I recently learned about the 3/50 Project from fellow Etsians. Basically, the website promotes shopping at three different independently-owned stores every month, spending $50 at each location. According to the 3/50 project, if every employed person in the USA accomplished this, it would generate more than $42.6 billion in revenue.
It's a cool idea. I like the concept of supporting the "mom and pop" shops that give character and life to towns all across America. This project inspired me to build on this philosophy. How about committing to purchasing from an independent artisan every month (or every six months or year, depending on your budget)? For many people, times are tough. However, here are a few ways you can support other sellers without breaking the bank:
Buy crafting supplies online from Etsy sellers. Many shops offer digital ephemera, which you can print out yourself. This saves on shipping. Or buy several different kinds of supplies from one seller to economize on shipping prices. I always love to see sellers who link back to the supply seller when selling a handmade item!
Forgo buying your best friend's birthday present at Target. Buy something handmade that is the same price you would have spent at Target. I have one friend in Italy. I have sent her gifts from various Italian Etsy shops (when I live in the USA), which enables me to save on shipping by shopping "locally."
If you are the purveyor of your own Etsy shop, check out trade-friendly shops and offer to do a swap in goods. While this idea will not necessarily support the artisan financially, it is a good way to gain friends in the handmade community, swap business cards/promos to include in outgoing purchases, etc.
If you are making a baby or wedding registry, ask for handmade gifts. There are several registry websites that allow for different stores or shops to be represented on one wish list. Try MyRegistry or WishPot.
Throw a handmade party! Buy invitations, decorations, and even little gifts for the guests from Etsy, Artfire, etc. Perhaps have a theme such as "Spa Night." Purchase handmade samples of soaps, lotions, perfume, cosmetics, etc. for guests to try. Or try out a craft by purchasing a kit from an Etsy seller.
What's your idea? Please share by commenting below...