Want to take a 21st century style small village shopping stroll?
I’m not talking about walking around while reading a novel. Although, you could have a book in one hand if you’d like. But no, I’m talking about supporting small businesses. And by small businesses, I mean individual artisans who sell handmade products. FOr those who want to support them, the internet is like the new 1950’s small village business stroll. We don’t have to worry about the chain stores on every corner. We can actually support each other again, supporting individual makers and small businesses… online. The internet has brought us full circle. With little effort, we can support individual creatives in our community and around the world.
The next time you want to find a new piece of jewelry, or want to find a unique gift for someone’s birthday, consider supporting an individual seller of handmade products. I suggest starting your search in Instagram because it doesn’t narrow your search results to just one shopping source. Everyone is on Instagram, especially the creative community. But there are many ways that sellers actually sell, not just via an Etsy listing. Many craft sellers and artisans sell from other third-party listing sites, or their own website, or take custom orders directly through Instagram.
There is a way to not only find the perfect thing, but to do so in a way that is easier than driving to the mall. Open up your trusty Instagram app and search the hashtag of what you are looking for, along with the word “handmade”. For example, #handmadejewelry or #handmademugs. If you don’t have an exact type of product in mind, you could search within your community by searching #handmadeincalifornia, for example. Some other great trending hashtags being used by artisans on Instagram are #makersgonnamake, #supporthemakers, and #helloimhandmade. Remember to check both the top posts and the recent posts for your search which are tabbed along the top of the search results as “top” and “recent”.
Don’t be surprised if you find so many amazing gift ideas that you end up ready for the holidays 3 months in advance! It feels good knowing that you are blessing 2 people at once when you purchase from an individual artisan; the gift recipient (even if that is yourself), and the maker. Next time you shop, help someone’s dreams come true. That is, the dream of making money with their creative talents. Let’s Support handmade, and yes you could even do it with your nose stuck in a book.
If you know of any good hashtags used by craft sellers and artisans please share them in the comments!
Marina Yamamoto is the author of a children’s book called Ballerina Birdies, and a business coach for craft sellers at Yamamotive where she provides motivation for handmade product businesses.