Markets really are a different beast when it comes to retail. We have worked hard for the last three years building the I Heart Market up from a small gathering of 12 stalls on the pavement outside St Mary’s Church Hall in Windermere Rd to the sprawling mass of 150 stalls nestled under the rubber trees at Moses Mabhida Stadium. The recipe for our success is that we have fervently stuck to our ethos. We pride ourselves in providing a platform for handcrafted, homemade, re-purposed, upcycled, environmentally friendly, locally designed and locally made design and food products.

As the festive season rolls in, so do the malls pack out with determined shoppers. But with international trends veering towards buying a more unique and individualised product, we at I Heart Market encourage you to ‘Buy Handmade this Festive Season’.

Here are 5 reasons why buying handmade will fill you with a little bit more than Christmas cheer this holiday season.

  1. Handcrafted and locally designed goods make better presents. When choosing a handmade gift, you are choosing a present that is unique, unpredictable and made with care. You also get better value for money. Unlike factory produced goods, handcrafted products are less likely to break or fall apart. But if they do – you can always take it back to the creator and get them to fix or replace it with ease.
  2. It encourages less of a throw away culture. The malls are filled with factory churned out gimmicky gifts designed as perfect stocking fillers, however they are often not needed and are never used. Because of the attention to detail and design in handmade gifts, they are more likely to be kept and cherished (or even regifted) than put in the back of a cupboard and thrown away 6 months later.
  3. By supporting the little guy, you can develop a relationship with the actual maker of the goods. And by doing this you get to understand the product better, form more meaningful relationships and even have the oppurtunity of taking part in the conceptualising or design bespoke items.
  4. Building a better local economy. Choosing to shop from local crafters or artisans helps to keep the money circulating in the local economy. By refraining from buying imported, mass-produced goods, your hard-earned cash doesn’t go towards making other countries prosperous. The cash stays in your country and often in your local economy and thereby increases the buying power of the people around you, creating a more prosperous and affluent community.
  5. Handmade items have a smaller carbon footprint than large scale manufacturing. Buying from independent crafters helps to reduce climate change as often the products are made with locally sourced components and the distances travelled for delivery are small. The scope for creative expression is large for independent artisans and upcycled, repurposed and recycled elements are often used in the production of these goods further reducing the environmental impact.

Buying handmade is a personal decision but the impact can have an important roll on effect for the individual crafter, the local economy, the community and the environment. And if that doesn’t sway you – then maybe the feelgood factor will. Buying handmade just makes you feel good!

Whether you are visiting ‘the warmest place to be’ or are a resident, I Heart Market is a great day out with fresh foods and interesting craft. We have four cracker markets planned for the holidays – 1st, 8th and 15th December and 5th January. See you there!