Do you know why most artists are known as “starving artists?” Me either, but I will give you my opinion on the subject matter. We (the public) can buy such cool stuff for SOOO CHEAP these days that when we see something hand-made (in the US) we don’t want to buy it because of the cost. Have you ever purchased a really cute dress at Target for $10.00 bucks and thought to yourself how much did the person who made this little treasure get paid? Probably not~~~
So, I will break this down for you. If Target is selling a dress for $10.00 that means they probably purchased it for LESS than $5.00. If they bought it for $5.00 then someone made it for less than $1.00 because you still have to factor in the cost of the fabric, buttons, zippers etc. Could you imagine only making a $1.00 for all of your hard work? It’s sad that we support this kind of stuff, but we all do it. I do it , you do it…we all do.
I buy a lot of blank apparel that is made outside of the US. I mainly do this because I have to keep my costs low enough to remain competitive. BUT I am happy to say that I am having my first set of baby skirts made in the US by a super cool seamstress in TN. I am also happy to be supporting another small business and stay at home mom! Thx~~~ Mandi! Correction~ I am now making them myself… read between the lines if you must!
So, back to the starving artist…it is getting harder and harder to find people that appreciate hand-made items or items made in the US. The only way to remain competitive these days is to have your items made outside of the US. I see lots of amazing designers on Etsy and everyone complains about the same thing. They are working their bums off and not making enough to survive. I don’t think it means you are a bad business person. We seem to have the mindset that we need to keep our prices low enough to compete with the Targets of the world. With that being said….If you have a product that is selling and you are working hard and not seeing profits….the only logical answer is to increase your price. I know it may put you out of the market for some buyers, but we as artists have to pay ourselves as well. I read an article on Etsy from a lady who makes Baby Slings. She said she spends every second of her free time sewing slings and filling orders. Sounds like every small business owners dream, but not really when you don’t have time for your family and you are not seeing the financial benefits. She stated she is thinking about having her items made for her in bulk. In the US, not sure, but now you see what I am talking about. Vicious cycle…..Once again, my only advice would be to increase her price if she wants to continue her hand-made business. But like most…we look to over-seas to create our products for rock bottom prices. I wish we could find a way to stop this trend!
Next time you are thinking about purchasing a gift for yourself, someone else, birthday present, baby shower…anything….check out Etsy. Most of the sellers on Etsy offer FREE SHIPPING! A lot of love goes into making hand-made things and sometimes it is hard to put a price tag on them. Just keep it in mind. & if you think something is too expensive (because you are comparing it to Target) just think about how much time and effort goes into creating some of the things you are seeing.
Over and Out~~~
One of my newest creations…hand made by ME!