Top 4 Skilled Trades for Women Pursuing Unconventional Careers

Since the beginning of the digital age, the roles and functions of women have significantly evolved. There have been growing talks of the need to create gender diversity and incorporate women in male-dominated fields. Gone are the days when women were confined to the home to perform housekeeping duties.

Following the turn of the century, women persistently ask to be given more responsibilities in the running of the global space. This trend is evident in the continued increase in the number of women holding various jobs and positions. Presently, about 58% of women in the United States are in the labor force. They’ve achieved this through several women empowerment platforms that were set up to give a voice for women.

However, the skilled trades sector still suffers a shortage of women. Only a little more than 10 percent of them in the general workforce is making a career out of skilled trades. There used to be an ideology that skilled jobs are better suited for men, as they’re physically intensive, and the use of tools and machines is required. This ideology has, however, been quashed by the rising number of women thriving in those jobs.

Discussed in this article are the top five skilled tradeswomen who are interested in making a career out of unconventional jobs can pursue.

1.  Welding

There is often a misconception concerning this trade; many think it’s a profession mainly for men. It explains the poor representation of the gender in the field, as only about 5.9 percent of women in the American workforce is making a career out of welding.  It’s not true; welding is a profession that any non-disabled man and woman can do.

As a woman, if you’re looking for a career that deviates from conventional jobs, welding is a good one to explore. The good thing is that it doesn’t cost much to dabble; you need training and some equipment of value. Delving into the profession has a lot to offer you as a woman, and they include among others;

·        High demand for the profession/Job Security

The modern welding industry consists of a large percentage of people who are either retiring from the job or focusing on other endeavors. Against this backdrop comes an increase in the country’s population and continued growth of the industrial sector. There’s a significant need for new welders to fill this gap. By going into the profession, you’d be sure of job security as your services will always be required.

·        High Pay

Making a career out of welding will earn you more financial rewards than many conventional female-dominated jobs like nursing, pre-school teachers, receptionists, and many others.

·        Flexibility

Welding, unlike a regular job like banking, offers flexibility. You can be a welder and still manage other endeavors. It’s a profession where you can be your boss and set your timeline.

2.  Electrical Engineer

Electricians across the United States earn an average annual salary of over $60,000. So, it’s a highly lucrative venture. And contrary to beliefs that it’s a trade for men only, women are making headway in it. Electricians enjoy massive patronage in the US, and there will always be a high demand for them.

Just like welding, making a career out of electrical engineering as a woman offers you flexibility. You could be an electrician earning lots of money and still work other jobs, unlike many conventional 9-5 jobs.

3.  Carpentry

While carpentry is a male-dominated field, it’s no news that women are needed in the profession to create a balance. “What a man can do, a woman can do better” is a line used by many women to show that they’re capable and ready to take on tasks that have, over the years, been considered ‘men’s jobs.’

A career in carpentry would be the right choice for a woman as there’s much money to be made from it, and it also offers the flexibility many routine jobs can’t afford. Besides that, it allows being creative and innovative.

4.  Plumbing

When the word ‘plumbing’ is mentioned, what usually comes to many people is a picture of a man in a jumpsuit, with a bag of tool slung over their shoulder, ready to do some pipe works. Only very few people see the picture of a woman in the same circumstance. That’s to confirm that it’s indeed a male-dominated field.

However, that doesn’t change the fact that there are women who’re making great strides in the profession. It’s a trade that offers lots of financial benefits; you get to dictate whom to work for and when to work. Also, it’s a profession in high demand, further giving you the job security you need.

Conclusion

Not everyone cherishes the idea of working in a conventional 9-5 office setting. Many people, male and female, desire to be their boss someday, and that’s a difficult thing to achieve with regular 9 am-5 pm jobs. There’s, therefore, the need to explore the informal job sector.

The skilled trades sector isn’t just a man’s world, and there’s no greater joy than being able to dictate your life’s growth and career development as a woman. Making a career out of a skilled trade will give you the kind of job satisfaction that most conventional jobs can’t. Many women are doing it already; you can also do it.

7 Reasons to Buy Handmade Things

Do you love everything handmade but can’t explain why? Or, do you want to buy a handmade item but not sure if it’s a good decision?

Well…

You aren’t alone.

The “handmade effect,” according to a study published on the International Review of Management and Business Research (IRMBR) journal, positively impacts customers’ buying intention.

Handmade has a positive effect on buyers’ perception of product appeal, and even willingness to pay more for such items.

Also known as handicraft, handcrafted or homemade, handmade items (both high and low involvement) convey love, uniqueness, show status symbol, quality, and creativity. They’re also green, customizable and support local artisans and communities.

These attributes of handmade items explain their popularity among consumers.

According to the same study above, handmade items are often in high demand. For instance, Etsy, an e-commerce platform for handmade things, experienced an increase in sales from US$314 million to US$1932 million between 2010 and 2014.

The figure is 71 times its first sales in 2005 when the business was founded.

