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How to Join the "Shabby Chic" Craze and Find Great Handcrafted Bags and Purses

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How to Join the "Shabby Chic" Craze and Find Great Handcrafted Bags and Purses Powered By Docstoc
					How to Join the "Shabby Chic" Craze and
Find Great Handcrafted Bags and Purses
By: Connie Isidora



                                  The handmade purse market has long been a niche industry which had
                                  relatively little recognition among larger designers and the long racks
                                  and shelves which characterize department store shopping
                                  experiences. However, one of the main themes in fashion for 2012 is a
                                  distinctly personal, handmade quality for every bag that a woman
                                  carries with her on a daily basis. This is perhaps the ultimate evolution
                                  of the seasonal handbag, which was already a great way to make a
                                  fresh style statement every time the outdoor temperature rose a little
                                  or dipped below freezing. In 2012, the importance of seasonal
                                  handbags is now doubled, as women are looking for seasonal pieces
                                  which are as unique and personal as they are fresh and on-trend.
                                  There are a number of ways to find the exact perfect handmade piece,
                                  both online and off, and those buyers who consider themselves high-
                                  fashion would be well-advised to check each source before making a
                                  purchase decision.


When in Doubt, Go to the Pinnacle of Online Handmade Goods

Perhaps the recent trendiness of handmade purses and bags has been the result of the rise of Etsy.com,
a website that is entirely dedicated to independent designers and artisans who handcraft their own
jewelry, handbags, wallets, purses, and other items for the average consumer. It's the first website of its
kind, and it allows direct designer-to-consumer interaction. In fact, one of the site's most important
features is that it actually allows sellers to create a purchase form where the buyer can indicate specific
designs, patterns, colors, and other information as it applies to their handbag or other item.

Best of all, every single item sold on Etsy.com must necessarily be created individually at the time of
purchase by the seller. That virtually guarantees the buyer that they'll have a unique handcrafted
handbag or purse that simply will not be seen anywhere else. Furthermore, even if a subsequent buyer
requests a bag similar to one which has already been purchased, the designers on Etsy.com are low-
volume enough that such a bag would likely never be sold to someone within even 100 miles of an
earlier buyer. It's the number one way to shop online and receive something that has not been mass-
produced, cheapened, or overly marketed by designer websites and department store sales pitches.
If in Need of Inspiration, Refer to Crowdsourced Websites

Crowdsourcing is the term given to websites which thrive essentially on nothing more than the input of
those people who stop by the website and submit their viewpoints. Such is the role of Handmade Top
10, and online source for handmade goods that range in style and design; users will find lists of the best
handmade bags, wallets, jewelry, and other fashion accessories, along with direct links to order each
item and pictures of the item before even clicking and navigating to its full page outside the Handmade
Top 10 website. This approach might not guarantee that every shopper gets a unique bag, but it will
certainly guarantee that they find something fresh, handmade, and unconventional. This is simply not
something which is possible in department store or designer settings.

Best of all, the website doesn't simple index and promote listings that are placed on the Etsy.com
website. While Etsy certainly has the largest number of handmade bags to be found anywhere online,
it's not the only place to buy such merchandise. Competitors like MadeItMyself.com and the Amazon
user-to-user marketplace, are great outlets for online handbag shoppers and those who are enthusiastic
about finding handmade goods without going down to their local shopping district or indoor mall.


And Speaking of Shopping Districts...

Consumers who find themselves in or near a large urban center have the upper hand in finding
handmade purses and bags for al of their seasonal needs. This is because such urban centers are far
more friendly to independent merchants than are the rental units placed in the average suburban
shopping center or indoor malls. Some cities, like Philadelphia and New York City, even have entire
fashion districts that are predominantly maintained by independent merchants who design and
handcraft their own bags and other fashion accessories. Those shoppers in New York can typically find
such sought-after merchandise in Manhattan's Lower East Side neighborhood or throughout the more
retail-focused sections of Brooklyn. In Philadelphia, the South Street shopping district and the Chestnut
Street storefronts are two of the best places to find unique, one-of-a-kind handmade purses and bags.

These two cities might be the leaders in handcrafted goods and independent merchant shopping
districts, but they're hardly alone. The shabby chic craze originated in California, and San Francisco
counts itself as another city with a thriving handmade fashion market. It's important that consumers not
ignore their local independent merchants in favor of online shopping at places like Etsy, especially
because these local artisans and designers often are in need of business and recognition in the local
community. Helping out a local artist and securing an on-trend handcrafted bag should be considered a
'"win-win" scenario for urban fashionistas.


Online or Offline, the Way to Go is Handcrafted

There was a time when the average costumer wanted nothing more than a chic leather bag which
looked as professional as it did expensive. That time is now over for many consumers, as they trend
more toward looks that are extremely individualistic and are made by individual artisans who handcraft
each bag individually. This trend is on purposes: Handcrafted bags support small designers rather than
bigger ones, and they're more affordable when looking for seasonal handbags. Such handcrafted bags
are more personal in nature and consumers won't have to compromise their own personal sense of style
or taste when adding one or more handcrafted purses to their existing collection of bags.

The trend in 2012 is undoubtedly shabby chic, a look which combines handcrafted accessories and
elements with an overall refined appearance that belongs in both urban centers and suburban settings.
It's a universal way for consumers of all types and varieties to come together in common cause, and
that's a great way to celebrate fashion in a world which has at times been a bit too fickle with its style
preferences.

				
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