Currently, there are so many discussions, re defining "handmade," all over the Web; the word "original" and the term OOAK (one of a kind) are being tossed around like precious things, and, of course, to those who make and sell their own original designs, they are not only valuable terms, but meaningful in that they are a way to rationalize the costs of handmade, versus mass-produced..
I have to admit that on a retail level, I have had, thankfully, just a few of the types of experiences that are not only cringe-worthy, but test your patience and desire to keep going.
I've had various asides, spoken as if in triumph at the revelation, "I can buy those at Walmart for a lot cheaper!", or "Well, I'm just looking for ideas, I knit too" (I crochet)....go and create your own ideas..imitation is not, in fact, the sincerest form of flattery, it's actually theft!
My favourites (not!) are the ones who beg me to "hold" an item, without any sort of deposit, of course, and either don't return at all or try to get the price lowered if they bother to show up again, an hour later, because they saw something else cheaper in another seller's stall..I always tell them that they should definitely buy the cheaper item, and they are often stunned and insulted that I refuse to lower my price..can you imagine anyone going into any retail store and trying to pull that one?
But those who don't 'get it' are doomed to repeat these minor outrages.
When selling online, enough noise has been made that the resellers have jumped on the bandwagon, offering 'crafts' or clothing or even electronics at fire sale prices..and they do make sales..
However, in the process they tend to cheapen the entire site, creating one of those eBay-type situations we who do create our own work have managed to avoid 'til now..
If you are someone, like me, who tries their damnedest to buy local produce and locally made goods whenever possible or available, well and good..you get this.
If you indulge in both local, handmade and store-bought goods (like me too) out of necessity, you might wonder what all the fuss is about..
eBay exists for this sort of thing..go there, buy whatever you want at whatever price you desire to pay..the difference is that eBay charges a great deal for the privilge of doing so, and most handmade sites have a cheap or limited "free" studio offer..and the resellers jump at it, and ignoring the site rules, do their blitz selling of stuff until they are caught and shut down, then they just reopen, different name, same old same old, etc.
I'm explaining all this because ArtFire has taken the step of actually creating a discussion around this issue and attempting to intelligently come to grips with it, without shooting themselves in the foot in the process..
It's a tough one, and the fact that ArtFire is willing to look it in the eye and attempt to deal with it is proof positive to me that they are sincere in wanting to change it..just another reason I'm so glad I 'emigrated' over from Etsy, which did nothing, communicated zero, and where staff generally behaved like cross nannies who were incapable or uninterested, not actually dealing with anything.. when they responded at all, which was very rarely.
At ArtFire, they are engaged, and quick to respond..and that is all anyone can ask..