Monday, November 21, 2011

red socks reality check


The red socks from earlier. As I mentioned then, I felt they needed some snowflakes amongst all that red. So they got some before I handed them over to the buyer.


This is how the red socks turned out in the end. Had I had more time I would probably have stitched some more on, but I like how they look now too. And so did the customer. Very cozy looking snap this.

the red socks and their new owner

Thank you kindly for all sweet comments on my knitting, crocheting, making! I'm very happy you take the time to write them. Heart.

I would also like to write a few words on the selling of crafts and handmade things. In this case my handmade things. Some years ago I did sell my things and made more of an effort on the promoting. It went pretty well. That was before every department store and high street chain began offering similar stuff at a fraction of the price most crafters are able to sell their items for. (Unless you're a celebrity or a lauded, for more or less good reasons, designer.)

I have an Etsy shop for my jewellery (and other places where I display my stuff, have a look at the my-shops-page above) - I rarely make jewellery these days, seems pointless when I don't sell it and already have pieces I enjoy using myself - and the knitted/crocheted things. But I'm simply not able to compete with the "Etsy-prices", so it's an empty li'l shop. I have absolutely no idea how so many crafters are able to create, sell and seemingly make a living (are they really??) with such prices on their pieces. I'm sadly and unfortunately well aware of the fact that crafters and artists rarely get a reasonable pay for all the work and time they put into their pieces, but really the materials alone cost more for me than many of the end prices in Etsy-shops. I simply can't get that equation to work.

Basically things in this world are to cheap. People are getting so used to cheap things - can we blame IKEA for this too, please? - demanding things to be cheap, not grasping the quite obvious fact that if YOU are not willing to pay a reasonable price for the things you buy, well then someone further down the line of the production chain has had to pay for it instead (salary, working conditions, poor quality, the environment and so forth).

One the one side I wish people could see the wonderful value in handmade, 'slow-made' items, often OOAK, yes, there's a little piece of the soul of the maker in every carefully handmade thing produced. On the other side I wish crafters wouldn't be so afraid to take a reasonable price for the things they make, instead of collectively engage in cutting the prices. I may not be able to afford 10 pieces that way, but the one or two I get instead are even more treasured.

If you haven't guessed by know, this is another thing I think about a lot. That in this day and age of cheap instant gratification and a planet on its knees due to that behaviour we all need to shift our way of buying (and selling).

So. By no means do I feel that my work with yarn, needles and hook are more worth than anyone else's, but I'm just not willing and able to sell my pieces for prices ridiculously out of touch with the reality of materials and work I put into them. If other crafters can sell for figures that work for them, well done indeed. Myself I haven't in general been able to. These days I only sell pieces when people explicitly ask for something. And yes, I'm all for trade-offs - in case we have something we're both interested in trading.

My views on the matter. And red socks.


Elephant's Child said...

Loved the socks. And am a firm believer in the true value of the hand-made, made with love and care versus sweat shop factory production.

Felis said...

Is this some sign of destiny? :)
Before few hours my sister told me to be more positive and next year to try to sell my handmade things in Etsy and now I read your post.
I absolutely understand you - past months I sell really great scrapbook program. I spend many hours in internet marketing in few site but most customers only ask do will have free giveaway (probably on the end of this month :) in my blog).
I feel so exhausted! What Christmas will be this?

Kit said...

Agreed, we don't want to pay what things are actually worth. This is very obvious when it comes to purchasing groceries, even. I live with a beef farmer. He says farmers don't even get 10 cents from every dollar that beef costs on the shelf. It all goes to the middle men, and farmers struggle to make a living. If we had to pay a fair price for the actual time, effort and expertise that goes into raising animals or grains, we would REALLY be complaining.

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