Bartering: Reviving the Age-Old System

Some time this summer I was propositioned.  The offer on the table:  Would I be willing to exchange one of my handmade creations for another one made by a crafter?  In other words, would I be willing to barter?  Um, yeah!

Bartering is nothing new, but it can be quite tricky.  For bartering to work, according to its intended purpose, both parties have to have something that each wants in exchange.  If that's not the case, then it really doesn't work.  You might as well call it a gift or donation.  

Once I was vending at this Arts Showcase and a vendor admired a camouflage wool/silk blended neckwarmer/beanie set I had crocheted.  It reminded her of the army and her son.  When I visited her table of handpainted gourds, my eye immediately went to a beautifully painted gourd that was decorated as a butterfly.  The vendor offered to exchange her gourd for my camo set.  At the time, I wasn't sure if we were supposed to swap things in the same price range or what the rules really were, but one thing I know for sure is this:  I have a beautiful butterfly gourd in my kitchen that makes me smile and she has my camo set which reminds her of her military son every time she looks at it or wears it.  I think of her every time I see the gourd and she does the same with her new pieces.

So when Tracy contacted me about my crocheted pom pom hat, I was excited to exchange with her as well.  I do love bags and was pleased to be able to get one of her "One Brown Crafter" bags.  And let me tell you this, because I do sew, I always look at seams.  Instinctively, I looked at Tracy's bag and it was so well-made.  I knew that I had done the right thing.  I love my bag and I love her work!  Initially, I was going to use this bag as my craft bag to take when I vend, but I have started taking it to work on occasion and it's my go-to bag when I have to sit around and wait.  Lots of good stuff I put inside to dance around with the polka dot fabric lining.  And let me say, I have gotten plenty of inquiries and comments.  Positive of course.  Love this bag!

I know that we can't exactly go completely back to how it was back in the day where you could exchange a sack of potatoes for some corn meal.  And I can't imagine what would happen if a kid today said to me, "My mom asked could you tutor/teach me for this (fill in the blank)," but one thing I do know is this:  Bartering can work!

Now, is it just me or do you fellow crafters love other crafters' stuff?  Would you ever barter your handmade goods?

Happy Crafting,

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  1. What a cool idea? I definitely would. Especially if it was in a medium I'm not as familiar with. Love reading your blogs!

  2. Batering is such a great thing to do! I love the idea of doing so at craft fairs since you can see each others items and interact with each other. Your new bag looks perfect for so many uses!

  3. Most definitely. Especially if it is something that would make you smile every time you looked at it. :)

  4. I have traded crochet hats for a cake and a piece of used furniture. I was the go to hat maker when we lived on a base over seas (really small community) and did a lot of special orders. One happened to be right around my daughter's birthday and the lady had a cake decorating business and another time I was making a crochet hat for someone when she put a toy box I liked up on the online classifieds so I told her we could just do an exchange.

  5. Never thought abut it before but that is a great idea; however, if the price of the items are drastically different I'm not sure how it would work. Btw, I love your bag!


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