Hand-Made With Love: Ethical Consumption in a World of Mass Production

Handmade With Love - Dream Catcher by Dream Portal Creations

By Christina Lavers

Contributing Writer for Wake Up World

What’s love got to do with it? Quite a bit, as far as consumers are concerned…

When we talk about the quality of a product we generally refer to the materials it was made from, the workmanship, and the design. What we talk less about is the quality of the energy of the item. Everything has an energy signature that relates not just to its physical attributes but to subtler associated aspects. These attributes are comprised of qualities that can’t be seen or touched, like the feelings and emotions behind the creation process. For example, a wallet may have been made from good quality leather by a person with excellent leather working skills, but if the leather came from an animal who suffered a life of abuse, or if the person making it worked under sub-standard conditions, the energetic quality of the product will be poor.

Unfortunately, in a world obsessed with money and physical appearances, the quality and integrity of the energy we consume is not something that is regularly factored into the equation when considering a purchase. In an attempt to produce a product with a high profit margin it is often the subtler, unseen aspects that are compromised. However, as scandals like fires and suicides in sweatshops, child labour, pollution, toxins, and factory farming practices come to light and expose the dark reality behind popular brands, we are gradually witnessing a growing level of awareness and interest in the ethical, non-visible components of products.

Increasingly we are seeing the emergence of products that are marketed as ‘made with love’. While there are no legal standards required to use the term ‘made with love’, I believe that there is an assumption that the use of this term implies an awareness that precludes unethical practices. Usually this term is used when an item as been made by hand by someone working for themselves in a form of craft they are passionate about.

According to a new study published in Journal of Marketing the idea of a product being imbued with subtle, unseen qualities like love is increasingly affecting consumer choices.

“Handmade products might be perceived to contain and transmit the artisan’s essence in the form of his or her love for the product in a way that machine-made products cannot,” write authors Christoph Fuchs (Technische Universität München), Martin Schreier (WU Vienna University of Economics and Business), and Stijn M.J. van Osselaer (Cornell University). “The customer then perceives the handmade product itself to be literally imbued with love.”

The participants in this study were asked to imagine they were sourcing a gift for a person they cared about. They were provided with a list of items including ceramic mugs, soap, leather goods, and stationery which were listed as machine-made. Afterwards they were provided with images of similar looking items that were described as handmade. Some were labelled “made with love” or had heart-shaped logos or similar visual cues of love in the product description.

The study found that people care about the unseen aspects of a product. Participants were inclined to choose the handmade items over the machine made ones, and many were even willing to pay up to 17% more for the handmade versions of the products. Even if the consumers did not know who the creator was, according to the researchers, there was an implied belief that loving qualities had been transferred to the product by the artistan, and that the product was thus filled with love.

“Few products today are purely machine-made or handmade, and managers have a great deal of freedom in choosing how to market an item. Emphasizing the handmade aspect of a product can make it significantly more attractive, especially when consumers want to convey love to someone. This approach might be particularly promising during Christmas or Mother’s Day, for example.”

Until consumer awareness reaches a point where concerns regarding all aspects that comprise the subtle energetic qualities of products are taken into account, there will obviously be lots of room to abuse this growing trend to favour homemade items. Those who care purely about profit will look at the results of a study like this and use people’s desire for products made with love in ways that are not truly in alignment with the qualities of love. Clearly, just because an item is ‘handmade’ doesn’t mean that the materials were ethically sourced, or that that working conditions were fair.

However, though it is a slow process, we consumers are becoming savvier and less inclined to fall for cheap marketing tricks. More of us are tuning into the subtler aspects of life and wanting to support ventures that are aligned with real heart focused awareness; products that are not just visually appealing, but energetically appealing as well. We are realizing that in terms of energy all is connected, and therefore our own personal energy signature is affected by that which we choose to align ourselves and our money with.

As multi-national corporations, who by design prioritise profit over people, try to dominate the marketplace at the expense of small independent businesses, it is more important than ever that we use the power of our money to support segments of industry that consider the wider implications of their practices. When we choose to purchase products that are aligned with love we promote conditions that benefit the whole.

Handmade With Love - Crystal Magic Wand and Plant Ball by Dream Portal Creations

Some ways to shop with awareness

Buy Locally

When we buy locally there is more of a chance that the person we make the purchase from will know exactly where the product was sourced from, and under what conditions it was created. We also help support more sustainable practices and our local economy.

Buy from the creator themselves

With the advent of the internet it is now easier than ever for the people who make products to avoid the middleman and sell the products themselves. Whether through mega sites like Etsy, through personal websites, or local craft markets we can avoid exploitative measures and ensure that the bulk of the profit is going to the person who actually created the item.

Less is more

As consumers we have been trained since childhood to equate consumption with happiness. However, as we increasingly witness the damage to the environment, animals and ourselves caused by our patterns of overconsumption, we are beginning to understand that in terms of buying, less is actually more. True happiness is related to the state of the planet and all the inhabitants not to how much we own. By using discernment and limiting our consumption it becomes easier afford to buy true quality products, rather than amassing piles of low vibration, disposable junk.

Do your research

If you are unsure about the conditions a product was created under do some research. Usually if the merchant has ensured that they have adopted ethical practices they will proudly state the details. If it proves difficult to uncover vital information regarding the materials, or any of the stages of processing, chances are it is not something the merchant wants to announce and is likely an indication that practices are not in alignment with heart awareness.

If research isn’t your thing just a quick Google search of ‘ethical shopping’ will bring up a plethora of websites, and even some handy apps, created to rate products and brands based on their social and environmental impact.

Reference: www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2015-03/ama-cvh032415.php

Images: Dream Portal Creations

About the author:

Christina Lavers

Christina Lavers is a writer, an artist, a creative enthusiast, and an inner world explorer. Born in Montreal Quebec, Canada, she now lives with her life partner and son in a rainforest pocket in the hills behind Coffs Harbour, NSW Australia. She spends her time playing, creating, growing and sharing.

Christina is devoted to assisting people to find and connect with their own creative magical current that flows deep within. She is now offering a comprehensive e-course designed to help people light up their world with passion and creativity. You can access Section One here for free!

Christina has also recently published her first full length book, a memoir about her wild awakening journey entitled Jump Into the Blue, and she is currently working on the next one.

“My journey has been about personal alchemy… exploring the mysteries of my soul and my environment, and learning to bring all aspects, the light and the dark, together with the transcending ingredient… love. The more I uncover and nurture the wounded aspects of my being, the more whole and grounded I feel and the more my outer world reflects the love, wonder and magic I have discovered inside”.

You can follow Christina’s work at:

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