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.
You know what? I decided against showing you my progress with the new camera, I really don’t want to bore you all with the details and loads of photos. Suffice to say that with practise, my photography is coming along nicely.
However I will be showing the things that inspire me from time to time. Take for instance, these gorgeous Anemone Flowers. I love their vibrant colours and big bold centres. I always imagined a gorgeous rivoli centre, and having made a netted bezel with pearls and size 11/0 seed beads before, I had to work out how to add it to the flower itself.
My first flower was made using brick stitch. It worked really well but took so long, so I turned the pattern sideways and made the next one with peyote stitch. That was much easier, faster and more effective. My only mistake on the second one, at least on the first couple of petals, was making a figure-of-eight turn at the end of the row, while decreasing too. I had forgotten about catching the thread inside and turning around that.
So now I was away. But how to fix that bezel on it? So I tried a 14mm rivoli and netted bezel. It was so awkward sewing on the back of the bezel AND the inside of the flower, there had to be another way. Once it was done I then realised the rivoli was too small. Out came the 18mm rivolis.
So the second flower had to be completed differently. I knew I’d need 10 pearls around the 18mm rivoli, and there were 5 petals, with two open beads on each point, giving me a 10 bead starting point. What if I made the bezel in complete reverse?
That’s what I did, and by golly it worked! Here is the result.
Of course I couldn’t just leave it there. Anemone’s come in so many colours, and after showing off the purple one on Facebook, which generated some interest in purchasing, I made more. White, red, blue, rose, coral and lavender.
Then came the leaves. Anemone leaves are delicate and segmented. How to achieve that shape? Well of course I’m not that good, but I was good enough to invent a three part leaf, with a ladder stitch stem that was sewn directly to the join between petals, inspired by one of Huib Petersen’s leaves.
So we had a stack of gorgeous Beaded Anemone brooches. The pattern will be written and published soon.
I'm Teresa, the designer and writer of the tutorials you see, and a bead addict.