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Saturday, May 28, 2011

A positive spin on the Urban Outfitters Debacle

Photo Courtesy of Fiona Bradley

If you travel in handmade circles, and are involved in social media, you've probably heard a lot about the Urban Outfitters PR debacle, where they have yet again been accused of stealing handmade designs. The outrage that this company has yet again failed in the originality department, choosing instead to replicate the work of handmade artists, is certainly justified.

But my first thought, after the initial frustration that the big guy was again taking advantage of the little guy,was not so negative...

Has handmade finally hit the mainstream?

If major retailers are hopping on the bandwagon, I think the answer is yes.

What does that mean for us? Now is the time to continue to educate the public on the benefits of buying handmade from local artists. This could be a pivotal moment, where we reach out and prove our worth to the skeptics, where we prove that buying from us beats buying from the big guy any day of the week.

So I issue a challenge to all artists and bloggers to post at least one reason why it's better to buy handmade from an artist than from a major retailer. We are so immersed in the handmade world, that we often lose the ability to articulate why handmade is better, since we feel it so deeply in our soul. Try to think like the average consumer, who is more concerned with economics and impulse buying. Make those people want to buy from us.

If we can do that, it won't matter what unscrupulous retailer is out there trying to make a dime off our backs. They will no longer be able to.

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