Kitschdesigns

A Few Words on Handmade and Pricing

January 19, 2020 10:16 by ehouston

One of the biggest issues facing Makers out there is how to price your items.  I am constantly tweaking my formulas and trying to rework the numbers to get to a price I think a buyer will consider and honestly....it never seems to matter.  I have sold the same type of items for $30.00 and $130.00.  It all seems to depend on the place I am selling and the type of customer that is looking through my stuff.  In the past I have been that person that walks through the craft fair thinking to myself, "I can make that" and thinking I can do so for so much less.  If there is one bit of knowledge that I can pass along to those that frequent handmade fairs and boutiques it's that YOU CAN'T!  In most instances the Maker is selling their wares for pennies and only keep going because they have a love of, and internal need to keep creating.  For some of us it's the only way to stay sane and unfortunately even if we spend hours perfecting our passion and creating a piece of art or useful item to sell we will never see it go for a price that comes any where near covering the cost of time and energy (and materials!) that go in to it.

  Vintage Upholstery Embroidered Bird Adjustable Crossbody Bag image 1

I am putting this out there because I wish I could find that magical place to put my items up for sale that is frequented by people who understand what it takes to create.  I wish I knew where all those lovely souls go to shop and understand that, "I could make that for myself, but why invest in all the materials, labor and trial and error it takes to get it right when a perfectly created piece is right here for the buying?  And, I will pay that higher price because the Maker has invested so much time and energy and love into this one item.  AND, I GET TO HAVE IT/USE IT/WEAR IT right away!".  I'm looking for those people and no matter how many articles I read about how to price my wares that question is never answered.  

 

In fact, I find myself hearing over and over again about how easy that is to make and how the store owner is trying to rob people blind.  I saw that sentiment in a comment on a post by a local store recently.  The person making the comment was so insensitive to make the remark in the first place, but to not even know what the item was made from and then take the time to say something negative and demeaning about something that took time to curate and then create.  The shop owner was very gracious to explain the materials and pricing, but I still left that post with a sick feeling of "this is how so many people feel and they have the loudest voice in this industry".  

 

My hope is that people continue to consider shopping local rather than Big Box and really think about where things come from.  I wish people would take some time and really think through how the world is effected by their purchases and how they can change a mindset about what it costs to keep stuff out of the landfill and in circulation.  Buy handmade, upcycled, recycled and made from scratch items from materials that already exist.  Back off the thinking that says all my furniture needs to be new and from Ikea, Target, Haverty's, Greenfront, (insert chain store here).  Remember our mindset of only wanting cheaper and cheaper prices sent manufacturers out of this country.  Cheaper means lost jobs, and more than anything crummy craftsmanship.  It means items that don't stand the test of time and don't make it as hand-me-downs or the family heirloom.

 

If we could all just change our mindset about how we buy and remember what it takes to actually come up with a product or idea, pull together materials, create a pattern through trial and error and then make that item, then things could really take a turn for the better.  Craftspeople and Makers could stop pulling down their prices in hopes of a sale.  We could stop losing money just so we don't die in an avalanche of our unsold items.  Makers, how many times have you off-loaded things for nearly nothing just because you had to get them out of your space?  We have all been there and the sad thing is, that in doing so, we just hurt our own cause.  If we could all come together and price our creations right, we could all find ourselves "quitting our day job" and really making a living from what we love to do.

And, frankly, I think the world would be a better place for it.

Sincerely,

Erika 


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Craigslist Progress Update #3

February 23, 2011 02:09 by ehouston

Roughly a month has passed since I first got serious about posting items on Craigslist.  Today I plan to go into my account and do some updating and reposting to get my items back up to the top of the list.  And, HOPEFULLY out of my house!  As posted here, at the two week mark I had managed to sell a suit, a patio chair and a display board.  Since that posting I have also unloaded two more of the patio chairs.  Although it’s not the major exodus of unused items I had hoped for, things are coming along okay.  Plus, it’s all for free.  The posting, that is.  One thing I will reiterate, though, is that unless you are okay with people showing up at your home, the process of getting the item to the customer is a real pain.  I have found a good local (and fairly close to home) spot for meeting up and making an exchange, but just getting to that point can be daunting.

I mean, I must answer 4 or 5 emails per interested customer before we ever meet up.  That is, if they decide to show.  Then there will be 2 or 3 more emails if they can’t come, or didn’t show, but still want the item.  Then, as I mentioned before, there are those lovely people that say they want what you are selling only to never be heard from again after the initial emails go back and forth.  Just this past weekend I was set to meet someone and they emailed me waaaaay after the fact to say they needed to change our meeting time.  They had forgotten that they needed to pick someone up from the airport a mere 30 minutes after the time we had set.  Well, the meeting spot we had planned is about 30 minutes from the airport, so the time they agreed to in the first place would not have worked at all.  And, who “forgets” that they have to pick up a visiting family member from the airport?  I let all of this slide not only because I wanted to sell that last patio chair, but also because you just never know someone’s circumstances.  Since I did not get the email until about 20 minutes before the new meet up time they were requesting, and I was not ready to leave the house, I agreed to meet them the next day instead. 

Change acknowledged, email response sent. 

No response to confirm. 

Check email later in the morning. 

No response. 

Check email no less than 10 more times throughout the day, but no return message confirming the change to the next day.  I even checked several times again the next morning up to the time we were set to meet. 

Then, suddenly, late in the day and HOURS after we were to make the exchange I finally get not one, but two responses.  The first one to say they had sent a response and waited at the designated place, at the designated time for 30 minutes only to leave upset and empty handed.  The second to let me know that I could sell the item to someone else.  (Well, thanks for your generosity!)  I searched all through my inbox and spam folders.  No email response from them…at all!  UGH! 

Another fun day with Craigslist!

Kitsch Krafts


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Craigslist Progress Update #2

January 25, 2011 06:55 by ehouston

I certainly don’t want to jinx it, but I have managed to sell a couple of things since last week.  A suit, one patio chair and a display board.  I am also planning to meet-up with someone this evening to possibly unload two more suits.  We’ll just have to see how that goes.  One thing that I have discovered about the process of selling for free is that it is VERY stressful.  The stress lies in the fact that every time you turn on the news there is another story about a “Craigslist” killer or someone being car jacked while making a trade.  It’s making The Mister insane!  I never have anyone come to my home and I prefer to meet them in a well-lit, populated area, their home or their work.  So far, I have gotten through three trades unscathed and the forth, scheduled for later today, is with one customer I met already last week.  She just wants to check out some more of the suits I have listed.  I pray that all continues to go well going forward and that I unload even more of our stuff.  Until I started doing this I had not really taken inventory of how much extra stuff we have laying around.  We figured that after moving and living here for about a year and a half, if we haven’t used it (or unpacked it for that matter), we really don’t need it. 

Now, if only I could unload the big items first, like all those chairs!

Kitsch Krafts


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Artfire - I'm Giving It a Shot

January 17, 2009 11:22 by ehouston

I decided to try opening up a storefront on Artfire a couple of weeks ago.  It's the latest edition to the online handmade stores out there and it appears to have a pretty good fee system.  I figured that after about 7 months of selling on Etsy with very low overall sales, it was worth checking out a new venue.  My hope is that my items will be more visible due to the smaller number of current shops on Artfire.  Now, I just have to work on getting the word out.

Come check out my shop and all the others on Artfire!  It's kind of nice because when you run a search you do not end up with a completely overwhelming list of things to go through.  Plus, sellers can list up to 10 photos, which is great!
Happy Handmade Shopping!
;0)
Kitsch Krafts

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