independent design is clever. practical. power.

clever - necktie accessories
necktie brooch by tweek | necktie neck kerchief by lilian asterfield

whenever i work with a client who needs help defining their brand, i concentrate on crafting a mission: a statement of what she creates – what inspires her – and what her customers gain through her work. it can be very difficult to distill a person’s creative output into a succinct statement of mission. in writing my ebook – launching monday! – i realized it was long overdue to go through the mission statement for scoutie girl.

at handmade in pa, my mission was simple: promoting arts & crafts in pennsylvania. scoutie girl is very different because there are fewer boundaries. what makes this site tick? why do you come back day after day? and i am so very thankful that you do… what string ties together the work that is featured, the feeling you get when you see it, the click you make to visit the shop & make a purchase?

to me, that something is “indie.” itself an indefinable word.

practical - necktie baskets by goodergoods
necktie baskets by goodergoods

indie has an appreciation for what’s past but strives to create something fresh, clever, and practical. indie harnesses creative power to make a statement. indie separates itself from the mass-produced and the uninspired. it learns from others and produces something new.

indie design resonates with anyone who has felt left out when they shop in a big box store, with anyone who never quite fit in as a kid, with anyone who lives each day searching for things that are good & new.

power - necktie necklace, audible fabric neckties
necktie necklace by this ilk | audible fabric necktie by improbable projects

so this is what i came up with for scoutie girl’s mission:

scoutie girl believes in the power of independence, the power of creation, the power of handmade to change the world. we believe that mass-production and rampant consumerism have created a culture that is hungry for “more” & “cheap” – we believe that handmade can change that, reconnect us with our fellow (wo)man and put life back into a bit of perspective… [read more]

no, i can’t quite put my finger on what separates indie craft*design*art from what has come before or might come in the future, but i know that independence from the demands of our times & culture gives us a power that builds us up & gives us strength.

what does indie culture and independent design mean to you?

to read other posts in support of indie design, check out whatdesigners’ independent design blog off.

24 thoughts on “independent design is clever. practical. power.

  1. this holiday season has made me realize how much indie/handmade life and work has changed me. i was at the mall with my friend looking for something for her parents and was almost physically repulsed by the junky crap that was for sale. it made me sad and i wanted to commandeer the PA system and evangelize about handmade work. i didn’t. i kept my thoughts to myself. and inwardly, i shed a small tear.

    indie represents change and discovery to me. i’ve found out so much about myself through being an indie designer and how far from the mainstream i’ve gone in the way i think about buying products. (i must credit my parents for starting this as they are frightfully DIY themselves) i also discover how much talent there is in the world, rather unsung talent. we get the big brands shoved in our faces, but how much do the names and faces of the brands have to do with designing of items? this was something i thought of at the mall, staring at a huge poster for one such ‘designer’.

    i love that when i buy indie i’m supporting someone like me, someone who designed and created the product, who really saw it through most to all stages of the production process. because of this i also feel a sort of connection with the artist in a way that i wouldn’t if i were to buy from big box brands.

    because of this indie also represents community. i’ve met so many helpful and nice people. for getting help with my own brands from places like Think Bakery to working through custom orders and chatting it up on Facebook, indies are a lovely bunch to work with.

    i’m getting long-winded here. this has been a season of epiphanies for me, for a variety of reasons. i hope that indie gains a wider audience and place in the world. i think it deserves it.

  2. Your mission statement reminded me of a book, “A Whole New Mind” by Daniel Pink. He talks about how we are moving away from “left brain” thinking and moving towards “right brain” thinking. He talks about reconnecting and finding more meaning in our lives. I listened to it on cd and I loved it. I think all indie crafters would enjoy it.

    Great mission statement Tara!

  3. The best. Statement. Ever. “we believe that handmade can change that, reconnect us with our fellow (wo)man and put life back into a bit of perspective”
    Absolutely!
    And I totally agree with Becca – “i love that when i buy indie i’m supporting someone like me” and “indie also represents community”
    Wonderful!

  4. Couldn’t agree more.. I “discovered” indie / independent design less than 2 years ago, and my perspective has shifted so much. Like Becca above, I find myself drawn towards the small local business, and away from the shiny malls. I love supporting independent, and I love when others support me.

  5. Independent design and indie culture to me mean a thoughtful, caring and concerned outlook towards things that are made with heart and mind joined together. Mass production and oppressive work ethic are the bane of humane existence. Independent design is engaged with community. It is innovative and free from status quo restraints.

  6. I agree with what the others have said. Indie to me means innovative and conscious and a certain amount of community amongst crafters. I love being new to this ‘scene’ and as someone who creates, I am trying to define what kinds of things I value and want to support. This has been my first holiday truly celebrating hand-makers and I have loved it!

    Your blog is awesome, and I am gaining so much valuable insight here. Thanks so much for doing what you do!

  7. I think indie is separated from the crafts that came before by an appreciation for design and art that is different than the things that use pre-made patterns. Indie is created by the designers, rather than made by a hobbyist who is just copying something out of a book. It may also have a tongue stuck in it’s cheek, and it may have a lot of humor involved… that’s all I got. :)

  8. What a great discussion!

    The two things I think are missing so far is passion and pace. To me indie design is about buying items that have been made by someone who is driven to create – someone who loves what they do and is motivated to share it with the world – even if they don’t have a lot of sales or much recognition. When you buy an item like this you know it was created with great energy and love.

    I think indie and handmade items also speak to a slower pace of life. Since it takes longer for someone to make something by hand, the creator has to slow down and appreciate what they are making. I think when we buy indie, we’re appreciating that effort and reflecting upon that slower lifestyle as well. Plus I think it inspires us to create as well.

  9. This rings so true. I’ve been thinking a lot about my mission statement and how it’s evolved since I started my blog 3.5 years ago. I’m embarking on a new project and expanding for 2010, so it’s really important that I take the time to redefine what indie craft means to me. (And yes, it has become more and more a defining part of who I am, so I need to make sure I express how much it means to me properly to others!)

  10. Its a resurrection of handmade ideals through a fresh perspective. It’s especially a reaction to the glut of big-box store consumerism that spread rampantly in the 90s. Handmade is very relevant again. Its a back to basics, back to the community mentality just like the local food movement. Knowing where your $ is going and knowing where the goods you buy come from.

  11. Now, more then ever, am I aware of what a difference supporting local and indie artists has on lives everywhere. The warmth and meaning buying a piece of handcrafted work has compared to buying mass produced product will be passed down to our children and they in turn will influence how business is done in their generation. I am so honored to be part of this movement!

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