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I’m Not Walmart

So yesterday at the market, something happened that usually doesn’t. One of the market-goers who was looking at my items told me how pretty my wristlets were, but said she wouldn’t buy one because she could get something like them for less at Walmart. I didn’t know what to say, so I wished her good luck. Her lovely friend gave her a very hard time for invoking the “W”-word and for suggesting that she could find something like my wristlets there.

I certainly hope that I’m not making Walmart-esque items. I don’t copy Walmart, and I think the quality of my work exceeds what you’ll find there. My seams aren’t going to start unraveling and things aren’t going to fall apart after a few uses. My items aren’t mass produced overseas by underpaid workers and they aren’t exposed to suspicious chemicals. They are all made be me, one by one, each one unique and made with an ingredient you will never find at Walmart: love. I care about what I make and I care that it’s something you’ll love owning. When you buy something from me, you are supporting small business, handmade, local craftsmanship. Yes, my items tend to cost a bit more than ones you’ll find at Walmart, but I really believe you are getting more than just a bag (or a wallet, or magnets…) for the price. You are getting something no one else has, no one has suffered to make, something that will last, and you’re supporting the local economy. All sorts of good stuff. So yeah, I don’t think I’m in league with Walmart. And I don’t want to be.

(The was recently a similar post a The Small Object, and I really like what she has to say about the whole handmade vs. not-handmade thing, too. Check it out.)

10 thoughts on “I’m Not Walmart

  1. Welcome to the dark side of the craft show life. Sooner or later it happens to everyone. “I can get it cheaper at Wal-Mart”, or even better “You want how much??? I can make it myself for a lot less.” Don’t be shocked some day to see someone even standing at your booth, sketching! Really. It happens.

    It has nothing to do with your workmanship, fabric choices, design decisions or anything at all you may now be questioning. It has everything to do with the low class,cheap and cheezy mentality of the majority of society. We should be ashamed of ourselves.

    Next time it happens, and sadly it will, be glad that one of your lovely items isn’t getting into the hands of such a person. They don’t deserve your work.

  2. Hear hear! Just because something is cheap doesn’t mean it’s a better buy. Surely a quality handmade item is worth so much more than a mass produced piece of poo? 😉

  3. I agree. I sometimes get that in several different versions.(I can get it cheaper-it’s not worth that etc. etc.) I try not to take offense and think to myself ‘They’re just not the customer for me’.
    Thanks for stopping by my blog:)

  4. Oh dear! I haven’t done enough craft fairs to ever have gotten this comment, but I know some people who have that mentality. It only comes down to price for them–as long as they can get it cheap, that’s all that matters. They don’t factor in workmanship, durability or character.
    Hopefully you get some more appreciative customers your way. : )

  5. When that happens to me, I always tell them that my prices will come down when I finally get that child labor sweat shop opened in china…It still hurts when they say it though.

  6. Comparing your handmade things to stuff at Wal-Mart is like comparing apples and oranges..

    I think people who make comments like that don’t realize how much work and love goes into a handmade item like yours. Even if they realize that, they might not care and would rather buy something cheap, and don’t mind that was made in a sweatshop in a different country and might fall apart soon, as long as they’re saving a couple bucks NOW.

    I agree with your post 100% and think you handled the situation well. If people are so obsessed with Wal-Mart, well there’s no changing their minds so let them have their damn Wal-Mart.

  7. By the way, I’m one of the people who visited your booth last weekend at the Farmer’s market — I’m the girl who was wondering about watercolor paper blocks. Your journal covers are awesome and I hope you had good sales at the market despite the rude comments, and good luck in the future!

  8. Well, that is a bit discouraging! But just think of all the people that do appreciate the time and skill it takes to make the things you do. I do! And I bought two of them on Etsy! I like thinking of you when I open my little coin purse, and my Mom has gotten so many compliments on the bag you made with the queen anne’s lace on it, and I know that anything I own from Walmart has never gotten compliments! When that happens to me at craft fairs with my jewelry, I just take a deep breath, and like you, wish them luck. And when people sketch or take pictures of my booth or items in my booth (yes, that has happened too) I just practice my deep breathing. The people that appreciate my work far outweigh those that are insensitive and (yes, I will say it) rude!

  9. Wow, thank you for all the wonderful comments everyone! The time you took to share your thoughts and support on this means a lot to me. 🙂

    Angie, it makes my day to know how happy you and your mom are with the bag and coin purse!

    I have definitely encountered many wonderful people through Etsy and the farmer’s market. The ones that prefer Walmart or don’t bother to lower their voice when they say “I could make that!” are few and far between. And I’m willing to see them if it means I get to interact with everyone else. 🙂

  10. Think about 9 year old Chinese girl who works 12 hours without a bathroom break who is making those Walmart items. I’m proud of what I make and how much I charge for it. You should be too!!

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