Are our books handmade? I have often been asked this question and I have always said yes, but after starting to think about it, the answer did not look so simple anymore. In the end, we sew 90% of a book with the sewing machine. And we use other machines as well. And what about all the toys produced in toy factories where there is manual labour involved? So where is actually the difference?
Well, I think handmade is less about HOW a product is being produced and more about what VALUES it brings to the world. To me, my products are handmade because my children get to see me designing and creating the first samples, and then they get to play with something that came out of my hands. They can see how rewarding it is to create something yourself, and receive appreciation for it and have people buying it in the end. It also makes them get creative themselves, like Ilinca is making her own skirt now from leftovers from the Mukibooks production from last year. It makes me so happy that I found such a natural way of keeping them away from “educational” cartoons and videos on YouTube.
Handmade for me is also when I meet my buyers on the markets where we go to sell our products and when I deliver them the books. It is a direct, honest relationship between the one who makes the product and the one who buys it. And it is not only about profit. It is about people.
We use different machines for cutting our materials and another machine to sew them. To me, they are all necessary tools we use with the purpose of making each book as close to perfection as possible and it is the love and dedication that our small team is putting into the process that a factory in China will never achieve.
I would love to hear also your thoughts about this. What is for you handmade?