When people are asked the question, “Where do you shop when you are looking for something you need, such as furniture or fixtures?” Amazon comes to mind for a good share. In a culture already bent toward immediate gratification, we’ve become habituated to choosing the most convenient path to get what we want, especially since the pandemic pushed us toward online shopping.
Not everyone is satisfied with prefabbed materials and cookie-cutter designs. When it comes to owning unique one-of-a-kind articles or things only a few people in the world have, artisans have much to offer today’s consumers. Unlike online outlets that often benefit a handful of sellers, shopping with artisans benefits the global economy by creating jobs in our communities and helping everyday people support their families.
Is the Economic Impact Significant?
Since 2020, the global handicraft industry is said to be valued at $466 billion. This doesn’t mean all artisans are raking in cash hand-over-fist. Oftentimes makers aren’t fairly compensated, not to mention recognized, for their handiwork.
Artisan enterprises go beyond the holiday boutiques and summer festivals, although both provide valuable opportunities to make and sell. In Kern County, the First Fridays ArtWalk and Fall Festivals offer space to our local artists and artisans, and the Arts Council of Kern recently announced a Community Grants program for 2023.
Artisans represent a sizable market that stretches beyond the domestic enterprise. They connect us (consumers) to people and cultures around the world, some in countries for whom these artisan enterprises are the economic mainstay. More than this, in certain parts of the world, our support helps artisans preserve their cultures.