It’s a familiar conundrum.
You check your mail and find an invitation to a party. You excitedly mark your calendar and RSVP.
That’s when it hits you: "I’m going to need a gift."
You head over to Target or Wal-Mart (or Amazon) looking for the perfect gift. You look through the shelves, trying to decide which mass produced something or other really encapsulates that person.
But if you’re looking for a truly special gift, you’re looking in the wrong place.
There are countless options for great gifts available at your local makerspace! Here’s why you should ditch the big box store for good.
Regardless of where you’re shopping for your gifts, you put a lot of effort into making sure that the recipient will love it. We spend so much time hoping that they don’t hate it that we completely ignore the other tragic possibilities…
Maybe someone else at the party brought the same thing.
Or even worse, maybe they already have one.
What was supposed to be a moment of affection is ruined. You slouch down into your chair, hoping you could disappear into the embarrassment.
But if you give something handmade, it’s almost impossible that someone else could bring the same thing. Your gift is truly unique. There’s no need to worry about someone else stealing your thunder.
Nothing Says “I Love You” Like Custom
It’s one thing to hand someone something you found on a shelf and say, “I thought you might like this.”
It’s something else entirely to give them something completely customized. You can emblazon a gift with their name or their favorite TV character or an inside joke. This gift will mean much more than just a thing that they got at a party. It will be a piece of yourself that they can carry with them for years to come.
Now of course, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that you can customize just about anything with the tools in our shop. Emblazon your own designs across tote bags, pillow cases, or t-shirts with the heat press or screenprinting studio (only if you plan on making a lot). Etch an image on a keychain, cutting board, wall hanging, or whatever else you can imagine using the laser cutter. Hand stamp a ring with a custom message.
You can even design a mini-sculpture and bring it to life with the 3D printer.
If you don’t feel as confident in your own skills, you can commission an artist to help you make it, or order something from an online shop like Corporate Gifts for about the same price that you’d spend at a big box store.
Your Money Supports Local Makers!
Over the last several decades, our economy has become more and more globalized. If you walk into a big box store, you’ll find no shortage of cheap foreign-made goods adorning the shelves.
What happens to your money when you spend it there?
Sure, some of it stays in your community, paying the workers there and the local utility companies. But the vast majority of the profits go to someone you’ll likely never meet who has no concern for the people you know or the city you live in—besides how much money they can get out of you.
These major corporations often crowd out local competition. With the cushion of millions of dollars in profit a year, they’re able to take risks and survive trends that local shops don’t have the capital to compete with.
And sometimes, those people might use your money to do things you don’t approve of. I think we all remember a few years ago when the president of Hobby Lobby was caught buying Biblical artifacts on the black market.
Not only that, but transporting mass produced goods across the world has a massive carbon footprint.
But lately, this impersonal, international corporatism has been falling out of favor with consumers. The last few years has seen a huge rise of localism.
When you buy handmade, that money stays in the community. It pays owners that live in our neighborhoods. Their taxes pay for the same schools your children go to and the same roads that you drive down.
It strengthens the local economy, which bolsters pride in the community. And a community that loves itself is a strong community.
Give Better Gifts
If you want to give better gifts to your friends and family that actually mean something, you’re going to need to get out of the big stores and start thinking smaller.
Luckily, we can help. In our store, we have a curated gift shop of locally made goods, including jewelry, art, local music, and plenty of South Bend merch to show of your hometown pride. If you can’t find something you like in there, you can use our workshop to make your own gifts. We’ll even teach you how at one of our classes.
So come on in and see what you can make today.
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2228 Mishawaka Ave., South Bend