It wasn't too long after Beyond Her was born that I started hearing the phrase "indie design." I was grateful, because I'd been wondering how to describe my new community. This seemed to sum it up: like indie films, indie design existed outside of the normal go-to-market channels. Most of us struggled to find suppliers, materials, and supporting artisans that could help our companies grow.
Over the years that has changed. More and more "makers" have emerged, making more and more interesting creative products.
As with Beyond Her, some of the items are not precisely "hand-made," but there is a distinct design, a story behind the manufacturing process, and a vision that people intrinsically seem to appreciate.
Show & Tell
If you are an artisan today, you have lots of options in terms of getting your products in front of viewers. Are they effective? Let's just say that Etsy, the hands-down winner of online handmade portals, sold $100.9 million of goods were sold (after refunds and cancellations) in July alone. That's a lot of DIY!
So I was happy to read this recent article in Forbes magazine. "How the Maker Movement is Reinventing Retail" discusses the growth of Etsy, but also the effect of companies like Shapeways, an online 3D printer that allows anyone to cheaply manufacture their own designs, either to sell or for their own personal use
Here's what this means to me: In an odd sort of way, we are going through another industrial revolution. We are using machines, not to stamp out millions of identical products, but to add diversity and choices, as opposed to just accepting what giant retailers tell us we should like.
So. even for indie designers, technology has paid off, big time. And creativity is a democracy.
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