I wanted to sort of editorialize about handmade goods before I go any farther with the Artfire advertising train.
So much of society has gotten used to running to the local huge discount store and getting whatever they need in close to an instant, that they have forgotten about the creativity and love that go into handmade goods. When you run into that huge superstore and buy a gift, you forget that 10,000 other people, or more, have the same item. I grew up in an era where individuality was important, not mass produced clone clothes, toys or other stuff. I've always marched to my own drummer-especailly when it comes to fashion. I wear what I like and what's comfortable-not what's "in". My son once called my style "hippie surfer flower child chic". ( I will admit that I was thrilled when bell bottoms came back in style. LOL! )
There is a huge movement of people making handmade items now-everything from little baby hats, to jewelry to funiture and everything else in between. For the vast majority of those of us who create unique, one of a kind things, we do it because we love it. Great care is put into each piece from creating a design to selecting color and material. Many people are now choosing to be organic as possible with their materials. It is then made with much attention to detail. All this results in a fantastic product that you will not see on somebody when you run to your kids school for something or anywhere else you go when you run errands.
Yes, sometimes handmade also means a little more money. Didn't your mama ever tell you that you get what you pay for? A handmade product is bound to last much longer than a mass produced one because people make better things than machines do. It's worth the little extra money. Yes, I know there is shipping and handling. It isn't that much unless you order a 200 lb. chair from somebody. Besides, with the economy now, a lot of people who make small , easily packaged things are offering reduced shipping or even free shipping. Since I sell online, I've started buying more online. One thing I have noticed-shipping costs are less than the cost of gas it would take me to run around looking for that "whatever" I am looking for.
So, the next time you need that special gift for that special person or pet in your life, look at some of the handmade selling venues first. Artfire is great, etsy is good and there are others-silkfair, indiepublic, etc.. (I'm not talking about that huge yard sale they call Ebay/feebay.) You can sit back, chill with the beverage of your choice in the comfort of your own domicile and shop till you drop without going anywhere. Try it, I think you will like it.