What is this Worth?

Just a few thoughts for you to consider before shop small Saturday this year, which is November 26th!

It doesn’t matter whether you’re selling applique sweaters, monogrammed backpacks, or zodiac themed jewelry or anything in between, people will question your prices.  There is also a lot of “I can do that myself for half the price!”

Okay, go ahead!

But, before you do, just remember a few things:

  • This wasn’t my first attempt – I’ve been quilting *currently* for six years.  I’ve made a handful of quilts.  I’ve watched hours and hours of quilting tutorials, color theory webinars, learned a lot of the history of quilting, tested techniques and practiced a lot to get my skills to where they are now.  So when you start to make a quilt for the first time, it takes you months, your seams come apart and it falls apart in the wash, nothing squares up, and you watch a couple of YouTube videos for help, then you’ll start to understand.
  • Cost – I think a decent price for the fabric, thread, batting, quilting, time and effort that goes into a quilt is $.06 cents per square inch, which isn’t really enough to cover an hourly rate for the time it takes to put a quilt together, but that puts a crib sized baby quilt around $125.  If you actually pay yourself and factor in the cost of fabrics and things, it’d be over $400.
  • Would you rather buy mass produced? – If someone wants to sell quilts made by machines half way around the world that is one in a million and will only last for a year or so before it starts to tatter for $30, that’s their choice.  When you make a million of something, lower standards of materials and pay next to nothing for labor,  it’s easier to cut the cost.
  • THIS IS MADE TO LAST: I know that our culture is one that buys to replace.  Nothing ever gets fixed anymore, because if it breaks you can just buy another one.  These quilts are made to last for generations.  They are special heirlooms that are meant to spread warmth and love.

These examples are just based on quilts, but I see the same issues across all types of makers.  I was next to some ladies making handwoven, beaded bracelets and necklaces for all less than $25 (I think a necklace and bracelet set was maybe $25, but I can’t remember) and people had no problem telling them to their faces that they wouldn’t pay that much for their work.  However, the person across from me was selling -technically handmade- backpacks and wallets that were made in Cambodia as part of a work program for $30-$60 and they were moving all day.

When you’re buying handmade, you’re helping a hand maker.  You’re showing them that someone else likes what they do.  Sure, no one likes doing taxes, but we pay that accountant to do them because we like that they can do it so we don’t have to do it. 😉  If you can’t make a piece of jewelry, quilt, or a stuffed animal, and you can just go buy it, you should!  TREAT YO SELF!  (Actually, that’s not where I intended to go, but it went there.  Here we are.)  “Those who can’t do, teach.  Those who can’t make, buy.” I’m sure that’s how the saying actually goes, right?  In all seriousness, it really does a lot.  You’re helping someone pay for their kid’s extracurricular activities, you’re helping someone fill a wage gap, or you’re encouraging an artist by giving them gratification by indirectly saying “that thing that you spend hours of your life and free time on and have poured yourself into, I like it.”

You know, I didn’t mean for this to be a rant…but it kind of looks like one.  Sorry about that.  I’m not mad about it, I just have a lot of feelings! 😀

I’m posting this early this week because of Thanksgiving, which I’m renaming Food Christmas this year.  You eat a lot of the same food as you do on Christmas, and the gift is the food and family, so for me, this year is Food Christmas.  I also have a coupon code in my shop this week (which you can get to on the front page of my blog at the top…or by clicking here to go right in!) use TreatYoSelf at checkout to get 30% off! (Ends Nov. 26th)

Until next time, happy sewing!

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