Similarly, Hermes International Group, a brand for high fashion handmade items, realized a 288% increase in revenue between 2005 and 2014. Sales increased from US$1553 million to US$4483 million over the same period.

If you can’t explain your love for everything handmade or simply want a reason to get your hands on something handcrafted, read on to find out why.

Top 7 reasons handmade items are ever on high demand

Handcrafting provides detailed products, higher quality, and more… Other surprising benefits or reasons to buy handicrafts range from sustainability to uniqueness.

Handmade things are:

  1. Eco-friendly and sustainable

Handcrafted items, unlike mass-produced products, are sustainable. The latter involves bulk buying due to the low cost of raw materials. This translates to a reduction in significant amount of production costs for the manufacturers to make a profit.

The large-scale companies own large and noisy factories or production facilities with emissions that pollute the environment.

On the other hand, handmade items are usually made from homes or small craft studios with little to no effect on the environment. What’s more, they’re made local to eliminate the need for transportation or shipping over long distances.

High-quality materials are picked to craft handmade items. Local producers or green suppliers and recycled packaging are often involved in the process of creating handcrafted items. Together with ethical sourcing, handmade products are sustainable.

As a result, handmade items are eco-friendly and sustainable.

  1. Unique and stands the test of time

No two handmade items are made the same. Homemade things vary in shading, color, shape, texture, and grain. The distinct qualities render each handmade item unique.

It’s the uniqueness of each homemade product that makes it special. Every handmade item undergoes true craftsmanship to bring out its unique look, character, and value.

Uniqueness makes each item an authentic piece. According to an article on Forbes, handmade offers something more personal and different.

The items are also crafted to last a lifetime. They’re made from high- quality materials to ensure they last a long time. They’re always on trend to withstand the test of time.

Most handmade items are often designed for future trends, meaning they’re always on-trend. The items are made perfect and don’t require upgrades or changes in the future.

  1. Authentic, creative and thoughtful

A craftsman showcases a unique idea in every handmade item. They reflect the authenticity and creativity of the maker in ideas and features.

Although mass-produced items can mimic handmade products, they’re fake. The love and skill that goes into making each handcrafted item make it authentic.

The beautiful work of craftsmanship celebrates the artisan’s creativity and skills. The items exhibit the thoughtfulness (skill and effort) of their creators in their appearance. This is something you can’t help but appreciate as the buyer.

What’s more, handmade items, according to a study published on PHYS ORG, are made with love.

  1. Supports local artisans and economies

Buying handmade supports local artists and crafters, a local community and a local economy. Behind every handcrafted item is a real person.

When you purchase a handcrafted product, you impact the life of a real person with school fees to pay and a family to feed.

You also don’t pay for hidden fees in added commissions, maintenance costs, operational costs, etc. often included in the price of items sold in shopping malls.

Buying homemade items keep individuals or groups working and earning. The money earned pays tax and supports local economies. The money you spend on handmade things directly impact the lives of the persons behind them.

The maker and seller of the items also gain confidence with each sale. They’re motivated to improve their skills and re-invest their earnings in the business to continue crafting beautiful artwork.

According to a quote on https://www.pinterest.com/pin/335236766005332929/?lp=true, an actual person does a happy dance whenever you buy handmade.

  1. High quality, customizable and tells a story

Crafters understand the value of each handmade item. High-quality materials are used in craftsmanship to produce items that last. The feature excellence and careful workmanship that goes into each item translate to its durability.

You can order personalized homemade items because they’re customizable. Whether the item is sewn and knitted or molded, you can provide a custom message to be included on your custom product. This is handy when buying something beautiful to give out as a gift.

Crafters bespoke handmade things to create a feeling of pride in each crafted item. The goal is to make you happy with the finished product.

Moreover, each handmade product has a story to tell. It reflects the hours or days of work that goes into its making. It showcases the artisan’s skills and creativity, and the hours invested in learning and perfecting the skill.

There’s a story behind the design, color, texture, material and size selection.

  1. Promotes continuity of traditions and craft skills

Buying handmade enables craftsmen to continue practicing their trade. It’s a great way to showcase traditions and promote their continuity. Handcrafting is as old as mankind. It began way before the industrial revolution.

Your purchase supports learning of crafts, creating handmade things and the history of crafting things. It promotes the continuity of art and creativity to future generations. Art and craft are kept alive and skills passed on to the next generation.

Apart from keeping the TRADITION of making handmade things alive, buying handmade fosters a demand for creative skills in the education system.

In the fast-paced world that’s computer-driven, it’s in everyone’s best interest that skill-based courses are still offered in institutions of higher learning. This would ensure that craft skills aren’t lost because handmade is fast being replaced with less labor-intensive solutions.

It’s a sure way to maintain handcrafts and people’s cultural identity. What’s more, skilled industries are the key to the future of using renewables for environmental sustainability.

Buying handmade indirectly supports the continuity and increase of skilled artisanship.

  1. Celebrates a people

When you buy handcrafted items, you celebrate people. Real people, traditions and rich culture are behind every handmade item.

