xmlns:fb='http://ogp.me/ns/fb#' OriginalStitch: Top Tips on Shopping Eco 2: Buy British Handmade

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Top Tips on Shopping Eco 2: Buy British Handmade

Buy from someone else, please.

Now, in the spirit of truthfulness and for the benefit of all peoplekind, I'm going to recommend to you our competitors.

Er, what?

Not our competitors', ours ours ours!
You know the bit where The Husb claps his hands on his head and pulls handfuls of hair precisely in the opposite direction of the follicles?  Yes; this, one such.  Ok, so maybe it's not the best business idea, but if I am to promote British, hand-made, locally crafted works of beauty, like our products, then I must champion us all, I tell you. Up the hand-made! So to speak.

Britain is full of such astonishing artistic talent, selling products for, I promise you, much lower prices than you might imagine.  So you can buy good-value, beautiful stuff, and do your bit for your carbon footprint by buying British-made.
Latest haul, netted in Charity shops.  Look at the chandeliers!

Now we here are all about eco-friendly, so our products use only vintage, pre-loved or recycled materials, but you don't have to go so earth-gentle to do your bit - simply buying from an individual who has made their product on these 'ere shores will be helping to reduce your environmental impact, because you can be sure your product was made in a loving home, not a vast soul-less factory with unhappy workers paid pitiful wages for soul-destroying hours, shipped vast distances to reach you.

Gimme! Gimme names!

Christmas pressie from Quirky Thistle, aka Mum. Keeping me warm one lap at a time
Where to find these things, and be sure they're made here, you might wonder?  Many small-scale makers are championed by a great website called Folksy, an amazing treasure trove of artist-makers, working from home, selling their wares.  Everything you can buy there will be hand-made, and in most cases unique - that's the bonus of individually made pieces.  I'm not talking just fabric, I'm talking ceramics, wood, prints, jewellery, clothing, and a whole bunch more, including the Old Apple Tree whence I fell, though she won't be too pleased about being called Old. Yes, me old Mum will soon have a shop up there to sell her lovely quilts to people for money, instead of making them free, for me.
Darn you.
Darn you all, you greedy, good-for-nothing workshy customers, you!
Sorry. Now I owe her a blog post once her shop's up.  And she'll clip my ear when she sees me.  Darn it.

And I promise you, these things are often not expensive.  I bought many Christmas presents from makers at Folksy, except, I admit, for the toxic unmentionables Father Christmas informed me were on the Daughts' Christmas List.  Fair do, Santa, I said. Ones own children are not always the best proponents of ones work.  Said Hetty, and I quote, after I foolishly asked her if she liked something I'd made "Not much, Mummy, I don't really like fabric".  Or Isla "Yeah, no, I don't like those colours, Mummy, and you know, it's, like, not made from plastic teenage upward inflection and sneer?"
Down we go, aaaaaand Bump. Hi Earth, only me.

Yanyhoo....Notonthehighstreet is another great online retailer pointing you towards fab makers based in Britain. And there are many organisations out there which showcase and promote British designers and makers - you can see my badge here on this blog for UK Handmade, another community which supports the work of UK based makers.

And to top it all, we are delighted to have been approved as a seller on FromBritainWithLove, a beautiful website dedicated to showcasing and routing you to Britain's most talented designers, crafstpeople, producers and retailers.  We're thrilled to be on there, because there are some big names and fabulous products on there, and that's very exciting for us.  Hoorah!  Up the OriginalStitch!  You know, I mean, not literally.

Find us on From Britain With Love
So, listen here then - if you're a maker - please leave a comment below with your website, folksy, or facebook details, and if you're a reader-buyer, then do have a look at all these lovely places, and come back to see who's left their details here.  I don't mind sharing, because that's another thing - this is a friendly community that helps its fellow crafters out, and for buyers that translates to great customer service.  Home makers bust an absolute gut to get customers' orders right for you, ain't that right, you makers?  Yeah!  Up the workers!  So to speak.

And here's some fun: We're going to select a maker at random from the comments, buy one of their products, and offer it as a giveaway in a blog post coming soon.

So, come say hi, leave a little comment and your shop's details.  Looking forward to hearing from you!  And you reader-buyers, take a little time to check out these places; you'll be happy with what you see.


Bev said...

Hi from Bev at Bits and Bob's Crafts. This is great idea to share what we do and what we make. I use alot of end of line, upcycled and recycled raw materials for my knitting, crochet and sewn accessories and gifts. http://www.folksy.com/shops/BitandBobsCrafts
I also have a blog with some free patterns!: http://bitsandbobscrafts.blogspot.com/

jessbug said...

This is what it's all about helping out other small business folks. And buying local is great even if it's not made by re-cycling old materials- I make toys and hot water bottles and whilst it's not all recycled I get to markets on my bike and then set up the bike up as a stall-so that's my contribution to the environment.

