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Topic: An Underselling Discussion: crafting problem everywhere...  (Read 24741 times)
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gilowyn
« Reply #60 on: September 18, 2007 02:04:43 PM »

Funny to see this discussion still going after 1 1/2 years. Smiley

We don't have craft fairs in Germany, so I am stuck there - I need to sell through brick and mortar or online. Since posting two months ago, I have actually joined Etsy after all and am doing okay. My sock monkeys are expensive, but I have to make and sell a lot less than people selling for $20 a piece.

I also believe that many of the people underselling their work will eventually get out of the game - you just cannot work for supplies only.
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ironmaiden
« Reply #61 on: November 02, 2007 08:43:15 AM »

Funny to see this discussion still going after 1 1/2 years. Smiley

We don't have craft fairs in Germany, so I am stuck there - I need to sell through brick and mortar or online. Since posting two months ago, I have actually joined Etsy after all and am doing okay. My sock monkeys are expensive, but I have to make and sell a lot less than people selling for $20 a piece.

I also believe that many of the people underselling their work will eventually get out of the game - you just cannot work for supplies only.


I looked at your work - just fantastic, and I love that you are charging what you're worth.

I think it takes a great deal of self-confidence and self-respect to decide you are going to get what you are worth for your work.  As other craftsters have said in this thread, it's very difficult for most women to do this (and the majority of crafters tend to be women).  It's a skill that most of us have to force ourselves to learn rather late in life, because very few of us are raised to think about ourselves this way.

Talking about it like this is a great start.
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Rubywoo
« Reply #62 on: November 02, 2007 02:34:44 PM »

I am currently having a problem with pricing my items. I would like to bring in a bit of extra cash into our household since I am a stay-at-home mom. I learned to sew whe I was a teenager and I have not been able to stop since. I consider myself to be a skilled sewer and a creative one as well.
I contacted this morning by a woman seeking my sewing services to make three duplicates of a handbag she has. I responded letting her know what my rates are along with a disclaimer basically saying that handmade does not mean cheap and that it might be more cost effective for her to buy them in the store than to have me make them. I think my rates scared her off. This lady has not replied as quickly as she did the first few times to let me know her demands. This leads me to believe that she contacted me with the misconception that she would be saving money and that she is not interested in the quality product she would get in return. I am not working in a factory in China for $0.05/hour for a company that buys their materials and supplies in mass discounted quantities. I cannot undervalue my time and effort. To tell you the truth, I could care less if she does not reply.

Last weekend I gave my sister a cute little handbag that I had made just for fun. She took all her things out of her Dooney & Burke, shoved it in her closet and proudly took it to work on Monday morning. She got many compliment on it. One of her co-workers inquired about wnere she got it. She told her that I had made it and that I make other bags as well. Weel, Chistmas is coming up and this girl wanted me to make her NINE of those same bags to give as gifts to the women in her family. I gave her a price per bag based on labor and cost of materials. It was the absolute lowest I could go without cutting myself short of a profit. My sister passed on the info to her and we have never heard back from her since Monday. 

It just kills me to think that there are so many people out there that have that same misconception. They would pay $300 for a made- in-China Kate Spade but not for a carefully-handmade, unique bag by a skilled individual. Since when has factory-made or mass-produced meant  "quality" or "worth $300" or "careful craftsmanship"?
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ironmaiden
« Reply #63 on: November 02, 2007 05:28:35 PM »

Rubywoo - this is a huge problem I have seen as well.  A friend asked me to make a cloak for him for Halloween and Renaissance fairs - he said that to buy one would cost him about $200.  So, because I let the fact that he is a friend get in the way, I ended up shelling out an extra $10 for supplies over the fabric he purchased, and 4 hours of labor for $30 (that had to cover the $10 I spent as well).

That was it for me - I should have asked him for at least $60-70 for the work and personal cost, but I was too nervous and worried.  Never again.
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Tinkerbellforever
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« Reply #64 on: November 08, 2007 01:45:04 PM »

my two bits:

I think the problem with selling one's wares can be that [I may tread on a few toes here, I apologize] a lot of sold, handmade items are just not very good quality.

my personal philosophy is that if you're going to sell your wares, it should be something you cannot buy in a store, or of quality much, much higher than what you see in the store.
In other words, I will not attempt to sell what I could teach someone to make for themselves in a matter of hours. Or, I will only sell those things if the supplies for them are deeply discounted.

That said, if you actually have a beautiful product that is appealing, and that meets those criteria, I believe those handmade items should be sold for more, both for creativity and craftsmanship.

I think a lot of people sell things so low because the handmade market has grown, but the quantity far outweighs the quality. [I'm a pretty critical person, so just forgive me. This is my opinion. Smiley]
So in order to sell quality stuff, because "handmade" has come to be synonymous with "cheap" and "questionable workmanship", folks seriously devalue their items.

however, that will eventually change. I would encourage those of you who know you have a quality product to go ahead and bump up your prices, and if necessary, continue searching for creative venues to sell them that will set them apart from the kitschy and uncreative.
And hopefully, this post will inspire you to look at what you're selling and continue to question how it could be made better, how it could stand out even more, and what sets you apart from the other people trying to hawk similar items.

