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How Do You Know If You’re Pricing Your Offers Properly? – Guest Blog by Lynn Scheurell


Intro

“Starving” artists, charities, yoga teachers, writers, massage therapists, musicians, holistic practitioners – I tend to lump us all into the same basic category because often our struggles are the same. These are the things we do for the heart of it and often it’s not the easiest path. Business doesn’t always feel easy when you want to put love first. And yet, we still need healthy business practices if we’re going to thrive.

We get this.  We know we need to charge for our work and get paid for our services.  We know we need to value ourselves and put a price on our amazing talents. But… so how do you know when you’ve got it right?  A friend of mine has a good answer!  But let me introduce her first.

Lynn Scheurell - Creative CatalystI’m really blessed to know some incredibly talented people in Austin and around the world.  Lynn Scheurell of Creative Catalyst is one of those excellent people who just happens to also be an excellent teacher in business and marketing. She teaches people from literally all around the world. She’s both creative and business minded and she’s a writer, publisher and inspirational speaker.

I also trust her with anyone I send her way. (That’s a big deal to me, btw.)  And one of her recent newsletters just happened to really hit on some of the very same points we were discussing just a few weeks ago about pricing and valuing our work as creatives.

Now the letter is one that Lynn only sends out to people on her list and it is about services she offers. So I want you to know that up front. However, I felt it had some really good points y’all would appreciate. So I asked her if it would be OK to share it with you. And she said yes!

Here it is. Enjoy and check out her credentials at the end!
(And if you talk to her, tell her I sent you!)


Are You Pricing Your Offers Properly?
by Lynn Scheurell

Here’s how you know if you are pricing your offers properly…
- you feel good about your work with clients.

If you feel drained, resentful, anxious, frustrated, watch the clock, stressed about money, feel like you can’t breathe, pushed or hurried in your time with clients, then a boundary around your worth is being violated through your pricing.

The inside secret is that you are the only one who can set and honor your boundaries. You are the only person who can set your fees.

Tragically, most entrepreneurs under-value their work by at least 10% – and that likely includes you.

You may not have a pricing strategy in place, or have one that doesn’t serve you, or have pricing that doesn’t connote your true value.

In fact, I have a personal story about that to share with you… from wayyyyy back when, I was a practicing Feng Shui consultant. (Feng Shui remains one of my true loves to this day… but I digress!) ;+)

Anyway, at the time, I was charging $75 per consultation (without time limits!) – and I couldn’t GIVE them away!

I worked with a business coach, who told me I needed a higher fee. I thought she was out of her mind – raise my fees when I wasn’t attracting business as it was??? Holy cow… but, per her instruction, I meditated on a number and got one.

She was on vacation for about three weeks but I decided to put that number into action immediately. (I am a Catalyst, after all…!)

The first time I said it out loud to a potential client, I’m not sure how he heard it over the sound of my knocking knees! But over the course of the next three weeks, I had more consults using that new fee than I’d had in the previous three months at the lower fee!

When my business coach returned from vacation, we had a session. Of course, she asked if I had a new number and I said yes and that I’d been using it already.

She asked what it was – and remember, she knew my fee was $75. When I told her $450 – and that I was GETTING it! – I’m pretty sure she fell off her chair!

The point is that, once I was charging enough, people believed that I was offering something of value. I was more in line with the market in terms of fees. I didn’t need to ‘wait’ for some reason to justify my new fees based on filling my schedule at the lower rate first. And I was getting booked right and left at the new rate!

It felt great to actually be receiving my value professionally. But it took me honoring myself and following my intuition and then claiming my worth before it could happen. Only when I did could my business take off… and I haven’t looked back since (except to share this story!). ;+)

How this applies to you… you must know your value and claim it through your fees. And your rates must make sense within a strategic framework, or business model.

If you don’t have a business model, you’re flying blind and it’s likely that your business feels scattered. If you can’t predict your monthly income in advance, it’s time for an overhaul.

The fastest way I know to upgrade your fee structure and business model is to work with someone who understands revenue models AND understands you and what you bring to your clients. It’s actually rare to find that combination in an expert. (I know because I searched for that very resource early in my own business!)

Fortunately, that’s one of my signature specialties… I offer Business Vision Mapping for forward-thinking entrepreneurs who really GET that it is vital to price their offers properly within a strategic business framework.

These Catalysting sessions are designed to answer your questions about implementation, neutralize personal fears, limiting beliefs and obstacles and/or address sticky situations as you gain new momentum in your business. And they are invaluable as you begin taking action into new territory to grow your business.

