Hi everyone, I'm starting a new thread with an important question that was asked in another thread:
Why is our work better than imported or mass-produced work?
As far as I'm concerned, the basic answer is "it's not." We are not exempted from competing with imported work in terms of functionality, attractiveness, and yes ..... price. Just because I make my living as a handmaker, do I expect myself to buy nothing but handmade clothing and shoes, or nothing but hand-crafted locally produced food, just because buying anything mass-produced would take away from these industries? Heck no, I can't afford that. So I certainly can't expect the entire US marketplace to reject mass-produced ceramics, in order to gratify my needs. This would be silly and unrealistic. Not to mention narcissistic.
So does this mean we're doomed? Absolutely not. Again, it's just a matter of acknowledging that you have tough competition, and overcoming it. I still buy handmade things on a regular basis, but in order to justify spending the extra money, they need to knock my socks off.
In other words, handmakers can surpass mass-producers in the following areas: quality and buying experience. People buy my somewhat pricey pottery because it is better in terms of functionality and attractiveness. And I make sure the experience of working with me is fun and rewarding.
On the other hand, I'm afraid I see a lot of potters who are struggling to sell. Tact prevents me from asking "do you think it might be the mustard yellow and green glaze combo?" or sometimes "why would anyone want to buy from an anxious sourpuss?" For potters like this, I think it's totally reasonable for a customer to prefer something mass-produced.
These are my answers to this question. I'd welcome everyone's thoughts about this: Why is our work better than imported work?