Color Me Reckless


Learning to Value Your Work and Price it Accordingly

Crochet, LifeLisa Seyfried

PET PEEVE ALERT!! Seriously, this is something that bugs me to no end.  I can't count the number of times I go looking around on Etsy doing price comparison, or looking for packaging inspiration, or just looking at what other people are doing, and I see beautiful crochet work priced dirt cheap.  Yesterday I saw 61 items priced at $3.00. Not $3 each, $3 for all 61 items. It has to stop. Here are some really good reasons why pricing your work that low isn't a good thing, even though it might help you get sales.

1. It disrespects your work.

When your work isn't priced according to all the time and skill that went into it, you are sending the message that your work doesn't matter to you, that it didn't take skill to create, and that you don't value your work. Crocheting takes time, it takes planning, it takes an understanding of color play. You created something that you think is good enough to sell to other people, so why don't you value that? Make sure when you price your work that you value your time and energy. Take into account the cost of the yarn, and the amount of time it took you to create the item. Think about fair labor - even minimum wage, entry level jobs have a minimum wage.  However sucky and exhausting working in fast food may be, that companies values its employees time. Shouldn't you? When I go looking for an item on Etsy or on another handmade marketplace, I'm looking for something special, something handmade, and something that clearly had a lot of love put into it. I don't want crap I can buy anywhere. I'm willing to pay for handmade, don't assume I don't know what I'm looking for.

2. It makes you look like a factory.

When you don't price your work well, it makes it seem like you don't care about your work at all.  If you don't care about each handcrafted item, why should I as a consumer? Why should I buy something handmade, when even the artist doesn't value the product? And frankly, when I see things like 61 items for a total of $3.00, I start to wonder if it's all really handmade.  I know how much time goes into crocheting an item, and I know how much yarn costs. There's no formula that would make that price legitimate. Handmade businesses are not the place to use price as a means of competition. Sure you want to be in the same price category as your competitors, but this is not the place where dirt cheap prices win. Handmade items for pennies each hurt both you as the business person, and me as the consumer. You're losing money by not valuing your work, and the consumer starts to believe that's how much crochet work is worth.

3. It makes crochet seem cheap and easy, not a skillful talent.

Not everyone can crochet, and crochet well. It's a skill and a talent. When you price your crochet items dirt cheap, hoping to get buyers, you are hurting everyone who crochets. You are pulling down the value of crochet in the marketplace, and you are making consumers think that crochet is worthless. Stop.  Value yourself and your craft, and price accordingly. Remember that you are more than just a lone seller, you are a part of a marketplace, and your actions impact the whole market.

It's all economics.

I know, I know. Those three words send shivers of fear and loathing down your spine. But if you are selling your work to consumers, you better know a little something about valuing your work. I can't tell you had sad it makes me to see people who clearly think their craft isn't worth what it should be.  Recognize your talent! 

And because this post was a bit light on actual crocheting, here's a sneak preview of a blanket that's almost complete!

Funky Square Blanket - Color Me Reckless

What to be When I Grow Up

LifeLisa Seyfried

I've been thinking a lot about what I want to be when I grow up lately.  Partly because there has been some upheaval in my work life recently, and partly because I'm starting to feel a bit like I'm drifting.  My NewsFeed shows me that several friends have given up their jobs to go back to school full time, and others are branching out on their own with their first businesses. I know that I want to work for myself - I'm tired of being on someone's timetable and working on someone else's dream.

I know that I want to be creative in this venture. I love my work, I love creating something everyday, I love dreaming up new ideas that will make people smile.

I know that I want to be able to set my own schedule and work from home when I choose. I want to be able to pursue other passions (like comics and potentially more school) at the same time. I would love to work in my pajamas as much as possible.

I know that I want to throw out the rules of what a 'career' is and make something up that makes me happy to spend the time doing it each day. I don't care if it doesn't mean I can retire after 30 years at the same company, I want to be happy doing what I'm doing.

I know that I want to be able to travel, go to conferences (or cons, whatever), and get to meet other people like me. I want to be a part of a community of people who want to constantly grow and learn.

Basically, this boils down to owning my own business of some kind. But owning a business takes a lot of work - especially in the beginning when you have to make sure to set everything up correctly.  It's scary, and it's time-consuming.  Even in the baby stage my little business is at right now, it's time consuming.  How to work two jobs that pay the bills and make time for what I love?

Part of me wishes I could tell me at 20 that this is what I would want to be doing at 27, so that me at 20 could plan a bit better. Or at least save a bit better, maybe take out less student loans.

What do you want to be when you grow up?

My current workspace - deep in product making mode!