Pricing your offers properly also means that you are honoring your clients.

If you undercharge, you feel drained and will look to shortcut your time and energy in delivering the product or service.

If you overcharge, your client will feel taken advantage of and look to maximize their investment in ‘creative’ ways that won’t serve either of you in the long run.

You really do owe it to yourself AND your clients to properly price what you do…

To Honoring Your Clients And Your Worth ~

Lynn


Biography

Changing the world through business starts by understanding your motivations, inspirations and purpose; in other words, changing the world starts within you. Only then can you apply your intensity through strategic business models, systems and focused action to create conscious, and often dramatic, results.

Lynn Scheurell is a visionary pioneer, spiritual teacher for entrepreneurs and authority in the area of conscious business. She is a leading proponent that entrepreneurship is one’s highest calling made manifest through service and that one’s business is the ultimate tool for personal growth. And she has a rare skill as a gifted communicator with solid experience in business models and systems.

Internationally known for her empowering and inclusive approach to conscious business, Lynn teaches entrepreneurs how to identify, align and express their true nature at every stage in business to accelerate results. Learn more at www.MyCreativeCatalyst.com.


If you enjoyed this article, you might also like:

When Designers Hear “Can You Cut Your Price?”
Dear Artists: Your Prices Are Not The Problem – Or Are They?
Dear Artists: There’s A Problem With Your Pricing – Part 2

Display And Pricing Your Art And Handmade Items At Shows


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I Give You Permission To Thrive!


This past week’s evolving discussion on entrepreneurial, service and creative business has been really enjoyable! :)

I love hearing the stories, reading everyone’s comments and even being disagreed with. We have really dug into some issues that are on the minds of the majority out there in our fields and I know that all our thoughts and input are helping others now and will in the future when they are searching.

But there is one thing I really want to give some attention to that I keep hearing in the voices of artists, and massage therapists and musicians and a myriad of other creative right-brain, heart-led thinkers out there.

And that’s this general sense of guilt that it’s not OK to thrive.

There are two angles to this: Those who don’t have confidence that they can thrive and those who do have confidence, but don’t think they should thrive.

I keep hearing things like, “My motives are not money, I just want to make enough to get by.”  “I enjoy this kind of work, so I don’t charge much because I’d do it anyway.”  “I can’t afford much, so why should I expect others who can’t afford much to pay me?”  (That’s a big one.)  “I’m not good at business stuff.”  (Another big one.)  “I don’t want to seem greedy, or too focused on money.”  “I don’t need to learn about business. Only greedy people do that.”

And on it goes.

Umm, hello!  This may be news to you, but I don’t want to just scrape by.  I know what that’s like and I don’t want to live it.  I don’t want my kids to live it!  My father was an entrepreneur with 4-5 employees, and we just got by.  Thank goodness for Grandpa’s garden some years, because when there wasn’t profit after paying everyone, there wasn’t profit.  And profit is how Dad got paid.  And he was seen as a leader in the community.  (He also had trouble getting paid by his customers.)

We survived.  Obviously I’m here to tell the story.  But we did not thrive.  We did without shoes, scraped by on food and cut every corner we could.

Stop what you’re saying to yourself and to others and really think about that.  Because I don’t think you really mean it when you say things like that.  Because that would honestly just be weird to only wish to “get by.”  We cannot grow on “get by.”

And I don’t want to just survive.  I know how to do that and it’s not enough for me.  I want to thrive.  And that’s where I’m heading.

And you know what – you can come too.

I give you permission to thrive.  And permission to say no to what’s unhealthy for you.  Including poisonous customers and relationships.

I grant you permission to create a plan, a strategy and a structure that is good for you and good for growing your business.  And if you get paid for what you do – you have a business!  It’s not a bad word!

Learning and becoming good at business is not greedy.  I give you permission to go forth and conquer – not the weak, but yourself.

I give you permission to be confident, brilliant and excellent – no apologies!  No dissing your accomplishments, talents or yourself.

I give you permission to be successful.  And you know what else?  To define for yourself what success means to you!

I give you permission to earn a living doing what you love.  And permission not to feel guilty because others don’t (yet).

I don’t however give you permission to be unkind, dishonest or apathetic.

I give you permission to be yourself fully and to enjoy making money.

I give you permission to take risks, to stray from the sidewalk, to do something breath-taking.

I give you permission to let go of “supposed to’s” and instead embrace “want to’s.”   And to release all scarcity mindsets.

