GA

Sunday, 22 May 2011

Come on people - time to re assess

It's been bugging me for a while and I have to say something now.
I saw a post in the forums on Etsy the other day
'people need to price their things more realistically - they are too expensive'

Okay fine, everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but ....
on the whole the items on etsy, the handmade items, not the resellers who are sourcing their bits from the third world, are mainly underpricing themselves.
I have reevaluted my pricing structure three times now, and still I find I'm at near enough zero at the end of each month once I have taken into account supplies, packaging, tools, bits and pieces, paper, ink, electricity, fees, postage, equipment etc etc, and that has not taken into account my time.

I today got the shock of my life when I went to buy some silver wire. As I've said before, the price of silver has gone through the roof, and for me to make the ring that I wanted with the stuff that I bought, using the pricing structure that I do, would mean I would have to sell said simple bloody stacker ring for about £40. Yeah right, and there are stacker rings on etsy selling for $10. (Sure they are not the same thickness, and so not as expensive to make). People are selling items for cost plus a dollar or two. Items that take maybe an hour to make, when you take into account all the steps, from the cutting, soldering, sanding, polishing, tumbling, buffing, and that is the simplest ring you can make.

Now look, I look for bargains, I like things as cheap as the next person, but when something is handmade, there are other factors to take into account, like the making!!

People, can we just get things in perspective. When I was 12 (roughly 40 years ago), I bought a school skirt for 4 (lets forget the currency, it will make sense anyway) . My father at that time was earning 8 a week. Our house had cost 8,000. A few years later I left school and started work and earned 12 for a week. A couple of years after I bought a pair of boots for 17.
Today, I earn more than 12 an hour. That house now costs 150,000 - yet I can still buy a skirt for 5 and I could still find a crappy pair of boots for about 20. The only way that is possible is because some poor soul in some third world country is living a life of subsistance for $1 a day or in some cases a week. When I got married over 30 years ago a television cost 100. I bought a television last year for 150.
So, when someone in the west makes something with their hands, why are we expecting them to accept the same wage as a third world person?
For myself, I use silver. Silver will last a lifetime, what I make could well last a person their entire lifetime and if they like it could be an heirloom, I spend a lot of time making sure it has a finish that is worthy of it and expect it to look good for a long time. I take a lot of care and maybe spend longer than necessary on making it as good as possible. However, I live in the west and have to pay for a house that costs a small fortune, pay fuel charges that 20 years ago would have made people choke with laughter in scorn. So, no, I will not be dropping my prices. If someone wants to buy something that has been slaved over by some poor wretch, who will work 20 hours a day, 7 days a week and live on a bowl of rice if they are lucky, in order for it to be 'cheap', that is fine by me, but I am not that person. I slave over my things as well, but when I buy something, something that I really like, I know that I will forget how much it cost the minute I put it on, and will value it for itself, and be happy that I have found something that is unique. I make my items as economically as I can, I certainly don't charge an hourly rate, but my items and the other items I see on handmade sites in general are very fairly, sometimes too fairly priced, and I think it's high time all of us realised that there is a price to pay for 'cheap' often in human terms, and that skirt for 5 and crappy pair of boots for 20, should really not be on our high street, not now that we belong to a global village, we should all take responsibility for what cost these things really have in the big picture.

15 comments:

Lisa and Willow said...

Very well said!

Alison Reid said...

Bravo!!!

Somethingxtraspecial said...

Thank you Lisa and Ali. I think it's something we all feel, just need to get the idea out there.

averilpam said...

I agree with what you are saying. Unfortunately in the current financial climate many people are dropping their prices in desperation to sell whatever they can, which is a great shame.

Seavbeach Designs said...

Very nice post Sue. I love how you speak your mind. I was at a craft fair Sat. and over heard a jewelry artisans customer ask,"Whats the best price you can do for these earrings?" I almost spit. I would never ask down on handmade. I know alot of thought and love goes into each piece no matter the size or the detail. If your prices go up due to supply costs, there will still be the person that will admire your pieces for what they are.

Somethingxtraspecial said...

Averilpam, I think you're right, but it's a bit of a chicken egg situation, all the time people do this, it is expected. My hope is that more people will stand their ground and charge a fair charge and eventually it will be seen as the normal price instead 'ooh that's expensive I could get that cheaper in (name yr local supermarket chain).

Anise, pretty much the same idea,because b and m shops can have such a huge mark up, people think ts noithing to drop a bit off, without realising that is probably the only profit on the piece. Do any of us truly - when everything has been taken into account add on then 150% pure profit? Would love to but doubt I even get 15% ;-)

Somethingxtraspecial said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Somethingxtraspecial said...

In case you were wondering the post that was deleted was me double posting!

Dotty said...

Well said- I really think we should be prepared to pay a fair price for something and surely the point of buying handcrafted is that the goods are not mass produced and cheap as chips, but are made with care by skilled craftspeople who have put thought, time and something of their personality into each piece

Somethingxtraspecial said...

Dotty - you said that in a few short words better than I did - Well said!!

Dan said...

This is a great post, and a very important topic. I think the problem lies, as you suggest, in the people who underprice their work. They are hurting themselves, as well as those of us who price appropriately. I think that we, as a whole, need to work harder on educating the consumers on what goes into making a piece of jewelry, so they more fully understand what their money is being spent on. Those who truly value artisan work and that special handcrafted touch won't mind spending more in the long run.

Janie said...

Love the way you explained this!

Somethingxtraspecial said...

Dan - I think you are right there - we have to let people know that it doesn't take 5 minutes, and somehow let them know what the true value is. It's obviously a subject that affects us by how many have commented.

Thank you Janie ;-)

bluetina said...

You are so right! I have a formula for pricing my work but it doesn't take into account the rise in the price of silver. I'm going to have to adjust my prices upwards if I want to carry on making. Hopefully, there will always be people who appreciate quality and are prepared to pay for it. I've just got to find them!

Somethingxtraspecial said...

Tina its just impossible to keep up isn't it. I saw on one suppliers site yesterday (again that the price is going up 1st June) that it has risen 250% this year! That can't be right can it?? Hold on, will go and check. Oh yeah - 270% in one year!!
http://www.metalclay.co.uk/