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BUSINESS: Buy Handmade Campaign by Karen Jinks of www.chalkhillstudio.co.uk


When we started UK Handmade three years ago, it coincided with the Credit Crunch when businesses started to reduce their advertising budgets and money to expand was not forthcoming. Everyone started to tighten their belts and the makers joining our forum at the time were predominantly female, mid 30’s with children in tow, trying to find a way to bring in extra money to help with the household budget yet still be around for the family.


Fast forward three years and the subsequent recession has seen our members change to include both men and women who have either been made redundant or have chosen to leave a fast-paced lifestyle and start a new career, fulfilling past dreams and creating a better future


20 | ukhandmade | Spring 2012


for all concerned. We are all told that a recession is a good time to start a new business and our forum is testament to that with almost 4000 members and growing daily!


So what accounts for this trend towards a more creative, self -sustaining lifestyle and will it last? It’s easy for us to say that it will, because the people who join us already understand our ethos and why we advocate buying handmade. The question is how to reach the rest of the UK population who want or need to buy cheap high street goods whilst at the same time encouraging designer-makers to charge fair prices and not undervalue their work? I’ve struggled with this contradiction from the beginning and finally decided that the best thing we can do is to educate as many people


as we can to the real value of handmade, as well as the benefits it can bring economically and socially.


UK Handmade was created by designer-makers and exists purely to support designer-makers. We believe in collaboration and sharing and our experience and sheer strength in numbers enables us to reach far and wide quickly and effectively. This is the foundation from which we have launched the buy handmade campaign to spread the word about how great handmade products are, the added value in terms of consumer satisfaction of buying from designer-makers and the difference it can make to people’s lives. It sounds impressive, but I firmly believe there is a cultural shift occurring in the UK and we can all do our bit to help it along.


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