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.

Jan 10, 2008

Custom order

There is something special with custom orders. When you do things yourselve, it allows you to be totally free. You can invent, create, assemble elements the way you want. That kind of freedom can sometimes be a little scary. The white page angst. Which I never really had. I always have tons of ideas. But fortunately, art is long and time is short and from the idea to the realisation there is a more or less long path.

From time to time, someone asks me to create something, following some requierements, a designed based on something I've already created but with some modification or a design based on an already existing object which I have to get inspiration from... A custom order.

I love to work with the person. I love to find a just middle between what the person wants and what I want. Because as much as I want to please my customer, as much I want to have fun doing the order. I think having pleasures doing something always reflects on it.

I had several orders recently and in my opinion, they turned out very well. Apparently my customers are happy too.

I will start with that star based on an existing design of mine. Barbara wanted a star all the same, but very "silvery"! 
The idea to work with silver material never really crossed my mind. 

Also, check out the blog of my customer who was amazing again and featured my little creation:
to Woof Nanny's blog