I give you permission to ignore advice! And your parents and your siblings and anyone else who is harming, not helping.

I give you permission to ignore good advice and strike out on your own path!

I give you permission to fail!  And fail again!  And to not see that as a bad thing!

I give you permission to allow yourself some clarity about what you really want in life and to let go of those inner blocks that are getting in your way and standing between you and the rest of your freedom.

Why am I giving you permission?  Because apparently we haven’t all given ourselves permission.  And hopefully, if you know what I’m talking about, somewhere in here is a seed that you can adopt and take home with you.  Go with my blessing!

It’s time for us to commit if we’re going to master the calling of being an entrepreneur.  Business is like a garden that requires love and tending.  And it either thrives, or dies.  Or gets overgrown and sidetracked by weeds.  All of us artists, writers, musicians, and consultants – we’re all entrepreneurs.  Don’t kid yourself otherwise, we are in business for ourselves.  Art requires discipline and skill, just as does business!  So we know we can do this!  If an artist can sacrifice and pour out our soul to do what we love – you tell me why we can’t succeed at the core principles of good business!

I invite you to write yourself a code of ethics that embraces responsibility, integrity and ingenuity that you can embrace heart, mind and soul.

I invite you to be selfish and think about your needs: physical, emotional, spiritual, mental.  Who does it benefit if you are not nurtured?  Seriously! Who?  Kill the starving artist mentality!

I invite you to think of your business as a child you are bringing up and to nurture it and yourself.  To nurture the relationship you have with business and money.  To provide it structure that it cannot provide for itself.

I invite you to forgive yourself and to be tender and kind in your dealings with yourself.  And yet, not to be too easy on yourself either.

I invite you to analyze your business inward, not just outward.  Find your unique value to the world.  And find who benefits from that?

I say these things as much for me, as I do for you, because I need that encouragement too.  I want my children to have it someday too.  There’s been an unhealthy disconnect between the creative soul-driven worlds and business and we do not need to feed or foster it.

The key is our mindset.

What does thriving look like for you?


If you enjoyed this article, you might also like:

When Designers Hear “Can You Cut Your Price?

Dear Artists: Your Prices Are Not The Problem – Or Are They?

Dear Artists: There’s A Problem With Your Pricing – Part 2

Please Help Me Travel The World To Study Crochet Hooks!

How Much Are You Worth?

When Artists Hear “I Can Make That!

Disparaging Handcrafts In The Name Of Law – How Far Does It Push Us Back?

Cro-pocalypse: The Rise of Crochet


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Filed under Business, Inspiration, NaBloPoMo

Dear Artists: There’s A Problem With Your Pricing – Part 2


I received a comment on my blog post from yesterday that shows I need to further clarify what I mean when I say – price is not really why people buy.  Mandy brought up the following, and it’s a legitimate position.

“Forgive me… but I respectfully disagree with one of your points. …. It’s not that I don’t value great art, but purchasing art of any kind, for any reason, is a luxury for me. So if your beautiful crocheted scarf that I admire deeply and would love to own is priced about $20 more than what I can allow myself to spend, it’s going to stay right where it is. No offense or disrespect intended, but my funds are limited and my hands are essentially tied. I may be the minority?

Having said that, in the past year or so I have started teaching myself to crochet as a hobby, and have started giving crocheted gifts. As a result, I’ve had ladies ask me if they could buy some of the things I make. I’m lost when it comes to pricing my work because I am a hobbyist, and a newbie. My materials and time are valuable, but maybe not in the same respect as those of you who are true artists and are supporting your families with your craft. I am guilty of thinking to myself that I’d like to offer my work for a bit less than some of the prices I have seen, because of my personal experiences, and because I know most people in my community and surrounding area are not likely to pay “artist prices.” Have any of you run into this, and do you have any advice for someone just starting out? I’m not opposed to one day crocheting to sell, but for now it is just something I enjoy and a way to give practical handmade gifts.”

Mandy, thank you for your valuable addition to the discussion and daring to disagree!  I’ll explain my position better below.  Dear Community, she’s asked a question of all of us, so feel free to respond, politely.

