Friday, January 9, 2015

What its about… part 1

For the last 4-5 years, I have been actively involved in improving my art in my craft and therefore, improving the wares I sell.
And for all the years I have been going to markets, lines like “Oh I can make that”, or “Take a picture so we can try that later”… have fluttered about not only mine, but many a crafter’s ear.

Yes, we do use ideas and things we see (even subliminally). Accusing someone of “stealing” your craft idea is like accusing someone of using the English language just because you can.
But that’s not what this “series” of posts will be about.
After hearing and saying (guilty as charged), that someone’s wares are “too expensive”… I decided to give in and write a bit on the COSTS and INCOMES involved in handmade culture (or as much as I can while not being too experienced in the costs of EVERY craft).

So not only as a crafty, but hopefully as a buyer, you will see just what it is to do this, not only as a hobby but as a living… and yes, some of us (including me) have had to resort to doing this for a living.
This isn’t a HOW TO, or formula on getting started in the craft business, this is more for “why we crafties charge what we do”.

Let’s get down to brass tax…
A crafty month at Wonder Struck Inc. I will be using some costing from November, as these are still fresh in my mind and stretch into December (even though we close for part of the month).

*             Resin & Silicone – R1950
*             Chain, findings & beads (agate and glass) – R560
*             Petrol (for supplies, deliveries, post, markets) – R2100
*             Market stall rentals – R1100
Total: R5710

That’s an average cost of R190.33 per day in November (30 days)
As a freelancer, and in order to pay what needs to be paid, I NEED to earn R150 an hour over each and every single working day of a month. But as a crafter, I cannot realistically expect to carry this cost, and that of my overheads onto my items I make.
So we work on a % markup on cost.

If I had to use just some of these figures to work out what to charge excluding component cost of a necklace we would get a figure of approximately R180 (per necklace).
This is again, not including the material cost of the necklace, this is purely the overhead cost in making it.
Would you pay over R200 for a necklace that ISN’T sterling silver or platinum or gold? … I wouldn’t. Honestly.

On one market day, a crafter EASILY spends over R350 to be there, not to mention food or drinks (even if packed from home). And that’s IF a market is charging under R200 for a stall.
Our COSTS involved at the Medieval Fayre, just for petrol and stall alone, were R850. For the day. This is not a ballpark figure, but actual costs that we incurred for petrol and stall rental. This is not including bottles of water and one meal each to keep us sustained till home time.

And this is where some of my greatest frustration comes when a market patron/buyer/shopper thinks that an item someone has HANDMADE (and most are not able to put a time on how long something makes) and spent time on and displayed hoping to pass on this piece of their day/week, onto someone else… is “too expensive”.
Admittedly, I have seen prices that HAVE been taken to the extreme, and this is probably where the debate comes in over what is TOO EXPENSIVE FOR HANDMADE or not. But to the handmade/indie artist sitting at the market, their prices are real and often very carefully considered….

These items you buy from most of us, cannot just be easily remade and are not mass produced.
Even as a resin artist, things that come out of the same mold are never always 100% the same as eachother. Colours/ridges/nicks/sanding down, all create an entirely unique piece each and every single time.
There’ve been a few pieces on some websites, discussing the possible future value of handmade items over greater mass produced items.
I’d like to research this for a future blog entry, as I see this as a very valid point. (Think about it).

For those who don’t make handmade, but appreciate and shop handmade, thank you for helping us build on the handmade culture we work so hard for. For those who have never really known or understood and go past stalls saying things are “too expensive”, I do hope that some of this gives you a bit of perspective ;)
And to crafties that don’t do this full time… I hope this gives you slightly more info to research before taking it on full time.

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