N.E.E.T. Magazine recently dropped their 5 year anniversary issue. They asked us to pitch in with our thoughts on the state of vintage/handmade fashion and how DIY sellers have changed the landscape of buying and selling online.
NEET: What changes have you seen in the past 5 years regarding the popularity of vintage and handmade fashion? How has Big Cartel contributed to this?
BC: It seems vintage fashion and buying handmade items has blown up in the past couple of years. The mix of close social communities and easily customizable online stores has given DIY artists the tools to promote their unique work to wider audiences and those audiences can more easily find high quality, one-off pieces while supporting a real artist.
It’s changed the way people shop online, I think the first instinct for online shopping isn’t necessarily huge retail giants anymore, and that’s amazing. Big Cartel has worked tirelessly to allow these sellers to create an online store that truly represents them and their brand, and gives them the tools they need to run their business.
NEET: Why do you think people gravitate toward vintage and handmade items and style?
BC: I think the appeal of vintage/handmade is the human behind it. We recently profiled our 100,000th store Lillian Crowe. She works out of her studio in Brooklyn, building her memorable jewelry piece by piece. She works long hours on her craft, building calluses and straining her hands as she pours her heart into making work her fans will love, i think people really graviate toward that.
She makes things that inspire her and she doesn’t have to present products to a committee or take months to ship stuff back and forth from a factory somewhere, that tends to make handmade items more relevant and contemporary.
It’s much easier for a DIY entrepreneur to speak with their customers and make products using feedback from those conversations. It’s a rewarding experience when you buy something from an artist online and get a handwritten note from that artist thanking you for your support. It has a real nostalgic feel, like the way businesses operated hundreds of years ago.
NEET: What are your thoughts about the greater community of vintage/handmade enthusiasts that has blossomed due to the internet?
BC: The community seems to be full of really happy people. People who love interacting, love aesthetic, and get so much joy from simple gifts crafted with heart. It’s an amazing community to serve and be a part of. We’re impressed every day by how grateful the DIY community is for their opportunities to make and sell art. It’s a very positive and inspirational group to be around. The broader world of corporate America could learn a lot from the hustle these artists employ.
NEET: How have the changes of the past 5 years influenced Big Cartel’s business strategy, if at all?
BC: One very obvious change is Titanium, our new 300 product plan. We heard from a lot of artists with larger quantities of one-off pieces asking for a bigger store. Our original 100 product limit was meant to keep our voice in the ears of the right artists, but we started hearing back from those same artists louder and louder asking for more products.
We recently launched a new plan that gives them a chance to get all those unique products out to the people who love them as much as we do. We will definitely continue to listen to and be inspired by the creative store owners using Big Cartel.