Handicrafts is basically an umbrella term which includes a plethora of different work, that is carried out for the creation of decorative and unique objects which can also be useful. The most distinctive feature of handicrafts, is that all handicrafts are one hundred percent handmade.
The artisans who create these handicrafts, make them using simple tools. It is a traditional and important sector of craft and requires great creativity and an incredible skill set. This is a main reason several handicrafts often find themselves integrated into educational systems, be it formally or informally.
|Pros of Handicraft||Cons of Handicraft|
|Require relatively low capital investment||The amount of production is very limited|
|Raw Materials are quite easily available||The education level among the majority of artisans is quite low|
|Handicrafts help in reusing waste materials||Handicrafts generally face severe lack of funding|
|Can help in improving a person’s skill set||Middlemen can exploit artisans|
|The products are unique and of high quality||Handicrafts Industries are privy to very limited information|
|Gives the option of being self-employed||The cost of handicrafts are generally relatively higher|
|Boosts the economy|
|The products are very eco-friendly|
|Stops the migration of labourers from rural areas|
|Also beneficially affects the artisanal future generations|
Advantages of Handicrafts
- Low Capital Investment –
Handicrafts, owing to the fact that they are literally “products made by hand”, do not require any kind of heavy machinery, costly equipment, etc. for their manufacture. A few ordinary and relatively easily available raw materials and individual skill are enough for the production of handicrafts and this requires relatively lower capital investment(s).
- Raw Materials –
Handicrafts mostly make use of readily accessible raw materials like recycled waste products, etc. Thus, the cost of these raw materials is quite cheap. For example, a handicraft industry which is small in scale, producing furniture, clothes, embroidery, etc., can easily acquire cheap raw materials and/or use recycled products.
- Recycling Waste –
Handicrafts put the materials, which are generally deemed to be waste and thrown away, to good use. A lot of the raw materials used in handicrafts, actually come from recycled waste. A host of household waste items like bottles, cardboard, plastic cups, buttons, cans, clothes, etc. all can be used for handicrafts.
- Skill Improvement –
Creation of handicrafts requires a good knowledge coupled with a precise skill set. Quality is a big requirement for handicrafts. So in order to sell more products, the creator will be forced to put in more time and practice regularly, thus improving their knowledge and skill in creating the handicrafts.
- Quality and Unicity –
Owing to the market being flooded with readymade products, only unique handicrafts of really high quality can survive in the market. They owe their unicity to the incredible creative skills of their creators. So whenever someone has bought handicrafts, the buyer can rest assured that the money they parted with, was well spent on quality products.
- Self Employment –
Handicrafts can actually create job opportunities for skilled and talented people who are unemployed. Learning the techniques required to create handicrafts and practicing those skills can allow a person to become quite good at the job and finally earn income by creating the handicrafts on their own and selling them.
- Economic Growth –
High quality handicrafts have a niche market, giving countries the option of selling unique handicrafts items and increasing the country’s export rate, in turn boosting economic growth. Apart from that, handicrafts industries often grow up in low-income zones of a country and can help boost the economy of the region.
- Environment Friendly –
Almost everything used in the production of handicrafts and the products themselves are completely eco-friendly. Arguably all handicrafts are biodegradable. Not only do they recycle waste materials, but are also free from chemicals and/or hazardous materials. Moreover, it eliminates the use of machinery, reducing energy consumption during production to almost zero.
- Migration –
Promoting handicrafts in the rural areas can curb the migration of poor labourers from these areas to urban areas, giving them a stable income source along with the chance to acquire an incredible skill set. Handicrafts with their completely autonomous and short completion cycle, can also act as their secondary income.
- Future –
The artisans get to learn a very unique skill set and also see a good increase in their income. So they can also pass along their knowledge to their future generations allowing them to grow up with a good grasp over the skill set and also provide them better medical and educational options.
Disadvantages of Handicrafts
- Low Productivity –
This disadvantage is one of the major reasons handicrafts industries find it incredibly hard to compete with large-scale retail chains. They generally lack any kind of professional infrastructure. They do not possess huge storage spaces or any kind of packing and/or shipping facilities. This drastically limits the number of items that can be produced.
- Low Education –
Handicrafts industries mainly grow up in the rural areas. This means that a large part of the population dealing in handicrafts has undergone very little education which limits their capabilities. Even managing inventory correctly can become an issue. It also becomes harder for them to learn complicated handicrafts skills.
- Funding –
Lack of proper funding has almost always plagued handicrafts. Even banks often refrain from giving handicrafts industries loans citing their low productivity, poor recovery rates, etc. Investors are always on the lookout for easy and fast return on investment. That is something that handicrafts cannot guarantee and thus is avoided by most investors.
- Middlemen –
Middlemen can provide beneficial market linkages, but they often pose a threat to the poorer population of handicrafts artisans. They tend to exploit the artisans by only paying them a fraction of the actual amount of wages the artisans should receive for their work. The artisans lose out their superior knowledge and bargaining powers.
- Information Asymmetry –
Owing to the huge difference between the funding, education of workers and other factors of handicrafts and other bigger industries, handicrafts industries find it a huge challenge to identify potential markets. It is also quite hard for the handicrafts industries to interact with these markets and this severely hinders their growth.
- Cost –
Handicrafts are often found to be more costly than the products produced by the large-scale retail chains. Owing to their magnanimous production numbers, they can easily afford to simply keep their prices lower than the handicrafts products and still make a profit. This means even lesser sales for the handicrafts.
Handicrafts definitely have their own fair share of disadvantages but they help bring employment opportunities to a large part of the population in different countries. It also works in favour of women empowerment. So governments and welfare groups should try their best to help these handicrafts rather flourish, than die out.
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