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For the other crafters here

posted 12/7/2010 7:48:51 PM |
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This is for the other folks here who do craft work. I admit i'm not a professional, i'm retired and have a small income, that keeps me off the street and a roof oover my head. What I do with my wood work just brings in a few extra bucks on occasion.

I know all too well the walmart mentality that abounds any more, and tho I don't like to deal with it, it rears it's head all too often. My brother used to do custom leather work, and I think he often undervalued his work. And believe me, he was damned good at it.

Now, down to the nitty gritty here. There are various ways to price hand crafted items, but not many people realize the work or time involved in doing something as a one off item. Much less the cost of materials, supplies, and other equipment. A singe 1 x4 x8 foot long pine board here will cost me about $3. then to make a simple spice rack, I have to cut that board on my table saw (500+ bucks), plane it down on my planer (200 bucks more), maybe cut a decorative top on it on my band saw (200 bucks), then assemble the pieces, glue it, clamp it, check it for square, adjust if possible, sand, then do the stain, or a top coat. Total time spent has been at least 3 hours. The use of electricity, and propane to keep me from freezing, the expendable supplies, wear and tear on the tools and equipment, and up keep on the building. All this for something someone wants to pay $5 for the item. GIVE ME A BREAK.

How much do you make an hour? Someone else is paying all your working expenses, providing your supplies. I have to do all that, plus pay for everything. And you want me to work for 50 cents an hour basically, or less???????????? I have but one thing to say to those people, get your head out of that deep dark smelly hole. If you make 10 bucks an hour and have to provide nothing, then why bitch about someone wanting a decent price for something hand made, and one of a kind. My time is every bit as valuable as yours is. And in many cases more so. So if you ask me about something, and you think it is too much, then go get the tools, supplies, materials, and make it yourself. Oh, you don't have the room, or the money for all that? Too frigging bad. Go to wal-mart and get it, if you can. But don't tell me “oh, I can do that.” Then expect me to buy that line of bull shit.

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Dec 7 @ 9:04PM  
No pun intended, but you've nailed it!
As an artist I encounter the same thing all too often.
If someone doesn't want an original or a high quality print, they have a choice to purchase a knock-off from China or any place of their choosing. I understand everyone has their own financial limitations and right of choice to purchase whatever they want... that's reality! I'm willing to cut someone a deal, but I have to at least get my investment back because I can't afford to lose money... that's a reality as well.

In a global economy flushed with cheap labor it makes competing as a craftsman or artist more difficult than ever. Hope you find people who can afford and willing to purchase your work... you make quality pieces and deserve a fair price for your effort.

Dec 7 @ 10:13PM  
Dont let anyone chew ya down. There is a big difference between mass produced and hand made often one of a kind quality. I sew all sorts of stuff for dogs an people. I wont touch a job for less than $10 an hour for my labor and they pay for supplies. My labor and supply costs are figured into the prices of my standard items. Custom jobs are closer to $20 an hour. If your good they will buy anyway.

Dec 7 @ 10:34PM  
LOL yeppers... I do what I call a give away.. So I can when and if I choose to make and give art away when and if I so choose.. I know in time I will have to make a few bucks and I should now but I have also gone the work and have seen no money from it so why bother.. LOL when I can do and give it away where and how I please... Smile..

We are not Wally/TV junk people.. So yeah, let em buy junk for no money and bitch when they support China and other child labor countries..

Dec 7 @ 10:46PM  
I too am an artist and crafter. I used to price myself too cheap and then got wise and raised my prices. Funny thing is I sell more at the higher and (more realistic) price as people perceive the higher price as quality. There is nothing worse than setting up at a holiday bazaar and someone tries to a $20 item by saying...."I give you dollar... you take one dollar.." I just tell them it's not a yard sale and the price is $20 take it or leave it.

I also sell my stuff at venues where there are comparable items like on consignment at the artist galleries, bookstore, visitor center etc. A lot of businesses will let you display your work for sale with a contact card and price tag for free as it decorates their business, changes regularly, is enjoyable for customers.

I also set up an online store. I found one that is free to list and listings do not expire unless the item sells or you take it down. Has built is carts with paypal and google too. I love getting that... "You sold an item" email.
Holiday bazaars are great too and so are business cards offering a discount on a second item purchased.

If you want to know the site email me. It's easy and no hassle.


Dec 8 @ 1:15AM  
I know only too well where y'all are coming from.