You can see pics of my bike stall and toys at -


Julie Kirk said...

What a wonderful sentiment for a post. Thanks for the opportunity to share my vintage paper badges and collages with your readers: http://www.etsy.com/shop/JulieKirk

Warm regards,
Julie :-)

Catherine said...

Hi Jess, Bev and Julie! Lovely things you sell, I'm drooling a little bit...!
x x x

FeltLikeStitchin said...

How very generous of you to support your fellow Brits:) I'm sure your Mum's Folksy shop will be wonderful judging by the beautiful quilt in your pic!

You can find my handmade British goodies here:

Helen Hallows said...

What a love in! Thanks for promoting all the places to buy from makers who have great passion for what they do. And well done to your husband for buying you one of my coasters! See more at http://www.folksy.com/shops/helenhallows
and at www.helenhallows.com


thelinencat said...

Good morning Catherine.

What a great post and a great idea. I try to buy from fellow UK makers whenever possible, then blog about my buys over at http://thelinencat.wordpress.com/ to spread the word (sadly, my boys also prefer plastic - boo hoo). I sell a range of my own textile designs from Softies to Purses at Folksy http://folksy.com/shops/thelinencat and http://www.thelinencat.com/.

Thanks for a chance to wave my litte flag, you rock!


Catherine said...

Hi to FeltLikeStitchin, Helen and Beth! FeltLikdStitchin is new to me, lovely stuff! But I have bought from Beth and Helen before, and can vouch for their beautiful things. Very talented ladies.
x x x

Amanda Jane said...

Yes Catherine, brilliant idea but its already cost me money! Couldn't resist Feltlikestitchings' Didi Doll creations. Supporting each other is a brilliant idea. I bought most of my Christmas presents at craft fayres this year, never hit the high street at all in fact. Did buy the teenagers netbooks online though, but will consider making them a recycled cover!

Catherine said...

Well, you know, since we designed one....! Now where did I put that pattern....?!!? Will you do your boys a netbook bag in the lovely colours we have on the website? No?!

Sarah said...

Sarah here from Ditsy Bird Designs. What a fabulous post and a cracking plan...up the UK handmade! yay!

I'll be coming back here for names/websites to add to my own virtual, local high street address book.

You can find my children's canvases at
My stitcheries & beaded goodies at...
and cards and stationery made from My scribbles at...
My ramblings can be found as
www.ditsybirddesigns.blogspot.com & www.facebook.con/ditsybird
One day I'll get all coordinated and have it all in one spot of my very own...my own nest, if you like.

Happy UK shopping everyone
thanks for this Catherine!

Jemma Kindel said...

I also love the Handmade in Britain shows, find some great designers that make the most brilliant crafts, and yes as you say some not as expensive as you might think!

TopCat76 said...

Hi, I'm Tracey and you can find my hand-made bits and bobs in my folksy store here:http://www.folksy.com/shops/traceychorley
I love what you're doing here and am going to subscribe to your blog too, found you through a tweet by thelinencat!
I also blog here: http://topcat76.blogspot.com/

Tracey x

Catherine said...

Hi Sarah, Tracey and Jemma! More smashing stuff, and I love the blog links too. Will come and visit you all x x x

Shelagh said...

The chandeliers, oh how I covet that.
My head is buzzing with things to do, but I must stick to the seaside theme which will soon be coming to Quirky Thistle.

Catherine said...

Better make a note to hide the chandeliers then!
Love the seasidey quilts, I think they're a great idea - timeless.
x x x

FullertonRegan said...

"Yeah, no, I don't like those colours, Mummy, and you know, it's, like, not made from plastic teenage upward inflection and sneer?"

BwaAHahahHAahAHhaAHAHAHAA!!!!!! I got tears in my eyes! Oh honey, I totally hear that. My only hope with the deep dive into all of this crafting and sewing and making my own stuff is that one day my daughter will have somehow absorbed it against her knowledge and will find her hands beginning to itch with the need for work. And then she'll know who to ask. But the eye rolls and snark will last for a bit before that comes around. Le sigh!

Catherine said...

Ha! Worse, Isla's not even a teenager - she's 5. But she's still doing that upward inflection thing? Don't get me wrong, I do it myself, and I bet you do coz you's from over the pond yonder! Oh and I hope you didn't feel left out by the Britness of this post. I'd better do an "Our Friends in America" post next. Up the Americans! Hooorah!

AngelEden said...

What a great idea! I love championing all things British and handmade. I love the excitement of discovering a new seller that I had previously been unaware of.

Personally you can find us on FromBritainWithLove and UKHandmade, our website is www.angeleden.co.uk and the blog www.angeleden.blogspot.com.


sweetmyrtle said...

yay to Handmade, recycling and ethical purchasing! i so agree, we must champion all handmade in the uk and this post promoting it is great. as an eco girl myself i love what you are doing (just heard about you via sew directory's tweet).
warmest wishes