Tuesday, April 14, 2009
What Price is Right?
~I love to make things. I love to design and create many things. Rugs, weavings, embroidery, little sheep and miniatures.( I made the rug above ) I have made and sold many, many items and always have difficulty putting a price on my items. You see, I want to sell many things I make, but I have been told I charge too little. I have been told that by people who actually charge a LOT for their craft and sell enough items to justify their prices. But all it takes is one person to gulp at the price tag on a rug or weaving and self-doubt just charges in on me and I am tempted to lower prices ASAP! ~A few years ago as I was perusing the shop of a local weaver, I was enthralled by her many looms, her colorful rugs hanging on the fence outside her home on the main street of a cute little mountain town near by. We bagan talking about the price of weavings and rugs and how it is hard to explain to people why they should pay more for her / my rugs when they can go to the local discount store and get a very usable and attractive rug for a very low price. Cheap, in fact!The lady in the shop scolded me for my willingness to cheapen my work by being too cheap in pricing. She actually gave me a LONG lecture, and my daughter-in-law witnessed it. But I want to make some money, I want to sell my things. ~All I can say is that I start with my own lambs and sheep. I buy hay for them, tend them with love and lots of attention. I make sure they get their vaccinations, wormings. I keep records on them and think about them a lot. I pay someone to shear them, and then I skirt the wool fleeces, wash most of them myself. I dye the fleeces myself. I spin the wool into yarn for my weaving and rug making. I design and craft the rugs and saddlepads I make, and each rug or saddlepad has many hours of work involved before completion. So really, I cannot put a price on the rug for the hours or work involved. I put a lot of love into what I do too..I LOVE what I am doing. You cannot put a price on that either. ~However, I have discovered that many items I have given away, or sold very cheaply, sometimes are then treated as of little value.....and how can I expect someone who is not familiar with my craft to appreciate the hours and hours of spinning the wool, hours and hours warping the loom, so I can weave them a gift? And if I have woven dyed yarn into the weaving, well, there are many more hours involved? Somehow, it seems like this should make the item matter at least as much as the factory woven table cloth....but I digress. ~Somehow, some way, I need to price my items so they are affordable, but not cheap. Well made, with love, because I don't want to sell something badly made. But I do myself and other fiber artists a disservice when I consider the things made by hand are not worthy of some sort of reflective price....and I have decided I will keep some items rather than sell cheaply. I do make items that are affordable to anyone, but rugs..and weaving..not any more, they will reflect a tiny bit of the time and effort involved. But still, What price is right?
~The pictures are of a wool locker hooked rug I made. It is 3 feet by 4 feet and very, very thick. This is one of the items I do not know how to price, but I finally decided it will not sell below a certain price, and maybe I will never sell it. We'll see.~