An Indie Biz: Small Batches

“The year of our Ford.” Doesn’t that bring back memories of reading Brave New World in high school? There was an ongoing reference to Ford, as in Ford Motors, throughout the book that told of a disturbing future dystopia where the auto giant was worshiped as a God. Why? It was Ford who invented the assembly line that would create the ability to create goods on a massive scale. “Fordism,” as it was known in the early 1900s, would become the basis for the creation of all kinds of products, from cars and clothes, to food and livestock processing. Thanks to the pervasive influence of this highly efficient means of creation we have sweatshops and planned obsolescence goods (can you hear my sarcasm?).

So how do we go back? How can we resurrect the quality and longevity of items? The short and simple answer: by buying handmade!

I realize that I am preaching to the choir, but it’s important to pause and reflect on why the simple action of purchasing things, be it food, jewelry or soap, from a skilled artisan is revolutionary.

By crafting objects in small batches the creators are reclaiming the process by which things are brought to be. This doesn’t seem like a terribly important revelation, but consider this, a study published  in Psychology Today found that people who didn’t work with their hands once a day had much higher rates of depression. Whether it was doing the dishes in a sink versus an automated dishwasher, the study found that it was tactile actions that keep many of us from falling into slumps. Doesn’t that make you stop and think?

When working on my inventory for upcoming events, as well as the holiday season, I had to keep this premise in mind: I’m adding value and worth to items that I make in a slow and loving process. Rather than churning out 10 dresses in an hour (which I use to do years ago!) I am taking a deep breath and enjoying each step, which in turn results in a better product. My seams are crisper, my cuts are more accurate and I’m not stressed beyond belief!

So next time you’re tempted to fast-forward through the creation of your inventory, whether you’re making art prints or knitting baby booties, stop and think about how making less is more.

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