First, I’ll refer you to my article “How Much Are You Worth.”  Here I talk about the difference between novice and expert work and about sweatshop pricing. And that’s something we all have a responsibility to do something about. We have gotten used to being able to live off the work of others in low economies. And so when it comes to the actual cost of our materials and goods where we live, where it’s more expensive, we still think in terms of 3rd world sweatshop pricing.  But do we really expect anyone to live off 50 cents an hour? Or for anyone to pay off their degrees and training and education, not to mention materials and taxes and fees that way? Of course not. No reasonable person would. And yet, every time we price our work in par with a sweatshop, that’s what we do.  And in an economy that is much more expensive to live in.  I cannot usually buy yarn as cheap as the sweater you buy at WalMart.  So when I make that sweater from the materials available to me, cheap or expensive, it’s still going to cost way more, no matter what – even if I don’t charge for time and expertise at all.  And there’s nothing at this point that I can do about that.

On the other hand, in general, the market will not bear outrageous pricing.  So I would argue that there should be a natural cap to how much beginner level type work should go for.  Sticking a bead on an ear wire and slapping a $100 price tag on it better mean that’s one heck of a valuable bead.  Because we know how much skill and time went into it and that cannot alone bear the weight of the price tag.  Sometimes things just aren’t practical or there just isn’t a market for them.  Who wants to pay a significant chunk of money for a cashmere wash-cloth to scrub dishes with?  Unless you can provide some amazing advantage as to why this would make someone’s life better, this is just not likely to sell.  There’s no demand and even more, it doesn’t make sense.

We can’t always afford the work we love.

This is part of life. Sometimes that means we learn to make it ourselves to offset cost of time.  But even then, even with my level of expertise, I can’t myself always afford the work I can produce.

For example, I have a friend who has amazing wood carving skills, he literally works for the stars – several celebrities own his work. And yet, he has four kids, one with downs and says he cannot afford the work of his own hands. The materials and time and methods are all that specialized and expensive. Should he stop making what he makes? No. There is a demand for it and what he does is highly specialized and arguably a dying art. He’s really (I mean really) good at it. Would you have him instead do something he’s not good at? Not to mention take away the work that is feeding his family, and paying for the therapy his child needs for downs. Even so, he doesn’t yet feel like he can justify owning one of his best pieces yet.  The materials and expenses alone are cost prohibitive.

Now, my friend works in a highly specialized scenario that relies on the help of galleries and such, which also increases his expenses, but his story illustrates a point.

When you are in the handmade market, it’s important to price fairly and consider developing a range of products.

That is, if you have no plans to get that highly specialized. You want your highs, your lows and your middles.  For example: I have some amazing purses I’ve made, where the blunt, literal cost in materials to me is over $150 and I haven’t even lined them yet. Their final cost will be substantial. The silk, the beadwork, the specialized hardware to make them look and work right – all of that requires not only a lot of time and expertise out of me, but also the money to acquire materials. And because I’m not a warehouse, I cannot get warehouse prices on materials either. So I’m slowly but surely investing in the work I’m putting into them. Everyone loves them. Will everyone be able to afford them? Nope. But they are my OOAK high-end specialty art pieces and out there someone will decide to snap them up. That said, I also have made some purses I could comfortably sell for $35. My level of expertise is the same, but what is different is mostly my cost in materials.

This is why it’s important to have a range of product prices and work you are doing in business, if you want to hit a wider range of customers. The fact is, it’s my work, my service and my story that will draw you to me. (My writing even.)  Either you will like my work or you won’t.

Maybe you can’t buy my high-end expensive purse.  In that case – the price data is what helps you say “no” to that particular piece.

However, that is not the same as saying no to me.

Because if I have another beautiful piece, where the materials do not cost nearly the same, and it is in your price range, you will likely settle for that instead.

And that’s one part of what I mean about people not saying no based on pricing.

Sometimes “No” Is Really About Guilt

There’s also the reality where people say no seemingly “based on price,” but it’s really based on guilt. The “it’s not you it’s me” scenario. When a customer has money issues or financial PTSD, that is not something you can ever control. And their bad relationship with money is theirs to bear, not yours. Getting their sale will not make a difference to you in the long run. You have to look at and make decisions based on the long financial picture of a business, not the spur of the moment whim.  This gets back to knowing your market and even knowing your individual show. Not everyone will feel like they can afford your stuff. If they did, then you might as well be a dollar store and have trouble paying your bills.

