The Danger of DIY Culture: Your Thoughts

I just had to share all the fantastic comments on the danger of diy culture. You all are just so dang smart and I’m so enjoying continuing this conversation with you.

Keeping up with laundry and planning meals on top of a full-time job and an adorable baby is more than enough for me … even if there are a few DIY projects on the back-burner, I need to know when to buy and support others. There’s plenty of other people in the same position I am, and we can’t call ourselves a community until we’re willing to keep each other going together.
– .tif,

I often purchase items that I could very well make myself, but will NOT. Why? Because I didn’t conceptualize those items. Someone else did, so I prefer to credit that person and support his/her work by buying it. We need to ensure that diy does not become a movement where people make everything themselves without actually thinking creatively for themselves.
– Becky, tortillagirl

It is impossible to hone your craft if you are constantly diverted with other DIY tasks. Often it is out of necessity that we have to DIO, but when the time finally comes and you have the means to outsource or buy from others it is such a satisfying feeling and such a relief. Because finally you don’t HAVE to do EVERYTHING yourself. Then you can become REALLY good at what you do and others will be more likely to buy from you.

my husband and i don’t have much money. he makes a decent salary and my business is growing steadily, but we’re about nose-deep in student loan debt. we have enough to have the things we need, but not much more than that, and sometimes when emergencies arise, we find ourselves in a pinch.

and yet more and more i find myself hiring out things that we could do. the further i get into this indie biz thing, the more i find myself not only needing to have other people do things that i don’t have the time to do, but wanting to support the folks who bust their asses out there to eke out the same meager wage we’re eking out. so we hired the local bug guy to help us with our carpenter ants (they live in our trees, but we will NOT let them take over our house) and we’re going to have someone come in and do a one-time major clean of the house. we’re the last people you’d think would be hiring maids or whatever, but you know what? i value the fact that there are people out there who are far more skilled and knowledgeable about things like how to clean mildew off a bathroom ceiling, and i’d like to help those people put food on their tables.

it’s not like we go to the movies anymore or spend our money on concerts these days. we’ve got two tiny kids. so i like knowing that i’m spending my money on things (and people) that make my life and someone else’s that much better.
– julie, up up creative

This is true. I think the DIY culture is currently reflecting the different phases that a small entreprenuer goes through. In the beginning, Quicken and Photoshop can be a God send because you don’t have any money. Then, you start making money and realizing you can’t or don’t want to do it all, so you hire or outsource. I think there is space for both as there will always be people at different stages.

I also think bartering/trading should continue to be a good consideration in small biz circles.

– Elizabeth, things bright

This is a very important point that I think needs to be reinforced with indie crafters. Other considerations:
-spreading the word-
That accountant may not *yet* purchase indie crafts, or any crafts, but their exposure to you may make them rethink their own buying decisions.
-marketing your work-
Perhaps advertising on that indie craft blog might not be the best way to promote your work. Or it might. Unless that blog is nothing but ‘here’s how to make this craft project’ directions…
-creating your work-
Items that have a very, very ‘handmade’ look my only appeal to those who can already make them. Learn to properly finish a seam, completely hide that solder line, finish that binding with secure knots. Craftsmanship that comes from long practice is always admirable.
– Cynthia, Shiny Little Things

{photo by me}

2 thoughts on “The Danger of DIY Culture: Your Thoughts

  1. Thank you for including me. I’m not sure how I missed this post the other day, but it’s really fun to come back and see the other great comments I missed and be reminded of what a fantastic community this is.

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