K was sent this most awesome tongue-in-cheek quote the other day from a fabulous friend of hers, and I absolutely loved it! And it’s true, you know. Handmade is widely supposed to be cheap. This mindset is something we encounter a lot in our journey as Fire & Rain. One of the toughest things for us, and I suppose any handmade business, is this question of pricing. How do you ensure that you cover your own expenses, and at the same time, stay competitive with mass-produced items? And our expenses can run to pretty serious amounts, what with our love for Swarovski and sterling silver!
But the pricing issue isn’t really what I want to talk about. Our goal has been, and always will be, to create pieces that we love, and that we are proud of. This is the essence of anything handmade. Creating something seems like a solitary activity, but I believe that the process is shared by every single person who stops by our stall, or clicks through our photo albums, or reads our blog. We put a little bit of ourselves into each of our pieces, and every time someone admires our jewellery or likes a photo, they put a little bit of themselves into the piece, too. If no one bought or even saw my jewellery, I’d still make it, because it’s one way I pay homage to my muse. But every time someone says they like a particular piece, or even that a piece didn’t work for them, then my making something becomes more meaningful. It becomes the spark that sets off a whole different kind of communication and interaction, that I believe, leaves both parties the better for it having happened. Even if no purchase was made.
As K and I make things, we, of course, make them to be worn. It’s not our intention to gloat, Uncle Scrooge-like, over boxes of sparklies hidden away in our closets. But like I’ve said before, each piece has a particular frequency, and this has to match that of the potential customer. It’s something like wands in the Harry Potter world, if I may be so bold as to claim such kinship. So some pieces find homes immediately, and some still wait for their perfect match.
In today’s world, where ‘handmade’ is fast becoming a tag of somewhat dubious distinction, I’d like to take a moment to really think about the word, and what it means to me. Our jewellery is handcrafted with immense amounts of thought, care and passion. Yes, it takes much longer to make each piece. Yes, sometimes, there are irregularities because of the nature of our work. But having said all this, I still feel that there’s a charm to things handmade that nothing else can match. To us, handmade is not synonymous with sloppy, or poor quality, like a lot of people seem to think. If you purchase something handmade, or receive something handmade as a gift, I would like to point out that whatever you’ve received is the product of someone’s time, vision and talent, often with no thought of money, or cost while it’s being made. It was formed by someone pouring the best of themselves into its creation.
And it is, most definitely, by no means ‘cheap’.