Newbies who are dropping their prices out of fear that they can’t get a sale is an entirely different thing from trying to price fairly. It’s important to understand the distinction. A) Price dropping like that creates an unhealthy relationship with money and it can get you into trouble with your business. B) Most juried shows forbid it and it can get you kicked out.  C) Business is risk. Don’t get into it without embracing that fact.  It’s not if you will fail at some point, it’s when.  And it’s about you learning not to see failure as a bad thing.  Becoming a business owner is one of the best things you can do for your own personal-growth.  Kinda up there with parenthood.  You will learn amazing things, whether you set out to or not.  D) People are not turning down the artist based on price as much as they are based on their experience. If you like my work, my story, my service, and if I have something in your price range you want – you are likely to buy it. Period. It’s really that simple. If you don’t like my work, no amount of dropping my price is going to make you spend money on it.

And that pretty much sums it up.

Everyone justifies their spending somehow.

I know someone who for years complained about how she hated her shag carpet, but couldn’t afford to get it replaced. carpet was her “luxury.”  And yet, she always had the latest clothes and fine jewelry to wear. It was her choice. She just didn’t invite anyone over.

Me? Hey, I value quality shoes. I’m on my feet all the time and have a degenerative genetic joint condition that causes pain. You better believe I invest in good footwear that won’t aggravate my degenerative condition. It could cost me hundreds of dollars, and I don’t care, I will work a 3rd job if I have to not to be in pain. I also value a good dishwasher. For reasons I just stated, I try to limit the time I’m on my feet. So a dishwasher that never breaks down and practically eats the garbage from my dishes is an asset I want to own. My time is worth more than to be constantly fixing something.

I know someone else who has almost no kitchen ware, but they have cutting edge materials and sewing equipment for quilting. And yet another person who values homegrown food most of all and would sooner spend $10 on seeds than on a new shirt.

We all have those things we see the value in much better than we see in others. You want to look for the customers who will value you.

Back to what I said before about fair pricing.

I repeat, we’re not talking about over-pricing.  (Though there are cases where it can be used as a management tool, but that’s another article.) I’m talking about fairness that’s win-win.  But as Laurie Wheeler from The Crochet Liberation front said it best: “You are not a sweatshop!” And you’re not. OK? So stop working on something for hours and then charging $2 to a stranger for it. It’s wrong. And anyone who supports that kind of self-abuse is also wrong. As is anyone who raises their kids to think about money and work this way.  And those 3rd world countries everyone’s wishing could get better pay will also never be better off, as long as we all help promote this lack of value for time and hard work. If you’re giving a true gift, or you’re doing charity work, that’s one thing. But that’s not what we’re talking about.

What is my hour worth?  A sack of potatoes?  A loaf of bread?  A lunch?  Or a cheap cup of coffee?

When you dare to enter business, it’s important to recognize the value of every single part of the equation. And it’s time we grow up and get a handle on what a responsibility this really is. My customers work hard for their money, every bit as much as I. My suppliers also work hard for their money, every bit as I. When all we respect each other, we create balance and everyone can win.

There is another thing though.  We tend to be worst of all about valuing the work that women traditionally do. Even we women do this to each other.  Even in this day and age.  And we need to stop and think about this when we size things up and question whether we’re guilty of it or not.

So, I leave you with a challenge. Whether you own a business or not, it’s a good exercise to help you get a handle on what you value, how you spend and also recognizing how it might be for others too.

Stop and think about a $20 bill and just what you would justify spending it on and what you would not. Would you take a friend out to lunch? Would you buy a scarf? Would you pick up some gourmet coffee or buy a pack of smokes? How about a case of canned goods? How about a skein of yarn, or a tube of paint? Maybe an organizer? Or an iPhone case?  Makeup maybe?  A couple of crochet magazines?

What things could you do with a $20 bill and would or would not do? And once you’ve thought about that deeply, then analyze each item’s true worth in terms of the value it provides or not. $20 to feed a friend, or to keep someone warm for the winter, or to help you get organized, etc..

Money is nothing more than a tool.  How do you use it?


If you enjoyed this article, you might also like:

Dear Artists: Your Prices Are Not The Problem – Or Are They?

How Much Are You Worth?

When Artists Hear “I Can Make That!

Disparaging Handcrafts In The Name Of Law – How Far Does It Push Us Back?

Cro-pocalypse: The Rise of Crochet

Help Me Travel The World To Study Crochet Hooks!


31 Comments

Filed under Business, Crochet Community, handmade, NaBloPoMo

Dear Artists: Your Prices Are Not The Problem – Or Are They?


I wrote the article: When Designers Hear “Can You Cut Your Price?” a few days ago and it has really stirred up some conversation from fellow business owners.  Comments from Twitter, Facebook, G+ and this blog have poured in from around the world as other artists and entrepreneurs chime in about their experiences and frustrations.

