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Topic: An Underselling Discussion: crafting problem everywhere...  (Read 25130 times)
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amie
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« Reply #20 on: February 06, 2006 08:04:03 AM »

Cute shop name and I liked your butterscotch and blue lagoon bags. Very nice!
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Mel B.
« Reply #21 on: February 06, 2006 08:06:16 AM »

Hi all, there's some basic economics rules that are often left out of these discussions that need to be remembered here.

Many craftsters feel that although they make the same stuff as everybody else, i.e. bags and jewellery, their stuff really is "one of a kind" or totally different. If a crafter had a monopoly over purses or jewellery or whatever, then they really incorporate a generous self-payment into their prices. Then they can ask virtually any price they feel they deserve, and people will pay.

Unfortunately, this simply isn't true. This idea that you should be able to sell your goods at the "correct" price violates at least two assumptions of competition: 1.) None of has a large share over the market for our product; we are price 'takers', not 'makers'. We can't choose our prices, we have to go with the market, or face being uncompetitive! There are thousands of people making purses out there and a buyer can go anywhere else, and 2.) Nobody HAS to buy any of our crafts; they simply aren't inelastic goods (absolutely necessary), like good, basic clothing and shelter. It because of this elasticity of demand that crafters can't charge whatever they want or deserve.
There are simply too many competitors out there and too much unecessary crafty stuff that people do not NEED to buy from us.

The only way would be to address what this topic is party about: crafters who undercharge and undersell other crafters to ensure a sale. The only thing to do would be to somehow get GLOBAL agreement from the entire crafting community--a collusion--thousands and thousands of us to agree that we must apply a standard when pricing and not undercut each other. A Global Crafter's Union of sorts. Can you imagine it?!? Maybe someone should put out the call.

Philip Kadubec is the author of "Crafts and Craft Shows: How to Make Money", where the author supports this very same view: when you price your pieces to encorporate all possible costs plus profit, you WILL most likely price yourself out of competitiveness; you have to price according to what people will pay and what's going on in the market, plus work on perfecting your craft to justify a higher price than the guy beside you. Tell your story, bring the customer into your world. I don't really feel it's useful to bellyache endlessly about having to compete with cheap, factory-made, sweatshop goods. It's the new reality and as such, we should all become active participants of the anti-globalization movement. But otherwise, it's all been complained about to death.

What DOES irritate me are the many people on this forum and elsewhere who lead off threads proposing: "I have a fair in two weeks, does anybody have any ideas about cheap, fast stuff I can make?" Here, it seems that it is profit and opportunity driving the craft, not the other way around. I don't think this does the crafting community any favours.

Sorry for the craziness. And for the review of basic economics.
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amie
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« Reply #22 on: February 06, 2006 08:20:51 AM »

"Think Globally, Act Locally"

Just trying to come up with a quick calculation on the sheer number of crafters that sell their crafts (online and off) is insane, let alone getting a percentage of them to come to an agreement. Not that I don't applaud the concept though. However, to at least get those who active online sellers might be a way to "think locally." That's what I like about the Switchboards. The women I talk with are all about working together, and not how big business handles things: cut and cut some more until you've cut out the competition, then raise prices to profit. We're putting together indiefinds.com and we're going to all be in Bust mag together in an ad. I'm the only one who does what I do in this co-op, but there are several others who sell bags, and other clothes, and still others beauty products. No one is changing their pricing because the other gal is being advertised next to them in the same ad. That's what I like about it all. It's people selling their stuff because they love to craft, but not undercutting their sales because they know their stuff is worth it.
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starlene
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« Reply #23 on: February 06, 2006 08:30:11 AM »

Thank you for the compliment amie - it means a lot, especially about the name.  Can you tell me more about the switchboards or where to find the information.
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amie
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« Reply #24 on: February 06, 2006 08:33:12 AM »

http://www.theswitchboards.com/forum

Join us! We are predominately women, but we have a few guys too. It's all about women in business helping and supporting each other. These are the kinds of people who take their craft seriously. There are a lot of designers who do beauty products, clothing design, handbag and accessories, etc. They give advice on PR, website stuff, legal issues, etc. It's a great place to learn, and learn you will. I think I spent 5 days online before I actually spoke up. There was so much to learn.
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muchachaK
« Reply #25 on: February 06, 2006 09:52:21 AM »

"If I sold my bags for $40.00 (which is what I would actually like to sell them at), no one would buy them. Hell, I posted that price here on Craftster and people bawlked at it."

