Friday, June 11, 2010

The Worth of Work

another ring

The culture of cheap is discussed in volume. I think part of the issue is that a lot of the 'cheap' stuff is folks getting their 10,000 hours of practice in publicly. So their amateur work is priced much lower than professional work. My work has increased in price through the years as well. Of course, there's always going to be a huge supply of amateurs, and the problem with craft pricing is simple supply and demand.

There's a huge supply of crafters at all levels, and not that much demand for craft work- much of this stuff is for a niche audience- mass market work has mass market prices, and only a small percentage of people really care about whether we spent 20 hours handbeading that belt.

Let me tell an anecdote- I was at a gallery crawl and a man that was on it too saw a great belt- it was handmade with skulls woven into the leather and just an amazing piece of work- but it was $75. The guy really wanted the belt, but he thought '$75 for a belt?' I noted the great design, but really, that belt wasn't worth $75 to him.

And that's the point. It doesn't matter whether you deserve however much- it's how much the item is worth to the customer. We focus a lot on how much our time and services are worth, but when companies are paying people with college degrees $10 an hour, there's only going to be so much stretch in people's perception of worth.


T @ Poppy Place said...

Very interesting! You are right of course but if we don't value ourselves and charge a reasonable amount that pays us a reasonable amount then we are letting the Walmart's on the planet take over and everything will be generic.

Thanks for sharing this, T. :)

shannon said...

WalMart has a place in our market economy. Now, I don't shop there because I'm scared of really large stores- but I can see why many people would rather buy tons of bars of generic soap than pay $5 a bar for handmade.

Maybe they can't afford it or maybe they don't value it enough- 'why use more money on soap? It all gets my behind clean". And that's a valid customer reason to buy or not.

shannon said...

I said that about the soap since I always buy $5 handmade soap because it's 'nice', but many people really don't care that much about soap.

RMJ said...

As one of those $10 an hour graduates, this rings very true to me - even $15 is too much for a nice pendant when I'm shopping on etsy. When I see a piece I particularly like, I can only look wistfully!

shannon said...

Yea...even though I might love that item, and know that I only need to put away $2 a week to get it, if I don't have the money when the impulse is the hottest, I often just won't buy the item.