And there’s a common theme popping up – the concern about pricing.

Often times, artisans will lower their prices because they want to be sure they will make some sales. There’s nothing wrong with making money – we all need to eat.  Still from our business side of things, we start to see our expenses pile up, and we get worried.  And then we start tweaking our prices.

Maybe we see someone else’s lower prices and we feel we have to compete.  Maybe we’re just nervous about the show.  Maybe we really haven’t thought through the true cost of our item.  Maybe we have guilt issues over making money on our own and by not working for someone else to be paid.  Maybe we truly just want to have some fun and throw a sale, kinda like how we might throw a party.  And maybe we ourselves have undervalued an artist before and we know it.  So we try to compensate for that guilt too.

Who knows?  But right or wrong, we all give lowering our prices a try sometime, for some reason.

But here’s the thing – that bit that you lower your prices to, at shows and for general public shopping, does not really make a difference in getting the sale or not.  All it makes a difference in is your bottom line.

People are not really quibbling over dollars here and there.  And people only think on the surface that they spend money with artists based on price.  Perhaps a little, but it’s not really the core place that people operate from, it’s a peripheral one.  Price is a data point by which we try to measure our true reasons for what we buy and why we justify it.  But it’s only one data point and it’s not the core.

The heart of why people buy is not money, but instead their experience of it. 

Why?  Because innately, we are after the human experience of things.  Innately we are ever seeking to improve that core life experience and either you, your story and your product fit into that connection or you don’t.

If you are truly an artist and not just a manufacturing machine, and if you will truly embrace your art, your expertise, your passion – people don’t just invest in the thing you produce.  They invest in the artist.  They invest in you.  They invest in your future and your light.  And that’s where you want to distinguish yourself.

Price your items fairly.

In no way am I saying be extravagant or unreasonable in your pricing approach.  We’re not talking about pissing into a jar and hawking it on Craigslist for a million bucks.  But you need to think about all of your overhead, your taxes, your licenses, your internet fees, your materials, your table fees, your travel fees and last but not least – your time.  Think about it fairly, set your price and then stick to your guns.

This doesn’t mean that you don’t ever tweak your prices. 

Figuring out your market usually takes time and experience.  Until you’ve been in business for at least a year, you really don’t know anything.  And never use your first show ever as a measure of what business as usual looks like.  Whether that first show is good or not, no individual show is going to tell you what you can count on.  So you will adjust from time to time as you figure things out.

But never do you want to make your prices unfair for you.  For the health of your business, you have an obligation to care for it, just like you care for a child.  In order for it to grow and thrive, and in order for that business to successfully serve your customers, you need to make good healthy decisions.

You are judged by the prices you set, for better or worse.  And if they are not right, they become your problem and not your solution.

If you don’t want to be associated with knock-off bargains, flea-market tactics or Wal-Mart mentality, then don’t look like them.  If you don’t value yourself more highly, why should anyone else?  And if you don’t stand up for yourself, who else will?  It’s your life to live and your business to run, no one else’s.

This is a really important thing, because in the handmade and service markets, prices that are too low are often a sign of inexperience and lack of professionalism to everyone in the know.  Your fellow artists know it, your buyers know it and your show directors know it.  It takes discipline to run a strong business.  If your prices do not match the needs and design of a show, it just might be what keeps you from getting in.  And it could be a whispered warning that you might be too risky to team up with either.

Pricing should not be about fear or negative emotions.

It’s fairness and it’s strategy.  Gather your data, give it the attention it deserves and then design a logical working framework with flexibility built in.

Last but not least, build in lows and highs, but remember that most of your sales come from the middle. 

Part of the human psychology is built around the justification of what experiences we choose.  And most of us will not fall into the extremes.  But we will look at those extremes as measurements to help us find the middle ground that feels right to us.  We like groupings of threes, fours and fives.  Too much more and it gets complex, too little and we innately don’t feel we have enough data to make the jump.  Make it easy for your buyers to feel good about their decisions, knowing they are looking for certain data points to reach their conclusions.  And then wow them with your amazing talent and service.  You’ll have it in the bag!


If you enjoyed this article, you might also like:

Dear Artists: There’s A Problem With Your Pricing – Part 2

How Much Are You Worth?

When Artists Hear “I Can Make That!

Disparaging Handcrafts In The Name Of Law – How Far Does It Push Us Back?

Cro-pocalypse: The Rise of Crochet

Help Me Travel The World To Study Crochet Hooks!