I do sell my bags for that price, and people do buy them.  If people balk at it, clearly they are not your customer.  If your work is of high quality and workmanship, people deserve to pay you for it.   

I don't want to restate all of the stuff people have already mentioned that I totally agree with and am relieved to hear regarding the importance of pricing accurately, and fairly.

But here's a related issue, I think it's come up before in other threads but I'll say it again:  women, in general, have a problem asking for fair wages.  Since most of us crafty sellers are women, I think this translates to the present conversation.  Women in general are known to not ask for raises, in situations where men won't hesitate to do so.  When I see crafters here on Craftster and in other forums say things like "oh, but I feel so bad asking for money for something I made..." it makes me want to scream.  And if someone truly thinks they deserve to not get paid fairly for their time, I think there IS something wrong with that and they should think about why it is that they feel that way.  Because it DOES undervalue the work of other crafters in general, and it DOES, by virtue of the fact that most of us are women, perpetuate sexist undervaluing of the work of women.

I think it's different if you are doing something like making crafts to donate the proceeds to charity.  But that's a whole other bag-o-worms.

We do not need to apologize, ever, for expecting to be paid fairly for our work.  And by fairly, I mean a wage that in the "real world" would translate to an hourly living wage, not a poverty wage. 
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You need a handbag...  www.muchachak.com
starlene
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« Reply #26 on: February 06, 2006 10:00:45 AM »

That's what I like about you Muchachak, you say things so eloquently!  I absolutely agree with everything you said.
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amie
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« Reply #27 on: February 06, 2006 10:04:20 AM »

AMEN. I say that in a non-religious "thank heavens someone gets it" kind of way. It's so true. I'm tired of seeing people's work being undervalued, women's work, weither it be crafts-related or otherwise. I don't proport to be a feminist, but rather just believe in the concept of equality. There's not reason why someone should feel bad for asking for more. Nor should they feel bad for asking for money for their time and consideration.

I'm sitting here today working on a pattern I have spent countless hours on. This weekend alone I was at the computer both days, ALL DAY, and here I am again today. My price point for this pattern will be higher than my other bikini because of the time and attention I have put into it to make it a good one for any beginner crocheter. I don't feel bad about asking more, because I know my customers appreciate the attention to detail I put into my work as well as how thorough, and well-written they are. I have countless repeat customers because of it.

So, I say, if you're in because of the love of it, and you sell your stuff, make it worth it without feeling like you're taking someone to the cleaners over your pricing.
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kookoosp
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« Reply #28 on: February 06, 2006 10:09:53 AM »

I don't have an Etsy shop, but I sell my roll-up knitting needle cases in a local yarn shop.  They sell for $45+.  I sell them for this price becase I know people will buy them for this price, and they are worth the money.  The people who purchase them are giving them as gifts, etc., and they really love them.  I've sold 13 so far.

One thing we need to remember as craftsters is that our work is one-of-a-kind in most cases and that we love the things we make.  People who see me wearing things I've made ask me all the time, "Oh, where'd you get that???  Really?  You MADE this??  Can you make me one???"  I agree with the statement someone made about consumers of today wanting unique, original and not-mass-produced goods.  I think this is the direction many are heading, and we need to make sure that we don't under-sell ourselves.  But hey, if it suits you, go right ahead.  I just know it won't be me.  

Nice topic, by the way...   Grin Cheesy
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amie
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« Reply #29 on: February 06, 2006 10:12:35 AM »

I like the points that you made kookoosp. It's true. The trend is shifting slowly towards Indie. I think for that reason alone we shouldn't undervalue our work.

Congrats on selling so well in local shops!
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