Handcrafted goods businesses have been a cornerstone of Sydney’s economy for more than 100 years.
They’re still thriving in a city with a notoriously high murder rate and high unemployment, and a rapidly ageing population.
But a new study says they’re becoming more difficult to find.
Here’s what you need to know about handmade goods in Sydney.
1:18 Handmade goods are a key part of Sydney business resurgence The Handmade Goods Business Survey found that of the 100 most valuable businesses in the city, 60% were handmade, and most of them were established businesses with more than 20 employees.
“They’re becoming increasingly more expensive to find as a business,” the report says.
“Handmade goods can take years to establish.
They’ve become increasingly expensive to operate in the face of the rising cost of living.”
Handmade items are more likely to be used in the home, as a fashion accessory or as a means of income.
Handmade products include products such as clothes, toys, kitchenware and furniture, but also jewellery, jewellery accessories and cosmetics.
Handcrafted crafts are also more expensive than the goods produced by other businesses.
This is partly because of the high cost of materials.
“If you look at the materials that are used in making things, they’re usually quite expensive,” says Dr Amy Lapp, professor of economics at Sydney University.
“So they’re often not used in very many other products.”
Handcrafted items can be made to order, and customers can choose from many different types of handcrafted products, including hand-painted art, handcrafted toys, hand-made crafts, and even handmade toys and games.
Hand-crafted goods can be cheaper than hand-built products, which are made to an exacting standard.
“The main thing that we’re seeing with handmade goods is they’re getting more expensive and that’s an indication of a demand problem,” Dr Lapp says.
2:11 Handmade objects are often used in luxury goods A recent study found that while most of the most valuable handcrafted businesses were established, around 40% of all items were handmade.
Handcrafts are often considered the next-generation of consumer goods.
They often include more intricate details, like jewellery and decorative patterns.
“It’s a very intricate world and you can’t buy a piece of art without going through a process,” says Prof Lapp.
“And you’re never going to find a piece that has been made by hand in this way.”
“We also see that handcrafted items are often more expensive, so there are a lot of consumers who are not interested in making these kinds of products as a consumer.”
Prof Loughnan says many people are looking for a way to spend their money.
“What they’re really looking for is something that is more sophisticated and is more luxurious than what they’ve ever had before,” she says.
3:16 Handmade furniture can be difficult to sell Handmade woodworking furniture is becoming increasingly popular, and many shops have started selling handmade furniture.
But the process can be intimidating, and some people are afraid to sell it because it might look expensive.
“Some of these items are not really going to sell well,” says Mark Loughnan, owner of Mark’s Furniture in Darlinghurst.
“Most of them are not going to go to auction because they don’t have the right value.”
4:13 Handmade artworks can be harder to find Handmade crafts are becoming more common, and there are more options for buyers.
“You can get a lot more options in terms of what you can buy,” says Lisa MacPherson, owner and director of the Sydney Crafts Gallery.
“I do know of some people who are going to try and sell their handmade artwork because they think they can sell it to the best bidder.”
5:14 Handmade food can be expensive Handmade cuisine can be pricey.
Many of the best-selling food in Sydney is handmade, but prices are still a barrier to entry for many of Sydney, and can cause customers to turn away.
Hand made food can include meats, dairy, eggs, vegetables, sweets, fruit and a range of spices.
Prices can range from $15 to $70 per plate.
“There are people who have a very low budget and are buying things at a discount and they’ll buy things that they wouldn’t normally eat,” says MacPhenson.
6:21 Handmade clothing can be cheap and often available Handmade garments are becoming increasingly common.
“In some parts of the world, people are wearing suits and ties and other kinds of clothes for a living,” says Loughan.
“We have this idea that you can go into a shop and buy something that will make you rich and not rich, but if you do, you might as well not buy anything.”
7:12 Handmade toys can be hard