18 Comments

Filed under Business, NaBloPoMo

Display And Pricing Your Art And Handmade Items At Shows


I’ve done shows for some years now. And one of the things every newbie (and many seasoned) sellers struggle with is how to handle displaying your pricing.  Sometimes sellers think that not using tags or pricing will somehow make their items look more professional and nicer.  But one of the biggest mistakes an artist can make is by not displaying (or hiding altogether) the price of their work.

From a marketing standpoint, you want your customers to not only be able to see your prices, but to see that you have a range of prices. You want highs and lows and in-betweens. You will always have those buyers looking for the cheapest they can get and occasionally (maybe more often depending on the venue and location) those buyers who have no financial restraints. But most of your customers and sales are going to fall into that mid-range.  And a lot of that is frankly psychology.  Most of us don’t want the cheapest, but we also can’t always afford the best.  So we aim for the middle somewhere.  I can’t afford X, and Z is not nearly as nice, so I’m going to settle for a lesser expensive Y.  We like to work in three’s.

We tend to approach everything in life this way, like a bowling ball bumping its way down a kiddie lane, trying to find that nice wide middle.  By not providing that largest of human buying demographics the middle-ground it seeks, you set up a scenario where it’s not easy for buyers to make the decisions they are used to, because one (or more) of the three legs is missing.  Either that or there are way too many legs to choose from.  And if it’s not easy, then buyers don’t buy.  So you’re also handicapping yourself in sales.  Because let’s face it – buyers of handmade goods in the US don’t typically quibble over 50 cents here or a $1 there.  That’s not what we’re talking about here.  What they are really looking for in their buying decisions is justification.  And they will judge your pricing as a means of measuring the worth of your work.

So make sure your prices are visible and do not hide them.  Whether you do this by pricing with tags, little cards, or by using a sign with color codes dots, I’m not sure it matters. But make those prices visible and have a high, a (or some) middle and a low always. You could always opt for a pricing gun or gold ink or something if you’re trying to professionalize the look further.

There’s another consideration in the matter of pricing.  Many of your best customers are also the ones who do not like to touch displays very much and who will want to window shop a show for bit first before they handle any items. (And many buyers do not like to “show their hand” when they are interested in something.) Too many of these customers would rather walk away than touch an item to look for a price if it’s not clear what price range your booth is. Haggling is not a “high-end” kind of mentality and most juried shows don’t allow it, but also, many customers are uncomfortable with it. Also keep in mind, there are most definitely some shows out there where customers will judge you if you are not expensive enough. If you don’t think your work is worth very much, why should they?

Lastly, you should know that it’s not only your typical buyers who peruse shows.  You could have potential customers who are looking at your items from a business point of view (i.e. consignment shops who peruse shows looking for new blood).  Making sure your pricing is visible, broad spectrum and in balance, can help them make a business decision faster too. There are several kinds of eyes at shows and if you want to make sales, you want to catch them all.

Pricing is not just about affordability, but also the value you place on your work. It says a lot about you.  So think about the image you wish to convey and price accordingly.  And don’t get stuck on “nobody will pay that, so I’ll charge pennies” mentality.  Women are especially bad about valuing their work for some reason.  So think on it this way.  For the same money, you can work super hard at lower quality to sell several, or you can pour yourself into better quality and sell one.  One of these requires more patience than the other.  Which will help you find your balance in life and get you where you want to be?

If you need more ideas for doing shows, I wrote an article about shows you might find helpful here: aberrantcrochet.wordpress.com/2009/11/30/about-doing-craft-shows-ob…

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Filed under Doing the Show Circuit, Education, NaBloPoMo

Bidding On The Grandmother Tree Crochet Hook Begins At Midnight!


Well, here we are – it’s time for the silent auction!  And those of you who are night-owls and international readers, you will get the one up on everyone else for the bidding!  Thanks for being true! Read on for the details about this hook and how this silent auction bidding will work.

UPDATE: Just letting you know that bidding began at midnight on Thursday morning, October 11! Read below for more details about this hook and to see all the illustrations and photos about this hook’s design (you’ll even learn a bit more about crochet hook anatomy).  But I will update the silent bidding right here.  To bid, email your bids ($5 increments) to Worx@PixieWorx.net with “crochet hook auction” in the subject line. The auction will run for the rest of this week, ending at 11:59 pm Central Time on Sunday October 14th. Any tied bids will be settled in favor of the earlier entry.  This is just a brief bit on instructions, read below for all the details and check out the hook.  My intention is to use this series to help educate as well, so please do share my posts with others!  Thank you!

