CustomMade is an electronic matchmaker for customers with an idea and craftspeople with the skills

custom-made front page
Screen capture Custommade

I learned about Custom Made when they pitched an infographic about walkable urbanism. I am pretty wary of infographics, and who they come from, so I always check out the company behind them and the sources of information in them.

Digging deeper into Custom Made, I found that it was a whole lot more interesting than the infographic. They are "an online marketplace connecting Buyers who want one-of-a-kind creations with professional and passionate Makers of those goods."

It's often hard for craftspeople to sell their stuff very far from where they make it. It's even harder for people to find the craftspeople they need to make something they want. The beautifully done video is all about this, about people looking for special things for all kinds of reasons, all custom made to order. It's sort of an Etsy for custom work.

This can be tricky stuff; CustomMade is acting as an intermediary, an electronic Yenta (yiddish for matchmaker) between customer and craftsperson and taking a fee for its service. Some of it is quite expensive and when things are made to order, they don't always come out the way people expect. I could make the case here that this is why one should work with professional designers and architects, because people often think they know what they want and end up disappointed; With so many people using the service, there are going to be disputes. They have set up a pretty elaborate dispute resolution process with some guarantees. Review sites don't throw up any red flags.

collectiosn photoCustommade/Screen capture

For those who are not quite sure what they want, there are Pinterest-like idea boards, and there are also special collections of already-made one-of-a-kind furnishings from craftspeople, if you don't know exactly what you want. It's not cheap stuff, but some of it is gorgeous.

numbers Custommade/Screen capture

Since the current management acquired it in 2009 it has produced some big numbers, and backed by serious investment. It's the kind of thing I love about the internet, its ability to connect people, to expose talented craftspeople to people who are looking for them. Lots to look at on CustomMade.

In addition to their actual business, CustomMade has a terrific blog covering a lot of subjects that have nothing to do with their day job, but has some great green content ranging from tiny houses to happy hens to rainwater harvesting. They pitched the walkable urbanism story, but I think their post on How to Make Sustainable Furniture Choices is much more appropriate. The infographic is good but the post is better, thorough and full of links.

CustomMade is an electronic matchmaker for customers with an idea and craftspeople with the skills
This is how the internet is supposed to work.

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