Wednesday, December 7, 2011

What Does Sustainability Mean to You?

A while back  I was thinking about how when people build houses now, they don't often build them with the mentality of passing them down generation after generation the way they used to. Homes often aren't built with quality enough materials to be able to truly stand the test of time. I wonder if it isn't a byproduct of being the age of throw-out-and-upgrade. People don't, in general, buy with the intent of items lasting through generations anymore (although it seems this has been changing more and more in the last few years). This leads me back to the currently fashionable word "sustainability."

To me, it means creating something lasting--in whatever form that may be. In the context of handmade businesses, this may mean creating an heirloom quality piece, making something that will stand the test of time and not become a yearly re-buy for the customer, and creating lasting relationships with your customers who come to value your work even more through knowing who you are and how it came into being.

 On the Aspiring Artisans Guild, we are all micro business owners. In order to thrive in this economic climate, we've had to look at ways to make our business models sustainable in the long run. Partnering with Artisans Gallery Team in a project titled "People and Planet First" I would like to open up discussion here: What does "sustainability" in the context of a handmade business mean to you?


  1. I agree. Sustainability more or less = longevity. Creating a balanced, sustainable business model for me means accounting for both my personal well being (something that makes me happy, provides financial stability) and the satisfaction of my customers through unique handmade products that bring smiles to their faces. And I think a lot of small handmade businesses out there contribute to the sustainability of the earth by providing quality (and lasting) alternatives for all types of products. I'm excited about the transition away from the "throw-out" mentality you mentioned and have definitely been making the transition in my own home/closet/etc. It's refreshing and it feels good.

  2. Most of the artisans I know have a deep desire to live honestly and ethically, and to use sustainable and eco friendly practices. I think the drive to create is tied in somewhere with the desire to make the world a better place. It's one of the reasons I enjoy buying handmade.