Sunday, November 1, 2009

The Barter System

...is my new favorite way of doing business. Ok, not really business but crafting. If a friend ask if I will make them something rather than the usual "no you don't have to pay me. I'm happy to do it, you are my friend" rant. I say "Sure. As long as you make me something." I do say it doesn't have to be sewn, it can be anything: cookies, paper art, a mixed cd, it doesn't matter. Just spend a little time thinking of me and creating something. Spread this love that is the handmade.

I have found, so far, that the reaction is usually a mix of feeling a little intimidated and a little excited. The mind starts racing with project ideas and I can see it in their eyes, they have that crafting moment we all love when you just want to get started RIGHT NOW! Even if all you want to get started on is the shopping part. My deadline is always the same...whenever, it doesn't matter. I have a few of these little barters out there. And, recently one came home to roost. This wonderful handmade bag from my wonderful mama friend in Portland. She got it from Handmade Home and while she says she finds sewing daunting, it is impeccable. It has been used to tote groceries--real ones and my son's imaginary ones, bring books back from the library, and shlep bottles to daycare and back. It's a useful new friend. And, look at how lovely it drapes. Bring it on barter!

5 comments:

mama-pan said...

what a wonderful post. (and a really cute bag, too!) I hadn't really thought of this idea of "bartering" handmade, and I love it. Just curious--do you ever find it challenging to offer to make something for someone, because you don't want to sound like you are showing off? I mean, I know I am fabulous and all that (haha), but that's not why I would offer to make something for a friend. Still, it can sometimes, with some people, seem like I am unintentionally threatening their own validity as moms/women just because crafting isn't their thing.

mama-pan said...

and, duh, I just realized that your solution really lets people off of that guilty/inadequate hook, because it allows them to return the favor in whatever way, and whatever time, they find best. I guess I could even validate aforementioned "types" by making my request first, then slipping in the offer to make something I know they want/need in return. You're a clever one, Melissa! (and sorry for dominating your comments today, didn't plan to be so wordy!)

Juniper said...

Fun post and idea, have 'participated' more in the gift exchange version but perhaps a direct- 'hey lets do a swap'. could be fun- maybe after christmas you want to do one? xx Jupe

Little C and Little J said...

Mama-pan, I don't find it a challenge when it comes to barter because I only do it when I'm asked for something. But, I hear what you are saying. It gets tricky, especially in the moms group. Sometimes I don't even want to make something for someone as a gift for fear of the "You made this didn't you?" comment. Even though it is said with love.

Juniper, a barter swap would be great. Post-holidays for sure. Anyone else in? Mary Frances, you know you want to.

mama-pan said...

oh, you're right, I'd be a sucker for a swap like that. For January-ish? Let me know the theme and details!