Monday, April 30, 2012

A word about pricing...

Creature holding creature.
As many of you may have noticed, abbydid has been scaling back since last summer.  I had been hitting the craft show scene pretty hard, and the balance with family life was getting a bit out of whack.  It was becoming too much, I wasn't enjoying my work, and changes needed to be made.

The result was to drastically cut back on craft shows.  Today you can find abbydid plush in one of two places; my etsy shop and Fabricate, a brick and mortar shop in Northside of Cincinnati.

The next step is to raise my prices to better compensate me for my work.  This is the part of the job I hate the most.  It's difficult for me to price my work, I'm constantly under-valuing what I do.  I took a long, hard look at my price list recently and determined I needed to be more realistic about what I charge.

I've often joked I get paid in compliments.  Some of my shows I've participated because I consider it community outreach, a way to support neighborhoods I love and want to support, despite the knowledge the sales may not be very high.  After four years, however, abbydid needs to be more profitable to be sustainable.

This has had me pondering, probably for the 1,000th time, about the prices we pay for things, and how what we pay is too often unrealistic in relation to what an item actually costs to be made.  There's nothing quite like making something yourself to quickly bring home how spoiled we've become having inexpensive goods at our beck and call, not to mention the short cuts that are made to achieve these rock bottom prices.  Ethical work practices,  quality materials, workmanship, these arewhat are often sacrificed so we can save a few bucks.

In my personal life I strive to be a conscientious shopper.  I try to be a localvore.  I consider how the animals were raised when shopping for meat.  I consider the origin and growing season of the produce I'm buying.  I support handmade whenever and wherever I can.  If I'm going to talk the talk I had damn well better walk the walk.  But the reality of the situation of living outside of the city and raising kids makes this hard work.  Work worth doing, absolutely, but I'm not beyond taking a lazy shortcut here and there to keep things running smoothly.  I'm in Target at least once a week.  I know that's not ideal.  The majority of the clothes we are all wearing are mass produced over seas.  My biggest confession here - sometimes I just don't care.  Sometimes I get tired of trying to do the right thing and say to hell with it.  But this doesn't last long, I know better, and these aren't issues I can readily ignore.

Those are my personal choices.  This is how I believe my life should be led, and these are the ethics I want to pass on to my children.  The flip side of that is to be sure I'm compensated fairly, as well.  My kids need to see I value myself and my work.  I need to see that, too, honestly.

Now, I know all too well there are indie crafters out there over-charging.  Not every handmade item is an artisan, one-of-a-kind creation worth it's weight in gold.  But by and large this is not the norm, the vast majority of crafters and artists are struggling to strike a balance between making a profit and maintain a price that is attainable to their target audience.  It's tricky.  We, as a community, need to keep this in mind. Before we loudly complain at someone's booth when shopping at a craft show that this is so outrageously expensive, I challenge us all to stop and truly think about what it takes to dream up the idea, create the piece, make adjustments and perfect the design, photograph the piece, market it, list it online, haul in displays and tear them down again at a show, pay booth fees, take a 40% cut when selling through a store, shop for materials, and the zillion other things it takes to run a craft business.

Most of us are in it because of our passion for what we do.  We are crazy to do it, quite often, so it's the love of it that keeps us going.  To see a little profit at the end of the day certainly helps keep that fire stoked.

All this is to say, kittens, my prices have gone up a bit.  Thanks for your support and love.  Carry on.

Whipper Slappers, monster slap bracelets 


Wendy said...

Good for you, good for you! Your prices should reflect your awesome high-quality items! The people that value handmade items and the value of artistic pieces know what is what as far as pricing and know what is a fair price to pay. :)

Norma said...

Good for you! If folks want run of the mill ordinary stuff, they can go on the cheap. If they want quality and unique, it comes at a price.

rachael said...

agreed :) and well-said.

ROBOT Inside said...

We are riding in the same boat, dear Abby! When I recently did wholesale with a very large local, I saw what they are getting for my work and quite frankly, it's quite a bit more than what I charge. Changes are a foot.....hurrah for valuing you cos I value you mucho! You are priceless! now, how about those direwolves? can we make some puppies?!