Made with Love

I had a fast-food shake recently that said very boldly on its cup

"Handcrafted"

Aside from being generally confused by the implied value in my shake being crafted by a minimum-wage-earning 17 year old hands, I was mostly dubious at the claim. I could be mistaken here, but I think the commercial shake-making steps are pretty standard. And it involves a machine mixing everything up. I mean, someone's hands are holding that cup maybe...but again, does that really qualify? What % of hands need to be involved to make such a claim? Why do they think I care if it is?

Spock's  take on milkshakes is too logical for this post.

Spock's  take on milkshakes is too logical for this post.

This mediocre shake got me thinking about the value of hand-made, hand-crafted, hand-painted, hand-finished products. Why do we want hands touching our stuff? I'd like less hands touching my food, but thats another conversation. I have my theories, but I decided to consult with the wise Google and this piece did the best of jobs telling me what I wondered. 

According to a study in Journal of Marketing: 

“Handmade products might be perceived to contain and transmit the artisan’s “essence” in the form of his or her love for the product in a way that machine-made products cannot,” write authors Christoph Fuchs (Technische Universität München), Martin Schreier (WU Vienna University of Economics and Business), and Stijn M.J. van Osselaer (Cornell University). “The customer then perceives the handmade product itself to be literally imbued with love.”

Interestingly, this consumer bias towards handmade most often manifest in products purchased for loved ones vs someone seeking a 'high performing' product or something for a distant friend. Also interestingly, this isn't about a product actually being more or less handmade, its about products that market themselves as such - "It is important to note that we focus on the way companies communicate the production mode (i.e., as handmade vs. machine-made) rather than the actual, physical production mode." 

So, now I understood - this fast food marketing team wanted me to feel that my $2 shake was IMBUED WITH LOVE. And they assumed that I wasn't seeking a high-performance shake but wanted to gift said sugary dairy dessert to someone I cared about. Someone really special. Perhaps myself.  

Doggone it, you deserve a love shake.

Doggone it, you deserve a love shake.

What kind of love can I expect to feel from this shake-maker?

We...define love as the warmhearted passion a producer has for a product or its production process, and that as a result is embedded in the product.

The definition of love here is a warmhearted passion a producer has for their product or process and therefore, embedded in said product. And if I eat it, I will feel that same love! How beautiful is that? This oddly-labeled shake makes a lot of sense now.

I once knew a man who was vegan on the premise that he did not want to consume the fear of an animal that remained within it after it was slaughtered. It sounded a little crazy, but I see that we carry that sort of thinking into our handmade soap collection. Maybe we all want to have a warm passion for the work we do and see it carry into the final product in these romantic intangible ways. Is that weird to want that? Is that why we get warm fuzzies when the employees at Chick-Fil-A say "My pleasure?" I would suppose we want other people to love what they do and feel that in our hot chicky sandwich. 

That likely also explains why extremely passionate people are the subject of a lot of attention (mocking and adoration). That kind of love is magnetic, its considered bizarre in a world of "working for the weekend" Americans. If we can't feel it, we want to be near it, or buy it. Do you love what you do like that? 

I would like to take this opportunity to point out that I use my hands to design every single piece of work I do - by mouse, tablet or notepad. Per this interesting study, I'm going to start sending my invoices with "HANDMADE WITH LOVE" and will also raise my rates 30%. jk. 

On that note, here's some really rad videos of people making things by hand. Feel the love. Make something you're really passionate about. Eat a shake. 

Emily Bunnell