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.