I could have called this Rant #4. Well I think I'm up to #4 or is it #3, but who's counting? But I am hoping to not be totally incomprehensible, as my son calls those my "incomprehensible rants". Therefore, I am hoping this won't fall into that category.
The other day while searching facebook for new fans for my facebook page, I came across another crafter, who shall remain nameless. I have now been thinking about this for two days and figured writing it down would make me feel better. This person was making handmade jewelry and had some fringe necklaces that looked hand sewn. They were not as elaborate as the ones that I've been doing or as others that I've seen. She didn't use as many beads or, obviously, take as many hours to make it. But still, she was selling a handmade necklace for $10.00. How much was she paying herself, maybe, $2.00 an hour. Is that all her labor is worth? Is that all mine is worth, or any other person who is making handcrafted items?
Never mind just the labor of making the item, how about the time and money spent to sell it? She was obviously on facebook looking for fans for her page. She has a shop on Etsy, so she has to pay a listing fee, and a percentage when she sells it. The monetary amount may not be much, but it takes time and effort to promote and sell.
Why should crafters or artists (I have known some who do the same thing) feel they should be willing to just give their work away? I understand times are rough, but they are rough for all of us. Until the right buyer comes along, I'll keep what I make. It's ok. I value my efforts a little bit higher than zero. Does this person think she will be able to sell more by keeping her prices down? Well maybe she can, but what's the point.
In all fairness to this unnamed person, she is not the only one doing this. I'm just using her as an example. Most crafters underprice. As far as I'm concerned, I'd rather see someone overprice their work than underprice it. And, I'd rather see that overpriced item sell. At least, it makes a statement that someone's work for any handmade item or painting or drawing is worth something. I think right now it's backwards. The public seems to think if it's mass produced it's valuable and that one of a kind, unique work should be sold on the cheap. And, I think, that as crafters, we are fostering this kind of thinking. Hell, maybe we're completely responsible for it.
If I followed her example, I'd sell my necklace that I'm posting here for $40 and lose money. I refuse to do it. I've told other artisans to raise their prices when I see them selling items for less than they are worth. Maybe not everyone loves what we do and won't pay our prices, but there will be someone that will.
Well I think I'm almost done, errrr, ranting. Maybe. If anyone out there happens to read this, please let me know what you think. You can disagree with me, I won't get upset....much. Maybe I'm totally out of line, but I really don't think so. I think this can, at times, be a dull, ugly, unhappy world and maybe, just maybe, when someone makes something that another person thinks is beautiful, it makes things ever so slightly less dull, ugly and unhappy. I think that is certainly worth something.