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Monday, February 25, 2013

How much is it worth?

So the big debate with handmade crafts is always, How much do I charge?

Personally, I don't do crafts to make money. I do it because I love it and because it keeps me sane. Over the last 30+ years of crafting, I have made very little money doing what I do. I usually end up giving it away. I think the egotist in me comes out when I here someone gush over something that I made, my first response is "Here, you can have it".

On the flip side of that, I do NOT like taking commissions for items. I did beading for about 10 years. A lady asked me to make her a beaded necklace. We picked out a pattern that she liked and when I asked her what color she wanted she said purple. Well, as with most things, in beading there are MANY different colors of purple. So I asked her to pick out the purple she wanted and she told me that she would leave that up to me since I was the "artist". So after working many hours designing and making this necklace for her, she comes in to pick it up and the first words out of her mouth were "can you make it in a darker purple?"Um....Yeah.....No.... I ended up selling it to someone else who was thrilled with it. Hence the reason why I do NOT take commissions.

I get that we invest a lot of time and money into our projects but I learned a long time ago that you will never get out of your project what YOU think its worth.

I hate going to craft shows and seeing the outrageous prices people put on their items. Its especially hard BEING a crafter and knowing just how much it costs to make those items. When I know that it costs $3.00 to make an item and the person is selling it for $30.00, just drives me nuts. I understand it, but it still drives me nuts. I would rather sell my items and have money to buy more supplies, than unpack and set up, sit around a craft show for 8 hours, then pack it all up and take it home, just to store it in boxes until the next show.

Just for fun, I decided to see what my current project would cost in terms of time. I am doing a filet crochet wall hanging that is 122 blocks wide by 162 blocks high. If you know anything about filet crochet, this is going to be huge! It could probably be used as a curtain on a small window.

Anyway, I used the stopwatch on my cell phone and timed myself doing one row. I then multiplied that by how many rows, divided that by 60 and then multiplied that by $8.50.

It looks like this: 12.25 minutes per row x 162 rows=1984.5 minutes for the whole project.
1984 / 60=33 hours x $8.50(roughly minimum wage)=$280.50 And this does not account for the supplies, going to the store, designing a pattern etc.....

$280.50!!! Would anyone ever pay that much for my project?? It would be wonderful if they did, but I am realistic enough to know that it will never happen. If I were to sell this project I would probably ask $80-$100 and even I think that is steep. I am actually making this as a gift for my cousin, so yet again I will be giving one of my creations away.

I don't know about you, but I have very little to show for my 30+ years of crafting. I don't have the room to keep everything I make and things would just get dusty around my house anyway. So over the years all the projects that I have made have either been given away or (a very small few) have been sold. Now with the age of digital photography and cell phone camera's I am able to take pictures of my projects for posterity. But it saddens me to think of all the beautiful things I have made over the years that I have no proof of now.

Hang on a sec while I blow my nose......

Ok, so the morale to this story is to not make things for monetary gain. Make them because you love it, its creative, it keeps you sane and because you are a good person. Give them away as gifts, donate them to charities or churches for raffles. If you sell something, GREAT, go buy more materials to make something else. But don't let your beautiful projects sit in closets or get covered in dust because you are too proud of your creations.

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