I know when you first begin the whole craft thing, and think hmm I can sell a few things here or there and don’t really mind working for peanuts, it’s not like I intend to make a living from it right?. Hell isn’t it enough just to cover the costs of your supplies so you can buy more, and have more fun?
Having been officially selling my crafts for over a year now and having had some long conversations with fellow crafters about the value of our work my view has changed just a little.
In short no, no it’s not.
Underpricing is a mistake I am guilty of making. I did not realise that my prices could actually have an impact on what the market thinks beautiful handmade items are worth. There are people out there with extensive skills and years of experience also trying to sell their items and some of them actually are trying to make a living from those skills.
When most of the selling is happening online the customers cannot touch and compare the items accurately either. All they see is “similar” items with huge price differences. They don’t see the hours spent or the long honed skills. Or the fact that one of the two items has completely disregarded the value of their time.
As time goes by, and I learn new skills and abilities, care for two children, work nights and try to maintain a home and marriage I have come to realise that my time is actually really rather valuable. Should I not get paid a fair wage per hour it takes me to create items to sell?
So here I am throwing out an apology to those skilled crafters out there that I may have made things difficult for with my $6 bamboo/cotton booties. (yes I was stupid enough to originally charge $6!) That hour I spent on each pair should have atleast been worth the $17 I get paid per hour for my mindless nightfill abilities. (or closer to it anyway!) I was thinking within my small little box of wanting people to see my work and purchase it. I was not looking at the big picture.
Of course if someone saw my booties, and something similar in the little display cube next to it they would wonder why the other pair were $15 and doubt their value. Wouldn’t you? As a caring community we need to try to look out for each other and promote the value of lovingly handmade items that take hours of our time and supplies out of our back pockets.
I know we need to find a balance between a fair price for us and something that customers are willing to pay for our items but please don’t make it any harder for people to see the value of our work. Please consider the hours you spent making it and give yourself a fair wage for the greater good.
I get healthy competition but there isn’t anything healthy about promoting our time as valueless. Is that not the problem with slave labour? Is that not a big part of why people choose ethical clothing and handmade options in the first place?
Craft should be fun, and it doesn’t all have to be so serious and grumpy but just take the time to consider what you are doing to the community as a whole if you don’t price your goods in a way that says hey I have skills and I know how to use them! Put a little value into yourself and in turn the rest of the crafting community around you.
We are skilled people with items that people want to buy. We just need to get them to understand the difference in time and value of our handcrafted items and what they can get at best and less. Lets not make it any harder on each other.