Everyones probably saw those things that pop up on your Facebook with hand written signs saying something like "When you buy from a local business you help little Timmy get a football strip and wee Jenny go to a dance class" blah blah blah. That might be close to it but I think its more like "You can help the stress head who decided to work for himself to pay his mortgage for the month and hopefully he'll be able to eat something too"
Working for yourself is funny and can be a bit mental at times. I'm sure every industry has a cheaper alternative from overseas, what can you do? Some times you only need something cheap, you don't expect it to last and don't need to get it handmade. Fair enough, that's cool. When you need something that you can find online or from Ikea and its something like a kitchen or wardrobe or table or whatever you will need to get someone to make it. Like this unit I made early last year
There was a space and they wanted aged copper doors, nowhere seems to have something like this in stock, something just the right size to fit in between the window and the door and something in this colour either. They had to get it made.
This took 3 different trades to bring this together, I had the metal worker, the spray finisher and me. It looks great and theres not another one like it, it cost way more than a few makeshift units from Ikea but it's the main piece in the kitchen and the house is beautiful so the piece fitted great. They chose handmade, they chose right.
Another job that I done last year was some front storm doors. It was for a holiday home and they had some guys staying who got drunk and couldn't get back in the house so they smashed through the door.
They couldn't go and buy new storm doors that would fit a house about a hundred years old so they had to get them made. I used all the old ironmongery and they had some paint left over from the old doors, it kept the cost down. There was't really an option for them other than to get them made. There wasn't a cheaper alternative. I done a video of the making of these doors, its on the YouTube (top right of the page is the YouTube button, hit it and you go to YouTube) The doors work as they should, the house is beautiful so the folks done the right thing and got something that was made to measure.
I got a call one afternoon from a guy who saw my website and asked me to make some doors for him.
He couldn't buy doors to fit his place, there was an option to pack out the door frame to get the right width but then he had trouble with the height. He was looking for something other than oak to keep the cost down but he wanted to varnish them so we went for oak, I done a good deal on the doors too. He was happy and his house looks nice now with the new oak doors fitted. He chose handmade, he chose right.
I'm pretty flexible when it comes to handmade stuff. There's some folk can afford it but only choose the cheaper alternative and would never buy something from me, theres the folk who can afford it and enjoy handmade stuff that they have had a part in designing and there's the folk who save for handmade stuff but just find it a bit out of reach, I'll work with folk to their budgets and see what we can do. I'm not one for haggling with the price but I get folk who haggle as if we're in Marrakesh and I'm selling them a rug, I've priced some jobs and would have liked to do the job but the folk take the price and I hear nothing back. Sometimes I wish they'd haggle a bit or give me an idea of what they've got to spend then we can work something out.
So buying handmade furniture, handmade doors or handmade kitchens isn't crazily expensive. Be bold and haggle a bit, you might get a better deal. Buying something mass produced has it's place too but furniture is always better if its handmade with a story behind it.
Until next time :)