what’s mine is yours: craft & collaborative consumption

recycled wallet by seaoats - via papernstitch - click image to see more

As we find ourselves in the second week of a new year, it’s time to guess what will be coming in the next 50 weeks. Trends! What’s new? What’s hot? What will so-and-so do this year?

One trend gaining momentum in 2011 is collaborative consumption. Collaborative consumption is the idea that we can get by with less if we have more accesss to what we need. We don’t need to own a car, a bike, a vacation house, or a fancy dress to be truly happy.

Just like many of the consumer trends of the last decade, the new arts & crafts movement is ahead of the game. You will see both collaborative consumption & collaborative production on Etsy, Twitter, and Facebook. People are looking to make & buy with an eye for sustainability, not just in raw materials but in the what-goes-around-comes-around of it all.

How can you indulge in a littler collaborative consumption and become a trend maker?

1. Think about where you get your supplies.
Search Etsy for people selling their scraps and leftovers. Partner with a group of makers to buy your supplies wholesale instead of retail. Organize a supply swap with other local crafters.

2. Try Swap Bot. You can collaboratively consume just about anything using Swap Bot. It’s a great way to get exposed to art & craft from around the world.

3. Splurge on that dress/bag/jewelry you want. Since handmade goods are pricier than those coming off the assembly line, buying what you love can seem prohibitive. It’s time to splurge. Use your social networks to find a friend who loves what you love and go halfsies. You wouldn’t wear it all the time, anyhow!

4. Have a party. Invite your friends (and their unwanted clothing) to your place for a party. Mix in some sewing supplies and swap clothes while you repurpose & reclaim something old into something new.

Of course, there’s no wrong way to indulge in this trend. Use your community (both digital and analog), use your brain, and use your money to create a more sustainable paradigm for crafting!

How else can collaborative consumption change the way you craft?

9 thoughts on “what’s mine is yours: craft & collaborative consumption

  1. I’m definitely going to be checking out Swap Bot this year – this isn’t a very handmade-friendly area (we’re more of a ‘Wal-mart or die’ folk in these parts), so having the opportunity to exchange handmade goods with others seems like an awesome opportunity.

  2. I liek the idea of getting together to buy fabric and supplies, I also like the idea of a swap party, hmmm…just need to find some local sewers/ crafters.

  3. I think this has the potential for long-term impact on the handmade community! If, as a maker, I order supplies with a group of makers we can qualify for wholesale prices – savings I can pass on to my buyers, making handmade more affordable. Alternatively, I can keep my prices the same and use the additional profits for splurges on those handmade items I covet. Or maybe do a little of both. There are a lot of winners in this scenario. Thanks for the reminder, Tara. I’m renewing my efforts to find a purchasing group.

  4. This is so timely. As someone who wants to sell art and jewelry, I’ve been struggling with the fact that my business succeeding depends on people consuming. And I don’t like consumer culture. But I like making and I like eating.

    This is something I can wholeheartedly explore and bring into my practice.

  5. it may seem like a splurge to buy a really expensive wallet for say £30 but if it gives you joy every time you open it and you use it for 10 years is £3 per year really that expensive? I say this as someone who bought an all silk hand painted scarf which was more than a weeks wages. I wore it for 10 years and went into mourning when it was STOLEN from me in a cafe.

  6. Beautifully written-“collaborative consumption” is a wonderful term that I hope to someday see in action everywhere. I read the The Green Imperative by the incredible Victor Papanek years ago and it was profound for me. He wrote a whole list of ways to transform our lives/economies including sharing & making collaboratively. I have lived like this for a long time now & have my own clear ethical shopping code that involves a lot of creating/thrifting/sharing/freecycling/giving freely/buying only what I love & what nourishes my creativity. I believe that the minority of us who have long believed in an ethical marketplace that supports our economies & planets & hearts is growing daily. It fills me up with hope and reminds me of a favorite quote from Arhundhati Roy “a different world is not only possible, she is on her way. On a quiet day I can hear her breathing.”

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