, comfortable and unique.
We take the time to pay attention to each detail.
And of course, we cannot sell an item 20$ after all these hours of work, nor list 5 to 10 items a day.

I love what I do. I love my work. I love to create and to be able to share it with others.
I don’t hate anyone.
I am not a vigilante.

I just want the handmade scene to be strong.
I want the real artisans and the real clothing designers to be able to gain a minimum of benefit from their hard work.
I really believe in the craft revolution as a vector to raise awareness and conscience about our Earth, about pollution, about the consumerism that is choking everything up.

We need to be united and courageous.

I am happy as I am. I am proud and not ashamed. I am not a bitch.
And I am not a crazy liar.

Edited to add:
I've seen a lot of people swearing some articles of clothing were handmade. First these people are neophytes and don't even know how clothes are built.
Second: how come you can assert a garnment is handmade? A sewing machine will be used in every case, being a independant clothing designer or a factory.
The proofs are elsewhere.


thimblescratch said...

Hyena that was a beautiful post. You said it better than I could have and I don't have anything else to add!

I think I will start adding a little blurb at the end of all my items explaining to buy from those who you know it is handmade, and to be wary of 'if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is'...

Happy creating my friend!

Stereoette said...

right on hyena ;o)

Sharon said...

This is an excellent blog post and one that every genuine artisian appreciates very much.

Shaz :)

Ang @ Purple Sage Designz Hippie Crafting said...

I agree with you all the way.

Anonymous said...

ah, this post is full of holes.
if somebody is making a lot of items of clothing, it would make sense for them to be folded while in storage - hanging things takes up way more space. for all you know, the maker may even send the stuff to somebody else for photographing.

Recycled By Hyena said...

Ah the era of the no-balls anonymous again!! When I speak about courage...

So as I am honest, I will even publish the negative comments. But debulk them:

Do you know what Haute Couture is? If yes, even if they have 40 garnments in a collection, not one is fold. Not one.

If you are a independant clothing designer, to achieve such creases on a clothes, you would have to spend an awful time ironing it.

And the maker sending "stuff" (how do I hate that word): yes, sure, every independant clothing designer do that.

So what you are saying is basically these people are able to sew by themselves hundred of garnments a month, plus they spend at least 30 min a clothing to iron them and make crease to fold them flat flat flat.
And then, they send their items to someone to take pictures of them?

Who is living in Lalaland now?

Look at your own reasoning because accusing the one of others to be full of holes.

Plus I know a seller on etsy who produce a lot, sell a lot, and OH, not a crease nowhere on her clothing?

And weirdly, she is totally legit and she rocks.

RunzwithScissors said...

How true, how true. It always amazes me that people try to say one is "jealous" when one says something about a misrepresentation of items for sale. It's not about jealousy -- it's about basic trust that buyers have. So they can believe that they are getting a genuine unique creation. I'd hate for them to lump me with all the mass-produced stuff...I put my own heart into what I create.

Recycled By Hyena said...

Thank you all for your clever and nice message, and your courage to show off your name.

I got some coward message and the bottom line is we are a mentally ill mob!! This was too funny not to be repeated...hahahha

Runz, yes, it is a matter of creating, and really artist and artisan and creators of all sort put their heart in what they do.

morgansilk said...

You are absolutely right-- and anyone who wants to disagree can do so all they want, but artisans know their medium, and cannot be fooled by fakes. That is what the mass-producers don't want anyone to know-- that reasons and examples cannot completely explain that we KNOW the items are mass produced, proof or no.
And Those Who Sell Mass Produced do not care what we think-- they want everyone else to doubt the true artisans, so they cast doubt on examples.
We can see you a mile away, so don't try to fool us. If you argue, we know you have something to hide.
Right on.

creativesundries said...

Hyena, you are awesome. Wonderful post!!!!

Sarah :-)