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Friday, 28 June 2013

Why is handmade “so expensive”

I decided to write this article to shed some light on the work that all of us that run a handmade business are doing

I know many sectors of the economy have started to recover but the craft industry still isn't so.with a constant question from buyes Why handmade is “so expensive” With so many store closings and web-sites shutting down. There is less and less things we can do

Sometimes it’s better not making a sale then charging less than it’s worth.

This is a few I have heard over the times

“Rs 700 for a t-shirt?!”

“I love your website, but everything on it is overpriced!”

“Your stuff is too expensive.”

“Are you rich or something?”

“I could make that for Rs 100.”

“Sorry, but that’s a rip-off.”

“rs 1000 for a your stuff? You’re not Gucci.”

I’ve heard it all. It’s not something I hear often, but any other seller will tell you- you remember every comment like this. They get under your skin. They fester. The next thing you know, you’re a walking rage zombie! At first it made me worry that my prices were too high. And even now that I have years of success under my belt and wonderful repeat customers that assure me my stuff is worth every penny, the rude comments still hurt my feelings sometimes.

This is my job. It may not be like your job. I don’t have a boss or regular hours, and I don’t have to drive to work or even get dressed for it , but this is how I pay the bills.

I’m always tempted to asked these people, “How about I come down to where you work and tell your boss you’re overpaid?” Because that’s essentially what they’re saying to me. Why not be rude right back? But I’m too polite to do so.these comments stem from a lack of awareness versus rudeness,including all the behind-the-scenes stuff you probably never even think about. (And that most of us don’t charge for.)

maybe I can just make a few people think, “Oh, I hadn’t realized how much work goes into that!”

Step 1: The design phase
I sketch most of my ideas before I start cutting. Sometimes it’s completely spontaneous. I just start doodling and see where it takes me. Other times I have exactly what it will look like all planned out, and I want to get it down on paper so I don’t forget anything.

It’s usually just a quick scribble of pen or pencil on paper. Other times I take more time. I’ll add color with colored pencils or do the sketch 4 or 5 times before nailing down a particular design.

Step 2: The drafting phase
I make a lot of one of a kind designs, which naturally requires some drafting. This can range from drafting an entirely new pattern to altering an existing pattern in my collection.
For most custom orders, I redraft my pattern to match the customer’s measurements, as most people don’t fit into “standard” sizing.

Step 3: The cutting phase

This is another step that varies from piece to piece

Step 4: The Gluing/ sewing phase

Step 5: The measuring, weighing, and inspection phase

Step 6: The photo phase

Step 7: The photo editing phase

Step 8: The listing phase

When I add an item to my website, I have to upload the photos, write the listing description, and decide on a price.I can copy most of that information, but it still takes time. It probably takes about 10-15 minutes to complete the original listing and 5-10 more minutes each time I relist in one of my other venues

Step 9: The marketing phase 
Listing isn’t enough. The second most important component of selling an item online (photos being most important, as I mentioned before) is promotion. If you don’t get the word out, no one will know your stuff is there! For the time it takes me to promote one item on the various social networking sites, estimate that goes on and on

Step 10: The shipping phase

Once an item sells, I have to get it packed up and ready to ship. I spend about 5 minutes tagging and folding and another 5 minutes packaging and labeling. Then I email a shipping notification to the customer.

Note: Most sellers actually drive your package all the way to the post office and stand in line. They’re not only spending time doing that, but they’re spending money on gas. I have the post office next to my apartment a walking distance of 5 mins, but for some sellers, this is a big Time Hog.

You can make the case that taking photos, editing photos and listing the items all should count as overhead. But so should the TON of time I spend doing extraneous things not counted on this list. Responding to customer emails is a huge one. Every time someone asks a question about an item, it’s another 5 minutes, at least. For the average custom order, I spend at least an hour emailing back and forth with the customer, sketching, shopping for materials, etc. Probably more like two or three hours.

I have to order supplies. I try to clean and oil my machines and my work area everyday. Not to mention the actual cost of  machines, computers, utility bills, rent.

In most standard pricing models, you double the “at-cost” price for wholesale to cover the overhead and then you double the wholesale price for retail! I would be surprised if there were many .I don’t point that out for pity’s sake. The responsibility to price things to meet my own goals and needs is on me. Like many artists, I choose to price where I’m comfortable knowing it will sell.handmade sellers using that kind of pricing model,

My stuff isn’t marked up at all, and neither are most handmade artisan goods. Even so, our time is more expensive than a sweatshop worker. But when you buy handmade instead of buying from a corporate giant, you’re getting a lot of things from us that they can’t offer. Handmade means we care about quality and attention to detail. Sweatshop workers care about one thing: make it as fast as possible. Handmade means we care about customer service. All corporations care about is that green stuff in your wallet. Handmade means you’re helping the local economy. Corporations mean you’re helping some rich get even richer.

The point is:  We put a lot of time and effort into my pieces, which is what I’ve tried to illustrate here. If you don’t appreciate that, that’s okay.All I ask is that the next time you’re going to open your yapper about the price of someone’s handmade goods, think before you speak.

And lastly, I’d like to take a moment to thank all of my customers, who are NOT the people that make the comments at the beginning of this post. With their support and appreciation, I am able to do something I love.

and share your comments 


  1. wow...that is perfectly written...I would love to share this...can i..please let me know. Thank you for writting this...

  2. Definitely Nima be my guest share it :) I am glad you like it. your most welcome am glad you agree with it as well

  3. wonderfulpost , would love to share it

    1. Thank you So much Kavitha Please do share it is for everyone to know :)

  4. Replies
    1. Thank you Shailee, apart from it being well written is it not true ? :D . people tend to think handmade is cheap.

  5. very well said dear...its the mentality and taste that wrote to u before.....the people who understand the handmade products actually never comment non-sense on that.

  6. Tulika I agree those who understand and the ones who dont we have to deal with their Non-sense :D . thank you for leaving a comment

    1. An amazing article! :D I hear the very same lines from some of my friends and relatives. This article will make every artist feel better about herself/himself.

  7. Well said Timeless Creazion. Being a handmade seller myself, I know how hard it is to find customers/people to value your work & time. Its only when we come across articles like yours that make you feel better :)

    1. Hi Karen

      Thankyou for visiting . that is why I have started on this Blog to voice out, Now we all know we are not alone am so glad you like the article:)

  8. very true and liked it very much......feel so happy when i read this.It is my answer to all who behaved rudely to me........I wish I could share this on my page :)

    1. Ann you are most welcome to share it to your page. I have gone through the feeling just had to pour it out and to my surprise lots of Artist related to it. Felt united and not alone for once :)

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