Friday, June 12, 2009

rampant consumerism vs nice

I too have been thinking about how I package mt Etsy and Madeit orders and have been having a little look around at different ways to do this that will not add cost to the postage. But I have come to a bit of a quandary... at what point does crafting become rampant consumerism??

Whenever I go to Spo*****t and give this giant corporate machine- that underpays its staff ( they took penalty rates away when John Howard let them a couple of year ago) that imports nearly everything from China (where its probably made by 5 year olds in a sweatshop) and buy some essentials I feel so guilty. I try to use recycled fabric when I can and mostly I do but sometimes I need something specific... I have to weigh up the cost of buying it online which generally ends up costing more , plus if its bought from overseas- then the actual cost to the environment of getting it here...then that means my prices go up...which I don't want them to because I want chunkychooky to be affordable to everybody...
This is all started when I saw these paper clips- I KNOW how good are they??
I was thinking I could add one to the little handmade note I put into my orders, with the invoice...but is this really necessary???... and then there was the sticky tape with lovely little elephants on it etc etc etc ... where does it end???
At what point does handmade cease to be kinder to the earth?? At what point in my quest to make something unique, affordable and kind to the earth do I say: ENOUGH! For me its right here. Right now ( thankyou Fatboy Slim for these words) Stop buying unnecessary stuff. Just.Stop.Now. yes, you can keep looking and oohing and ahhhing but just stop now.
I am not talking about supporting artists as that is necessary, I feel, as we need to have beauty in the world and creativity and originality- but that is my whole point... at what point does it cross over - the line between supporting artists and creativity and buying fluff???
So I am back where I started... I didn't buy the paperclips...and will just be packaging my orders with good old fashioned brown paper and string and a hand written note on some nice paper...
Tell me where your line in the sand is...


  1. I know exactly what you mean. It's really hard to choose between shopping local (to support local business, but they're probably shipping from OS anyway), or buying things from OS with all that extra shipping and enviro impact. But those US sites are so alluring, who knew you could buy all that stuff online. Anything you want. It is a hard line to draw.

    Personally I don't think you can get much more elegant than brown paper packages tied with string. Or wrapped in a great page out of a magazine. And a friend of mine even sent a package wrapped in an old poster!!!
    See here:

    (p.s. thanks for the reassuring comment on my post)

  2. I do the brown paper packages tied up with string too! The string is my grandma's crochet thread stash (she no longer crochets and some of the threads are a bit spotty). I did buy a paper punch, so I punch my own gift tags out of card, and a tiny little star punch so I can have something pretty.

    Sometimes if I feel extra nice I cut butterflies or hearts out of recycled card too. Nice! I just admitted on my blog that I'm a compulsive gift wrap saver which helps prettify as well!

    But honestly I do think it's a somewhat commercial American culture of upsizing or upselling everything, that makes up feel that we need to make everything The. Best. Thing. Ever. even though people are buying our things BECAUSE they are handmade and made of recycled fabric and I'm sure they don't expect all that extra stuff.

    So anyway. You rock.


  3. Penny and Flossy-p are so right, I bought raffia years ago to make a hat..Well I never made that hat so now I use the raffia to wrap my parcels (Christmas and birthday too, it seems to go with all ocaissions) I also keep the string and nannas crotchet cotton for the day I run out of Raffia. Keep it up and dont succombe to the pressure of having to buy "stuff"
    (excuse the spelling mistakes, nothing seems to look right today !)

  4. I try to use as little packaging as possible. I use a bit of bubble wrap on my brooches, but everything else is flat packed. I usually use a freezer bag or ziplock (so things don't get wet or damaged) and then i put it in a brown paper bag, tied with a piece of yarn from the stash.
    I've thought about doing away with the freezer bag/ziplock but you can't trust the postie not to drop the mail in a puddle.
    One tip that I do have is that I try to fold all my items so that they pass as letters, not parcels, to save on postage. I can usually fold and pack an apron into a C4 envelope and get it through as a large letter. I can send a bib folded in a business sized envelope for 55cents.

  5. I don't think you can go wrong with brown paper and string. It's simple, it's stylish.

    Stand your ground girlfriend, don't buy the clips, even though they are super cute. You need to be making some money, let alone the environmental impact of having to buy extras. What about some vintage kids books made into tags. I always like those old school manilla tags that you can buy at office shops. I think they are cute and you can tie them on with string. Simple. Stylish. Recyclable.

  6. It's a bit daggy but I save all kinds of wrapping paper offcuts, even the paper from bunches of flowers. I use recycled wrapping for all my packaging, the result is no two items are wrapped the same but it looks as good as if it were brand new.

  7. ps. I agree the clips are super cute, especially the coathangers!

  8. I love the brown paper and string look too and send out my orders that way also. But um I must admit to having bought some of those paperclips - Kikki K is an Australian company so in a way the money is going back to stimulate our economy. Hm, can I use that justification? : )

  9. excellent commentary! When it comes right down to it, the most important part of the package I receive, is the item I ordered itself.
    I agree with Penny about upsizing/upselling in our culture. We have come to expect it, and equate it with quality (even if subliminally).

    I have an award for you! Come on over to my blog and see!

  10. oh I agree, I make mostly recycled crafts and am loathe to spend money on packaging products. My husband gets sent alot of cd's in padded envelopes so I always reuse these :). I also wrap in brown paper hehe

  11. i used recycled paper as much as I can - i even incorporate some into my papergoods, if its super pretty!
    as I said 'Im a hoarder' so keep it all - i know it will come to use someday!

  12. hello! thank you for your lovely comment over on my blog. I really like this post and know what you mean about drawing a line somewhere. I love getting a package wrapped in brown paper and string, thats how I wrap a lot of my gifts or I use recycled paper and pretty posters and paper I save for such occasions. those paper clips are pretty cute though! ha : )

  13. LOOVVEEDD your packaging Cath-made it feel like the special hand made gift it was :) Heart U!


what a nice person you are- taking the time to comment in this busy hectic world...Thank you!!