Those Cyber Monday “bargains“ come with hidden costs for workers and shoppers alike. Let’s buck the trend and buy handmade this Cyber Monday instead!
It’s almost Thanksgiving, and for a lot of folks that means scoping out the Cyber Monday deals that they’re going to take advantage of. The trouble is, those Cyber Monday “bargains” aren’t really bargains. We all pay for them in hidden costs like air and water pollution and increased costs during the rest of the year. Shops aren’t going to take an overall loss, and those deals are there to get you in the virtual door so they can convince you to buy more.
I know the Story of Stuff video at the top of this page isn’t new, but during this time of year I think it’s more important than ever to think about consumerism.
The Monday after Thanksgiving has become yet another day for us to focus on buying more stuff. And in our quest for more stuff, it feels like we’ve lost sight of quality, choosing quantity instead. Cyber Monday plies us with deals on electronics, clothing, toys, and jewelry as a solution to checking people off of our holiday gift lists.
Related Reading: Have a Handmade Holiday!
Buy Handmade this Cyber Monday!
When you choose handmade gifts, you know that they weren’t produced in a sweatshop under inhumane conditions. Buying handmade from ethical crafters is better for the planet and for people. We can’t buy our way out of the environmental mess that we’re in, but we can support crafters who are doing their part to reduce waste and even reclaim it.
Related Reading: 16 DIY Holiday Gifts for Everyone on Your List
Here are some online resources for buying handmade gifts that are high quality and ethical, so that you can have a Cyber Monday that makes the world a little bit better instead of just buying stuff for the sake of stuff:
Etsy is kind of synonymous with handmade at this point, but it can be a little bit tricky to navigate. Some handmade goods are better for the planet than others. You want to support crafters who are using ethical materials like organic cotton instead of dirty conventional cotton, reclaimed materials, and ethically-sourced metal and stones. Here are a few tips for shopping Etsy this Cyber Monday:
- Team Eco Etsy - When I sold my crafts, I was a member of this team, and I was continually impressed with how strict the guidelines were. To find goods just from Eco Etsy team members, add the term teamecoetsy (all one word) to your search. So, if you were searching for jewelry, you’d type in jewelry teamecoetsy.
- Etsy Earth – This is another awesome Etsy team that’s focused on eco-friendly crafts. To find their items, add etsyearthteam to your search.
Even cooler? Some Etsy shops offer Cyber Monday deals, so you can still look for bargains! Try adding cybermonday or cyber monday to your search to see what deals pop up for you.
Related Reading: 5 Eco-Friendly Gift Wrap Ideas
ArtFire is another handmade marketplace like Etsy. It’s a bit newer and less well-known, but there are thousands of crafters listing their goods. To find eco-friendly goods on ArtFire, try searching for “green” buzzwords like organic, eco, vegan, upcycled, and recycled.
Finely Crafted is a new online marketplace curated by mid-century modern queen Jeanée Ledoux. Jeanée has impeccable taste and offers handmade and vintage goods from talented indie crafters from all over the world. Her shop has a handy Eco-Friendly section, so you can make sure that you’re not just buying handmade on Cyber Monday but you’re supporting ethical crafters, too.
Ten Thousand Villages
Etsy is a marketplace full of individual shops. Ten Thousand Villages is a little bit different in concept, but their products are almost all handmade. Instead of shop owners each running a virtual store front, Ten Thousand Villages buys goods wholesale from small producers in the developing world. When you buy handmade goods from Ten Thousand Villages, you’re helping crafters – often women – support their families with a living wage.
Related Reading: How to Keep Your Quinoa Consumption Ethical
Got some ladies on your list? Synergy Clothing is one of my favorite places to buy handmade wardrobe pieces. Their women’s clothing is beautiful, well-made, and uses organic fabrics. I have a few of their dresses, and they’re in great shape after years of wear. They even offer gift cards, if you can’t decide what to get!
Tracy Perkins at Strawberry Hedgehog creates delicious-smelling handmade soaps and beauty supplies for men and women. Her products are 100% plant-based and made without any synthetic fragrances. I’ve used many products from her line, like her lotions and soaps, and I l-o-v-e them!
Fabric designer Jennifer Nelson of Home Sweet creates beautiful block-printed designs on organic fabrics, and her online shop will create custom orders just for you! Her handmade lamp shades and hanging lanterns would make a great gift for anyone on your list who is design-oriented.
Do you have any favorite places that you’ll be shopping for ethical handmade goods this Cyber Monday? Tell us about them in the comments!