River & Wren's Definition of Handmade

River & Wren is a handmade market.  Recently however I've been challenged (in a nice way) as to what exactly is River & Wren's definition of "handmade".

In my mind good quality and on-trend handmade, homemade or homegrown is welcomed into our market.  But it made me think, how do I explain the River & Wren definition to people applying to attend the market?

As the market keeps growing and becomes more popular with stall holders, I need to take the definition out of my head and put it down on 'paper'.

And where best to begin than with the Oxford Dictionary's definition:

handmade (han(d)ˈmeɪd) – adjective

“made by hand, not by machine, and typically therefore of superior quality”.

I expect that handmade means different things to different people, but to be part of our market, stall holders need to meet the criteria of our definition.

For River & Wren, handmade means:

  • a small business, generally home-based and preferably local or regional
  • a product, concept, idea, recipe or service that is original or unique
  • the person applying to attend the market designs and makes their own product or co-ordinates the making of their product by another small business, preferably locally or regionally (not overseas).

I understand that some handmade products are constructed from items that are not handmade or made in Australia.  This is ok as long as creators are designing and constructing the final products locally or regionally.  For example, a fabric may not be available in Australia and may need to be sourced from overseas.

As I've said here in a post explaining how I curate River & Wren, the curation process is not a science.  It is usually a ‘feeling’ as to what will work for River & Wren and will fit well with our market brand and be loved by our market visitors.

This will sometimes mean that a stall holder from outside our immediate region will be offered a place at the market because they either provide a product or service that is not available locally or because their products are beautiful and I want them to be available at River & Wren.

Curating River & Wren can be a difficult process, however my aim is to always remain true to our market ethos of being a vibrant country artisan market filled with beautiful handmade products.