Before you complain about the cost of handmade items, take a little time to think about this.
- That gorgeous afghan you want? The yarn alone is going to cost $50 or more. The amount of hours that go into a full sized afghan would blow your mind.
- You want a custom hat made from wool yarn? Wool is expensive! (And itchy, but that is not the point.) Now, you want a really cool, unique button on it? Ok, great. Have you ever tried to buy just ONE button? Doesn't happen very often. The chances of your crafter using those buttons for someone else are pretty slim. So, you are going to have to pay the cost of the set of the buttons.
- You say you only like 100% cotton items? GREAT! I'd be glad to do that for you! Standard acrylic yarn starts at about $.57 an ounce. 100% cotton yarn starts at about $1.30 an ounce. You just more than doubled the amount for the yarn only. This also goes for special fibers, hand dyed yarn, and the super fabulous color combos you see are usually a lot more expensive!
- Crafters do what they do because they love it. But we still have to make money! There are some pretty standard formulas that we use to set prices so that we are getting paid for our time and work. Some do charge per hour of work they put in. But most use the standard formulas for figuring price.
- So, you are friends with or related to the crafter you want to make you something, so you deserve a discount? Most of the time, we have already quoted you the discounted price because we love you. And, asking us to do it for you for cheaper is insulting. Maybe you don't see it that way. But how would you like to donate your time to your employer one day a week because they feel entitled to a discount on your work? You want to not get paid 1/5 of what YOU worked for?
- You say you can get it WAY cheaper at Walmart? Yes, you probably can get something similar. The quality will be Walmart quality, not handmade. A crafter takes great pride in their work. They want it to last, and to stay beautiful. Often times it is bittersweet when we hand over something we have worked so hard on! Walmart doesn't care, they will just return it and let you get a new (poorly made) item.
- You can't afford the high price we quoted you? Well, we can't afford to make it for you for free. Many crafters depend on that income to help their family out. Many are stay at home parents or single parents who use it as a second job. It allows us to make some extra money for our kids, without having to be away from them for 14 or more hours a day. If you genuinely cannot afford it, we get that. (I can't afford some of the items I make for other people!) But, please do not ask us to devalue our work and time because you feel entitled to a lower price.
- There is a lot that goes into the making of an item that many people do not take into consideration. For me, being a hooker, here is what I need to make that gorgeous afghan you want! The yarn, which is figured into the cost of the item. But guess what else I need? A hook, that I purchased with my own money. And most of my hooks have special handles on them to help with the pain of carpal tunnel and general hand cramps, so they are not cheap. Scissors! And I mean GOOD scissors! Dull scissors can massacre yarn! You wouldn't believe how many scissors I go through. Tape measure. I need to make sure your afghan is the size you wanted! Yarn needles. And you can't buy just ONE needle. The pattern! If it's a special stitch or intricate pattern, I am going to need instructions. Crochet patterns usually start at $4 and go up in price, depending on the item and how much work go into them. (That's a totally different blog post in itself!) Not all crafters use these items, but as a hooker I go through wrist braces, I have compression gloves, tons of lotion to keep my hands from drying out, special bags and storage containers for my yarn and for your project while I am working on it. NONE of these items are factored into the cost of your item. Some crafters do this, but since I am using them over and over, I eat the cost of them myself. I am not getting rich off of anything I crochet, I can assure you of that. It is something that I love to do, and am thrilled beyond words when you see your finished item and you love it!
Next time you want a handmade item, expect to pay handmade prices. Making comments like "wow, that's a lot" is hurtful. Handmade is NOT cheap, and for good reason!