Okay folks, sorry if this sounds totally backwards, but I think this "economic downturn" is going to be good for us as a culture in the long run. I was just asked how the economy is effecting me as a craftsperson and I've only been thinking it's going to be good. Here's the answer I just emailed, cut and pasted here for all the world (but especially you):
Here's my take on being a craftswoman and the changing economy: I believe it will be good for my business and I look forward to being there to help households make the necessary lifestyle changes with fun and style.
I've been channeling Depression-era frugality in my business since I started in 2006. Many of my materials are sourced at thrift shops. But also the products I am inspired to make (i.e aprons and other kitchen aids, clothespin bags) are for a lifestyle that many of us may be heading back to, with our heightened awareness about excessive fossil fuel consumption, and now especially if folks loose their jobs and there aren't as many dual income households. Some trends I believe will develop in the near future (and will probably sustain out of necessity) include spending more time at home cooking from scratch because it's more cost effective, yummy, and fulfilling; and hanging our laundry to dry outside because we don't want to pay such a big propane bill to run our dryers and because we are rediscovering the joys of outdoor "work." since I started offering my clothespin bags at vending events I've had a lot of interesting conversations with people about decreasing dryer use. It's good to talk about these things and I'm happy to be able to instigate that conversation.
I think as the economy really forces Americans to change their spending habits there will be an eager rediscovery of the resourcefulness and simple living that was a given 2-3 generations ago. My products will help people transfer that nostalgia into a pleasant lifestyle change of their own.
I am also all about the growing, growing, growing Vermont local foods movement (which I think is totally related to all this necessary/inevitable change). My family raises 60-70% of what we eat throughout the year and we buy much of the rest locally. As Vermonters get more and more enthusiastic about cooking with locally grown ingredients my aprons and HotHolders are right there for them.
Also, I think there will be a renewed appreciation for handmade items now that we can all be openly disenchanted with major corporations and the products they offer us. taking corporate jets to Washington to beg for taxpayer handouts, etc. etc.
Anyone else see any positives to come out of this? Eventually?