'Twas Brillig

Whiffling through the Tulgey Wood...

Handmade Artists' Forum!

I'd like to take a moment to introduce you to a cooperative collective of Handmade Artists that I recently joined. The Handmade Artists' Forum (or HAF) was founded in April 2009 by Andrew & Kimberly Kitchen in order to provide a venue for all manner of artists to unite and support each other.

The idea is really rather simple....cooperative competition. Not everyone is in direct competition with each other because of the wide variety of arts represented. However, those who are have come to understand that we can band together to succeed.

I, personally, can appreciate this notion. My brick & mortar shop, 'Twas Brillig, is located in a quaint small town with a flourishing artsy downtown community. I am in direction competition with at least 3 other businesses in a 4 block section of town. We discovered that customers who didn't purchase something in one store really appreciated the suggestion of visiting competitors to find the perfect item to purchase. In fact, customers are often stunned at this spirit of cooperation but I can tell you that it works! I have even had customers return weeks later to thank me for sending them to another shop for the perfect item....and then they purchased from me! It's really about doing the right thing for the customers and understanding how important their purchases are to them, especially when the item is a gift.....and especially in the current economic downturn as they are extremely selective when spending those dollars. People remember the places where they are well-treated. And then they tell their friends. The principle is easily transferred to the online sales environment.

But I digress.

The other reason that the Handmade Artists' Forum is important is that we all need encouragement to keep creating because there are so many chain stores out there selling their wares for next to nothing. The handmade artist really has to struggle to keep up. We can't make thousands of an item in a large factory and some of our items just can't be duplicated. We often specialize in one-of-a-kind items. Some items are replicated but we still can't compete with the mass producers.

Requirements to join are simple: You have to love handmade.

All handmade artists are welcome to join and show off their stuff, get ideas and suggestions, ask for feedback and offer critiques of other artists' work. Although this forum is for handmade artists such as jewelers, crafters, chainmaillers, painters and the like, all lovers of handmade are welcome too. We encourage everyone to let these artists know what you think about their work by commenting on their posts.

Handmade Artists' Forum Etsy Team!

The Etsy sellers on HAF have recently banded together to form the Handmade Artists' Forum Etsy Street Team and already have over 50 folks participating. Efforts are also underway for the Artfire sellers to establish a HAF Artfire Guild. The HAF Facebook page is being revamped and a HAF Flickr group has also been started. As you can see, we are many busy bees.

I hope you will take a moment to stop by...say hello and check us out! If we pass muster, perhaps you might even join us? :)

12 Uffish Thoughts:

Great post! I could not have said it better. :)

Thanks so much for your kind words, you guys are great and it's people like you that make the forum great

What a doll you are! Members like you are making this project so much fun for everyone.

Great post. Really describes the forum.


HAF is one of the greatest places on the web. Nice write up about HAF!!!

Great post! By cooperating we increase one another's sales and help raise interest in buying handmade and special, rather than mass-produced. Long live the handmade revolution!

Andi Majot
Crazy but Cute

Thank-you so much for putting the word "out there!"

very well written, Thank you. I'll be posting a link.

Thank you all for your kind words. This was really the least I could do to help the HAF!

I think this collective is a special group...if we band together and do this thing right, it might be lucrative for all of us!

Here's to our prosperity and that of all things handmade!

Great post, and it's very well written. I'm really glad I found HAF, the people there are wonderful. It's nice to get some feedback on my work.

Great article! I just joined and I look forward to sharing and "spreading the word"

lol--I'm the opposite, I like to cook, but the baking I usually leave for my daughter! I'll be passing this recipe along to her, for sure...it looks scrummy and easy to make!
Smiles, Karen