Unlike in mass production where one-size-fits-all, craftsmanship celebrates unique living cultures and traditional lives. The real ideals behind every distinct artwork.

You celebrate the unique creativity, skill, effort, time, and technical ingenuity that goes into your handmade product of choice.

Conclusion

Whether you’ve bought a handmade item before or not, there’s a good reason to get your hands on a beautiful work of art. What’s more, the authentic items are often premium and durable enough to pass down your generation.


Emma Hughes is a 25-year-old P.P.E. student who enjoys social card games, watching sport and jigsaw puzzles. Intelligent and reliable, but can also be very lazy and a bit moody.

Crafter Profile – Rachel Beckman

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1. Tell me a little bit about your crafting business.

My business is primarily based on hand weaving and making accessories and utilitarian textiles, though I do dabble in the illustration to design and digitally print fabrics for quilting and other sewing projects.

I am interested in the history of textiles and the way cloth so quietly integrates itself into our daily lives. There are so many pieces of cloth that we use every day, like dishtowels in the kitchen, that we see as somewhat disposable, and my goal, to sum it up, is to make a dishtowel so awesome that it will become a family heirloom. Basically, I believe that when you buy objects that are handmade, and well made, they will last longer than that same object purchased from a big chain that carries to emotional attachment because there is no hand attached to the work.

I absolutely love weaving; there is a lot of love that goes into my work. My hope is that love shows on the cloth, and as you live with the cloth it will start to carry your own history.

2. Where can we find you?

I currently don’t do a lot of craft shows, but this year you’ll be able to see me at MICA’s Art Market!

3. Who or what inspires you?

History and color. Honestly, I just love to buy yarn. I have a whole bookcase full of yarn and most of my work starts with me grabbing a color and finding which want to be together that day.

On another note:

Parts of my senior thesis work at MICA involved heavy research on the history of the American circus so that part of our cultural history has a huge place in my heart, thus A Fiber Circus and the prominence of Circus-themed fabrics in my shop. Circus for me speaks to images of elegance and beauty, but also a quirkiness that I strive to bring to my pieces.

4. What helps you stay organized?

I write a lot of lists, and I give myself deadlines. I don’t always meet my deadlines, but if I miss one I always feel guilty and then I get back on top of things. I have a smartphone, and there’s an app that I use called Weave where I can make projects and to-dos, and keep track of income and expenses. That last part is great because sometimes it can be difficult to work out pricing or see a profit.

5. What is one thing that you would like to do better?

I wish I could sew faster! Sewing all those tiny hems takes forever!

But really, I do wish I was better at keeping on top of the neatness of my workspace. I’m more productive when I have a clean space, and it’s really easy for all those loose threads to get out of control, especially if I’m in a work frenzy.

6. What does your workspace look like?

I’ve attached a picture! I work out of the living room in my one-bedroom apartment, so it’s small but I think I make space work.

7. What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?

Don’t do it if you don’t love it, and never let stress get in your way. Work often makes itself, and if something isn’t happening the way you wanted to expected, that’s okay. Sometimes it’s better to just let your hands take control and make the work for you, and if you’re doing work you love that can happen more often than you might think!

8. What’s your favorite thing to do in Baltimore?

I’m a simple girl and I love to eat! I love the movies, so I have to say going to The Charles to see a movie and then grabbing some crepes or tapas after is a heavenly day for me.

Ukrainian Egg Dyeing

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Instructor: Mallory Steele
Date: March 10, 2012 2-4 PM
Cost: $20 + $6 Material Fee

Want to jazz up your eggs for Easter? Want to impress others with your egg dyeing skills? This class shows you how easy and fun it is to create unique and colorful eggs. You will be amazed by your new skill and want to keep and display your creation all year round. This technique has been around for over 3,000 years and resembles the look of batik dyeing.

This two-hour class will introduce beginners and intermediate dyers to the fun technique of Ukrainian egg dyeing. You will be taught line quality and how to layer color. All materials will be provided.

Experience/Expertise: Teacher assistant, Woven Imagery at Maryland Institute College of Art, 2010.
Responsible for helping students when in need of instruction or advice, lead demos on weaving and dyeing techniques, and provided an extension of knowledge for weaving and the history of it.

Registering:
To register, call us with a credit card at 410-685-4388, pay in-store with cash, credit or check, or pay online via PayPal. Please leave your full name, phone number, and email address when registering.

Basic Embroidery

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Instructor: Mallory Steele
Date: March 31, 2012 2-4pm
Cost: $20 + Material Fee: $8

This introductory class teaches you the basics of embroidery. Teaching you a variety of stitches and how to combine the techniques to be used in decorating fabric.

This two-hour class will introduce beginners to a variety of stitching techniques, and how to incorporate other materials into the cloth.

All materials will be provided. If you wish to bring materials that you would like to use for your project you are more than welcome!

Experience/Expertise: Student, Surface Resist Dyeing, Maryland Institute College of Art, 2009.
Learned how to dye an array of fibers using Pro MX and Acid dyes. Learned how to resist dye using multiple methods (Shibori, Batik, Thiox, and bleach).