I started out by hand-stitching my next batch of patchwork journals, but just had to give it up: funds are very low these days, and my day job place will be closed till March for major renovations. That means no income, however small, for months. *sigh* I have a tendency to overdo the handwork on things, and it can take as many as three days to put one of these journals together. At that rate, I can’t make these fast enough (and there’s no way I could charge three days’ worth of work for one book!)
I finished the rest of the patchwork pieces using a decorative stitch on my vintage sewing machine, hoping that they are still pretty enough. It still takes a long time, but a fraction of what it would if I hand-embroidered every book.
Been wracking my brains for some sort of acceptable compromise between quality handmade things, and a product that makes financial sense. Yes, I love what I do, and I love it when others love my items, too…but at the rate I’ve been going, I’ll never manage to “give up my day job,” the way so many of those amazing ETSY sellers featured on their blog have. I’ve tried before, and ended up living on boiled rice with soy sauce.
On the same note, I wonder if online craft makers like ETSY sellers are pricing their work realistically. Sometimes I suspect they are only charging for material, and not for the time it takes to make the things. I’ve come across journals similar to mine that are within the price range of machined, mass-produced, made in China journals and notebooks. Some are cheaper than Moleskines! It makes it hard for a maker like me to keep up my quality work. It puts me under pressure to find cheaper, quicker, ultimately less special alternatives. Why anyone would underprice their work when they make special, laborious, one-of-a-kind items is beyond me. Is it just to get shop ratings up? Is it to become popular, at any price? Shouldn’t we help raise the standards and public awareness of how time-consuming a handmade item is by setting a realistic price that takes some of our time into account? We all stand to gain from increased value, I think.
Do you have an online shop for your handmade items? Do you charge for your time? Is it working out? Have you been able to “quit your day job”? I’d really love to hear your thoughts on this.
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* photo effects were created on Rollip *