I'm self employed, I salvage and process firewood and deliver it, sounds pretty simple ain't a glamourus job, but its a job that feeds my family..and me occassionally ,lol
would you like getting out of bed at 5 am every morning, 7 days a week all weather and driving miles out into remote bushland on your own, spending most days in rain or mud,if you happen to get bogged, there is no help coming, its up to you to figure out how to get that 5 ton 4 wheel drive truck back out of a mudhole and onto dry ground again and then load up your load for the day and drag your sorry ass an hour or more back down winding narrow roads with blind corners you share with fully loaded tractor trailers where its compulsory to radio ahead just so you don't end up bug guts on their bullbar ( cow catcher)
then when you've fought the fatigue and finally made it back to town, you have some smart ass comment on how $60 a ton for firewood is too dear. but you didn't see him putting that $90 worth of diesel in the tank this morning , or the $10 worth of gasoline and chainsaw oil, then you have government taxs to pay on the timber you salvaged, truck registration on your $20 000 investment.
my expenses work out approx $35 of that $60 per ton, which means I end up with around $125 for a day that can be up to 12 hrs long if I get stuck or held up somewhere along the line...and we won't even jinx ourselves by mentioning the bad mojo that follows if you blow out a truck tyre worth $325 each ! (and you have 6 to protect every day )
no doubt there is the usual break downs or maintenance issues, but then some days when everything runs sweet, i can be out and back loaded in 5 hrs
but do I get an hourly rate ? no hope
the icing on the cake is when you tip all that wood off in someones driveway and then they casually say ; oh, I'll fix you up next week sometime if I remember

Dec 8 @ 1:37AM  
That's when you make sure they pay you before delivery and if they don't have it up front tell em you need to deliver it to the other guy who can pay first or leave em with just enough to get by until they see reason.

Dec 8 @ 4:15AM  
I'm with ya man!!!
Even trying to get my own "Handy Man" business going...I can see that Everyone wants something for Nothing!!!
I was at a local Gro. store the other day...and I saw a Lady that I use to work with...we chatted for several mins...and I gave her one of my Business cards..and told her I could do most anything....
She needed some Plumbing work done.....that would have took me 15 mins to do.....
I told her it would be Nooooo Problem!! she ask....ummm "How much do you charge"?
I said for you....I'll charge $15.00 a Hour!!! You shoulda saw the Look on her face...!!! The hell with her...!!!
I would have been Loosing money anyways, by the time I paid for Gas to get to her house!!!
Let her Pay someone else...$60.00 a another $60.00 just for coming out!!! my ass!!!

Hold your Ground Man.....One of these days PPL are gonna wake up, and want the Good stuff!

Dec 8 @ 5:40AM  
sadly DC the days of being able to take a mans ( or womans ) word as good enough are almost extinct. which means i've had to put my foot down, not to be a mean-ass but simply a business neccesity , I have to pay my fuel expenses up front before I can go supply their order
when we first started advertising deliverys were going to be strictly C.O.D (cash on delivery) we did have a drop off in demand,but it mainly turned out to be the very customers who expected us to wait for payment, which freed up time for the genuine ones to have theirs delivered more promptly too. so its all worked out for the best anyway now.

Dec 8 @ 11:20AM  
$5 for one of your spice racks???? I was thinking along the lines of at the least..$20.

I'm not a crafts person by any means here....but I have a sister who is an artist. And, she's good. Hers is a natural talent, she has always had a knack for shading, depth, and detail...and when she took courses in college...she was the favorite of all of her professors because of that talent. I remember when she was 15 years old, and had done a pastel picture of a pheasant and was showing it to the owner of the store behind our parents house...and there was a customer there who fell in love with that picture and offered her $50 for it on the spot.

Yes, supplies, equipment, and time are very valuable when it comes to creating. For someone to offer only $5 is an insult. I agree.

Dec 8 @ 12:23PM  
thanks to all of you that had comments. i wasn't pointing this at any one person here or any where else, just a point of view on my part. i knew there were people here who do craft work of different kinds, from painting to custom cabinetry. just didn't know who all they might be, and i'm sure there are others that haven't said anything.

and as tass pointed out, when working for yourself, there are lots of expenses to be dealt with. the items i have sold here have not been complicated, heck i'm too simple minded to try to complicate things, but i do the best i can and if it screws up, i eat the costs, and do it over.

now, any snuggle bunnies out there wanna...

Dec 9 @ 4:15PM  
I know all about supplies... and equipment. I already own a $12,000 embroidery machine with another on it's way, 2 ergers at $1000, another sewing/ emb machine $3000, a canvas/tent machine, $800, regular sewing machine $350, embroidery design/cad software $20,000, stock design collectons, $8,000 and that is before I even beigin to add up thousands of dollars in stock and thread and backings etc.

Sorry but the dollar/yard sale peeps can go kiss my ass.

Dec 9 @ 4:41PM  
I have no overhead as I sell services and have no need for supplies per se. But, I work with large corporations and that often means payment terms of 30 or 45 days net after an executive signs off on it. It can cause some cash flow problems to say the least!

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For the other crafters here