About two months ago I came across Etsy.com in the search for an alternative venue to Ebay. It turned out to be the gateway to my indie design experience.
Wikipedia defines indie design as, "...independent designers, artists and craftspeople who design and make a wide array of products without being part of large, industrialized businesses." Two months ago I didn't even know it existed, now I'm discovering Etsy is the tip of the indie iceberg. This is a huge, worldwide movement, a community, perhaps even a revolution!
The reasons for being indie are as varied as the designers themselves. For some, it's about social justice. For others, their environmental concerns are forefront. Some simply find it a satisfying way to earn a living. Whatever the individual's motivation, the community is growing by leaps and bounds.
The latest chapter of the saga is the Handmade Pledge, brainchild of the Handmade Consortium which consists of several of the bigger names in indie. Why buy handmade? Buyhandmade.org states, "Buying handmade is better for people, better for the environment, and better for giving truly special and well-crafted gifts. The ascendancy of chain store culture and global manufacturing has left us all dressing, furnishing, and decorating alike. The connection between producer and consumer has been lost. Buying handmade helps them reconnect. We encourage all consumers to be aware of the social and environmental implications of their purchases." While buyhandmade.org has only existed for a few short weeks, over 3000 pledges have already been registered.
New indie themed websites and blogs are popping up almost daily. The newest of these are poppytalkhandmade.com and shop.indiefixx.com. The big mommas are still Etsy.com, mintd.com, trunkt.org and indiepublic.com. Blog-wise, you can easily find support for designers, business tips, seller features and shopping guides galore.
Although they may not put the big box stores out of business, desire for unique, handcrafted, environmentally and socially conscious items for home, body and gifting is making an impact worldwide.