What is DIY (Do It Yourself)? Definition why such a craze?

DIY are the initials of the expression “Do It Yourself” which translates to “do it yourself”. The original expression is English because the movement comes from the United States. It designates the fact of making by oneself a product that one can buy ready-made on the market. In France, in 2015, 2 out of 3 people practiced DIY*. The proportion has probably increased a little further. Why is this approach so successful today? Where does this craze for “home-made” come from?

The main DIY trends

DIY is in itself a vast market : events, books, editorial content and videos on the Internet, raw materials, tools, etc. And this trend is found in many areas: beauty, decoration, clothing, etc.

L’Upcycling translatable by “recycling from above” consists of recovering objects and transforming them to give them a new use: an old suitcase becomes a bedside table, an old ladder becomes a bookcase, a used pallet serves as a coffee table.

DIY is also a way to get involved in creations around intimate and strong life events, while making some savings : design your birth announcements, arrange the wedding table yourself, organize a very personalized bachelor or bachelorette party. Behind the DIY, there is the idea that a particular moment in one’s life cannot be completely delegated to professionals and that involvement in the event is a sign of the value placed on it.

The Do it Green (Do it in an ecological way) consists of preparing your own beauty products or household products to ensure the origin of the products and their non-toxicity for you and the environment.

Sewing, knitting and cooking are other aspects of DIY. Collective workshops, video courses and blogs of ideas and advice are multiplying to help you make a pocket square with clothes you no longer wear, a unique crocheted comforter, or a designer cake.

Different ways to experience DIY

Beyond the citizen aspects*:

  • 70% of women who practice manual labor experience it as a sharing activity and as many opportunities to weave or strengthen ties with loved ones,
  • 41% do it to have a good time,
  • 26% experience it as a way to strengthen self-confidence, to flourish and to enhance one’s talents.

An opposition to the unbridled consumer society?

The DIY has accents of the past, evoking a time when our ancestors darned, knitted or cooked by themselves. In the 1960s, “modern life” developed and settled in everyone’s home, bringing its share of “ready-made” products. However, since the 2000s, adherence to this modern life is no longer unanimous. Oppositions arise. Today’s current consumption and production models are increasingly challenged. The standardized products have less and less the quote, the industrial manufacture becoming more and more suspect. Admittedly, practicing DIY is not an explicit gesture of rejection of society and what it offers today, but it illustrates this trend.

For some, adopting DIY also means adopting as many gestures to consume in an eco-responsible wayto avoid waste, to choose the products used, but it is also to reclaim a form of knowledge (know-how in this case), by mastering the steps and operations necessary to obtain a finished product.

DIY is the sign of a shift in values

At a time when changes are coming more and more quickly and when individual lives are charged, time has become a value. Thus, by making a gift yourself, you offer above all your time, and this is more important than the monetary value of the object.

DIY is also a form of appreciation of manual labor. Stories of senior finance executives becoming carpenters or ceramists are growing, illustrating that our world of paperless transactions is becoming less and less meaningful to a growing portion of people. Manual work is a form of return to basics and a way of giving meaning to existence.

People also feel more than ever the need to stand out, to be seen as unique individuals. A garment is no longer the expression of belonging to a group but the extension of the personality and uniqueness of the person who wears it. And the only way to wear something truly unique is to make it yourself.

The craze for DIY on the brand side

On closer inspection, DIY doesn’t save you that much. To make a soap, you will have to buy the raw material to make 5 or 10 of them. While industrial manufacturing had made it possible to lower the cost of products, making a product by yourself is often more expensive than buy ready-made. While the DIY trend could initially be seen as a threat to businesses, it ultimately turns out to be an opportunity, provided supply is adjusted to demand, and the traditional customer relationship evolves.

DIY sells and the brands have adapted to give the consumer what he wants: support and the transmission of knowledge. Specialized websites, television shows, video tutorials and in-store courses nurture the relationship with the customer while building loyalty. A DIY course increases the average shopping basket because it facilitates and justifies unplanned purchases.

* Survey carried out by the Ipsos institute at the Créations & Savoir-Faire trade show in November 2015 on the practices of the French in terms of creative hobbies.

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