Once again, my intention is not to offend. If I did stir you up, however, I will consider my job done if you use that energy to prove me wrong. Smiley

[As a note: I don't sell any of my handmade items, because I examined myself and my level of craftsmanship and decided I have a lot more to learn before I feel like my t's are crossed and i's are dotted to the extent they need to be for me to feel like i'm selling a quality item.]
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paulinerose
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« Reply #65 on: November 09, 2007 03:34:47 PM »

I love being controversial and this is one of those topics. I skimmed through a few of the posts and I wanted to offer my take. I don't know if these things have been covered but here goes my .02

If you search for DIY on ebay you get a slew of results. I amazed at the fact that a lot of the items are starting at less than $5. Some people even start at .99. A lot of these sellers I have seen lurking around here and on livejournal, myspace ect. It kills me beacuse I think the bottom line is- it is becoming a popularity contest. Spam people with friend requests, plaster your stuff on every craft board possible and people will link back to you and eventually after you're plastered all over the web, eventually someone will buy your stuff. I don't think these "DIY'ers" want to make less, but they are hoping more to "make it big" as in get discovered like so many myspace types and youtube and ect. I also think that they are a younger new generation and perhaps they dont quite get the meaning behind the arts & crafts movement? (just my opinion ok)

Now this has a lot of effects that I have personally noticed as I too spend A LOT (too much) time researching and analyzing (sort of) these trends so I can try to adjust my items and prices. One of the biggest effects for ebay sellers is (it seems) if your t-shirt or sweater or whatever isn't adorned with some heavy metal punk band on it then you won't even be able to sell it for .99 I have listed numerous items on ebay and after 3 times with no sale I resorted to lowering the bid in hopes that people would bid, and bid the price up but I only ended up selling my item for under $10. While at the same time other items of similar style will go for 20-50 dollars. Those are made by the same people I notice all over the internet that I mentioned before. So is it popularity or is it reputation? There IS a difference between them.

With Etsy I thought it would be different so I price my items a little higher but still under what I feel I should be getting, because as mentioned before brand name labels at Macy's and the like are easily upwards of $150 for one item! (I'm talking uber designer here!) And I like to compare a true designer not just a "DIY'er" to those labels because they do put that much time and energy into their work. Its outrageous to me some of those rock t-shirts on ebay that have obviously only had the sleeves cut off and the sides taken in and they say its "DIY" and it sells for 40+ dollars! Anyway I have had over 20 items on etsy for about three months and I've sold 5. I got a fair price which I charged only because of all this trend going on I felt like people will feel ripped off as someone else mentioned and they might not likely purchase.

I use all recycled items in my designs which is a whole other topic that I could go on about for days...but it does make my costs very low but I feel my time is worth at least $15 an hour and thats MINUMUM. I mean in CA alone where I live the min wage is like $8. Why on earth would you want to charge your labor at less than that?  Oh to end my lengthy post, it does suck that this is going on and that it makes it that much harder for those of us who do put quality into our work to get a fair price. So you just have to keep doing what you do best and that may mean NOT using etsy or ebay. Personally I gave up on ebay but I think etsy has potential. You just have to figure out what works for you. And also don't be afraid to take this message outside this board! We have to raise awareness to new crafters! Hmmm maybe we should start a union? (lol) Anyway hope you enjoyed my flappin!

Chrystine
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dangerous suburbanite
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« Reply #66 on: November 10, 2007 12:51:02 PM »

Tinkerbellforever, I think you're right.  I've seen people say things like, "I just found my mom's old sewing machine in the closet and made my first bag - do you think I could sell these?" as if it's that easy.

After years of learning and working on my skills, I've just started to really consider selling some of my stuff, and that's tentative because I know I still have a lot to learn.  This idea of just being able to slap something together right off the bat and sell it is just plain silly, imo.

That said, there are a lot of really beautiful, unique, interesting handmade goods available out there, and the crafters who make them are skilled artisans who should be paid generously for their talent and effort.
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CraftyChef
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« Reply #67 on: November 11, 2007 04:01:54 AM »

I look at it a different way - if you're not making a quality product and you're not making money, you won't stay in business long.

People selling...crap lack a commitment to their offerings, and I'm guessing to their business as well. Sure, there are always exceptions, but let them have their 5 minutes of sales - I'm going to be around long after they're gone.
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dangerous suburbanite
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« Reply #68 on: November 11, 2007 08:50:37 AM »

I look at it a different way - if you're not making a quality product and you're not making money, you won't stay in business long.

People selling...crap lack a commitment to their offerings, and I'm guessing to their business as well. Sure, there are always exceptions, but let them have their 5 minutes of sales - I'm going to be around long after they're gone.

Good point.  If there's not passion there, crafting for money is just like any other jobby-job.
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stitch813
« Reply #69 on: November 12, 2007 05:53:07 PM »

I've been doing craft shows for years and I think it comes down to the clientele that shops at a craft show.  For the most part they are the people who will buy a plastic bag with chocolate sprinkles called reindeer poop for .50(BTW if you are looking to make a quick buck their tables are always swamped).  But sometimes a craft show is the only way to get your work out there.

There are also those ladies who pick up your designs and the following week they are copied and made cheaply selling for $20.00 less than you do.  That being said there really  isn't anything you can do except find your own originality, never make the same thing twice and hope that people think it is unique enough to pay for it.  I dare say I don't make half as much money as the reindeer poop ladies but at least I can sleep at night.
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