And why we pay more for it…
As any of you who regularly reads my blog will know, I am a writer, artist and crafter. I create things, which I hope to sell. The thing is though, that as a creative, I have found that so many people really object to paying a little more for the things that I make.
It’s the same with most of my friends who are also creatives. People see the mass produced, machine made things in the big mainstream shops, at a tiny price, and then they baulk when I tell them my prices.
The thing that they aren’t taking into account is that I have trained, and practiced, and honed my skill to produce this item; I have spent hours, weeks, and sometimes months, working on it, and have poured a tiny piece of my heart into it.
This is the difference when you buy from a small independent, rather than a big chain store. Obviously, I am aware that some people simply cannot afford to not buy from a big chain, and I don’t judge them at all.
But as an example, if I were to crochet a cardigan, I would need to purchase the wool, which isn’t cheap. I then spend many hours working to create it, buying, or inventing a pattern, and correcting (probably many) mistakes that I make. I would then charge about £60 for that cardigan, which could, if desired, be adapted to fit individual shapes and sizes. I have had people claim that this is far too expensive, and yet, these same people would have no qualm about going into Marks & Spencer and purchasing a mass produced cardigan for £70–80.
How does this make sense??
This is the problem facing all small creators. We cannot possibly charge an hourly rate, as if we do, we would invariably price ourselves out of the market, and yet, these companies are effectively getting in the region of £60 an hour, and they are using mostly machines to do the work!
I guess what I’m trying to say is that, when you buy handmade, you make an individual do a little happy dance. They feel valued, and worthwhile. You may pay slightly more, but you will be getting an item that is completely original, and which will generally be finished to an extremely high quality, because let’s face it, the odd complaint to somewhere like Marks & Spencer, and a refund is a drop in the ocean to them… they simply don’t care, but to a small independent creative, this same complaint could cost them a lot, not just financially if they have to issue a refund, but also in negative feedback.
So, before you go shopping in those big stores, just have a think about whether you could find a small independent creator who could give you something far nicer and better made.
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Li Carter is a writer, artist and crafter. She lives in South Wales, UK, with her family, and five rescue dogs. She’s on Twitter @rbcreativeli , Facebook: Rainbow Butterfly Creative, and Instagram @rainbowbutterflycreative and is the author of My Only True Friend: The Beginning. She is currently working on a new series titled The QuickSilver Chronicles. She is the original Rainbow Butterfly, and wants to fill an ever darkening world with a little bit of beauty and creativity.