How often do you purchase a handbag online? Like, seldom, right? Why would you when there are so many choices in stores? You can compare them all by size, color, material, style, virtually by any criteria. The biggest advantage over shopping online is that you can hold the bag in your hands, look inside, check out the features and options. Shopping out here on the web? Not so much .
But wait, why are there so many websites selling handbags then? Well, for one, all of the big name designers obviously want to make sure they are reaching their customers via all sources of advertising. That makes it very convenient for shoppers to check out a bag in the store and then purchase online and vice-versa. Secondly, not having a website, even for individual entreprenuers, is like not having a cell phone. Inconceivable!
That's pretty tough competition for small fries like me who design and create unique handmade bags and have few resources other than the web to advertise. It seems fairly risky to make a purchase from an unknown artist, right? But what if you decided to find out more about an independent artist or crafter, their materials, methods of operations and their policies that would make that purchase less of a gamble? Would it make a difference if you knew more about the person that was actually doing the work? Does it matter to you what country a handbag is create in? Is it important that you could make a phone call to talk to the owner of a small business about one of their products?
All of these questions and more are excellent reasons to reject the mass produced products which are mostly made in third world countries and profit only large corporations. Yes, they make it convenient. Yes, the well known designers offer attractive bags. Yes, there is the investment and prestige factor.
Now let me tell you about the advantages of making a purchase from BeautifulBagsEtc. You can click over to my About the Artist page and read my story if you want to take the time. If not, the short story is that I've been sewing on industrial machines most of my life, mostly earning a living doing custom furniture upholstery work from my home workshop and now, for the past five years, making leather handbags. I've had the opportunity, throughout the years, to experience working with the best of leather hides and tapestries. I've also seen the result and disappointment of imported products made with questionable goods. There is surely merit to the phrase "garbage in - garbage out".
This is why the descriptions of my bags are long and wordy. This is why there are big clear photos of the actual bag available, not one that "kind of, sort of" looks like it. I want you to know what to expect. I want you to understand that there is a real difference and alternative to imported, over-priced, functionally inferior, mass produced handbags.
I could go on and on about how the women's accessories industry fabricates half truths about their products but I'm pretty sure you know something about that already. What you may not realize is how much power you have when making a purchase from a small business owner, the cyclical effect it has on the American economy which, when you think about it, includes even your own job security. It's one of the best trades you can make!!
"Every time you spend money, you're casting a vote for the kind of world you want."
Anna Lappe, O Magazine, June 2003
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