When I first made my Anemone Brooch, I showed it on my Facebook page, and along with a lot of oo’s and ah’s, several people commented that they would be interested in purchasing one. I said I still had a lot to do on the book but there will be some ready around mid-February.
This was done, as I worked throughout January to make a good selection so nobody would be left out, and decided to charge £25 each for them plus postage.
Guess what? Not one sold. I think people thought they would be a much lower price. This is sad really, because it does nothing to help the artist making items, to have to sell them dirt cheap and make nothing. Many of us try to make a living doing this, which means we need to pay ourselves a wage, cover our costs, and our overheads, like electricity, heating, water, rent, local taxes.
So let’s break it down a bit.
One single flower takes about 9 hours to make. If I paid myself the minimum wage, £7 per hour, that makes £63.
The cost of the materials was around £10.
Overheads would be around £3 (estimated)
Any business will then add a margin for profit (which will be taxed), of say 30%.
That makes a total of £98.
I am offering these at just £25. That’s not expensive. That is a really low price for something that has been handmade, one tiny bead at a time. Even the full price of £98 does not include the time taken to design it, photograph it, edit the photographs, put it on my website or facebook page. The profit margin allows me to buy more materials to make a couple more. (Remember, they cost about £10 in materials, so £22 profit won’t hang around for long.)
Factories can make these much, much cheaper. They can churn out dozens, if not hundreds, every hour, by machine. There will not be the personal touch, they will use the cheapest materials possible, there will not be the calloused little finger from pulling threads many times per hour, there will not be the pricked fingers when the needle slips, the tired eyes while you ‘just finish this bit’, the late dinners, abandoned housework. Factories could probably produce these for mere pence each, buying their materials in huge bulk wholesale, but they will also not be made to last, they will not be a legacy of craft, they will break, because they want you to buy another, and another.
So think about it next time you see a handmade item for price it is. Is the price really high, or is it actually very low for what it is. Chances are, like me, the crafter is underselling her product, selling it cheaply with no profit because people don’t want to spend money on quality craftsmanship, or are too eager to compare them to high street tat. I should be selling these brooches for a minimum of £100 each, not a mere £25.
I'm Teresa, the designer and writer of the tutorials you see, and a bead addict.