BIDS:   Kay opens the bid at $25!
Doug bumps it up to $45

Final Notes On The Making:

The Grandmother Tree hook has been polished and done for a week now.  However, I’ve been out of pocket working for a tech convention in town last week and this weekend/week I’ve been kicked out of my house a few times for the sake of a potential buyer for our home.  Hence, there just hasn’t been any way for me to sit at a computer to write about this hook!  Both the buyer for our home and working at the convention were good things of course, but certainly they also became hurdles for me in my quest to blog about and carve a hook every week.  The carving has continued, but I have to catch up on the blogging.  So here I am, covered in saw dust and all.  Uh, maybe I better brush off before I ruin my laptop.  Hold on.

OK, here she is – Grandmother Tree’s crochet hook!

Meet Grandmother Tree’s Crochet Hook!

My darling daughter helped pose with the hook right-handed so I could take specific photos for you.  After all, this particular hook has a curve that makes it more perfect for a right-handed crocheter than a left-handed crocheter.  I illustrate it best in the photos, but it’s something essential to know and see before you bid.  (That is, if you want to be happy using the hook.)  The branch that I carved this hook from curves and twists slightly to the right.  Because of this, I wouldn’t expect this hook to fit very nicely in a left hand, since it would curve away from it instead of into it like it does with the right.

Details about this hook:

This hook is hand-carved from a tree branch off a 500-600 year old live oak tree in my back yard.  It took over 9 hours to make and it is “al natural” with no stains or sealants used on it.  Just highly polished wood.

From head to tail, the hook is about 6 inches long, give or take when you consider the curve.  And the size of the hook’s work space is M or 9mm, up to the handle.

This hook is best suited for an overhand crocheter.  Also, I would recommend this hook for straight forward and standard crochet stitches, but not bullion or other stitches that require a lot of loops on the hook at one time.

Grandmother Tree’s crochet hook has qualities that are like an inline hook, however I don’t consider that it technically qualifies.  (See photo.)

I pulled out my 100 year old antique bowler hat to lay the crochet hook on and give it some contrast in the photos for you.  The hat is not as old as the tree, but I think they are both aged enough to have a mutual respect for each other.  ;)  (Hat is not for sale, nor part of the silent auction, btw.)  I want you to be able to see the hook’s shine!  But also notice the optical illusion created by laying the hook on the hat!  The curved hook looks straight while laying on the rounded top of the bowler hat.  But as you can clearly see in the other photos, this hook is not straight at all!  It does however curve nicely in the right hand.

Thanks so much for hanging out with me on the journey of making this hook and for my Crochet Hook Challenge! And please share my work with others if you think they would find it interesting. I’d really like to get the word out not only about my Crochet Hook Challenge and silent auctions, but also about hook anatomy and shape in general.  Let the crochet infection continue!

Silent Auction Bidding – How This Works:

If you’re new here, please read the previous posts about my crochet hook challenge and subscribe to my blog.  It’ll be a whole lot easier to stay on top of things that way! :)

Please email your bids ($5 increments) to Worx@PixieWorx.net with “crochet hook auction” in the subject line. The auction will run for the rest of this week, ending at 11:59 pm Central Time on Sunday October 14th. Any tied bids will be settled in favor of the earlier entry. Like Jimbo, I’m not at the computer all the time, but will try to post bids as soon as they come in.  I am including free shipping for this auction within the US.  If you are international, I’ll pay what it would have been for shipping in the US if you’ll pay the difference.  Payment accepted by Paypal.  Let me know if you have any questions!

Thanks again to all who have shared my writing and work and of course those who’ve entered the bidding!  As well, our family thanks you!  Our son’s vision therapy is underway, but we definitely need help to finish out the year.  Gratitude and thanks from all our hearts.
     

What’s Next?

Stay tuned for pics of the hook I’ve been working on this week. I’ve been calling her Mrs. Mapleworths. 


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When Artists Hear “I Can Make That!”


Dan Rockwell wrote a post today over at Leadership Freak about the “Illusion of Perceived Knowledge.” Though his post was for application in a more corporate environment, I thought it was an appropriate description of something that artisans often face at shows. We’re in the middle of holiday show season, so it’s pretty fresh in my mind and there have been recent discussions amongst the artists I know. The “illusion of perceived knowledge” is a concept we are definitely familiar with.

So I thought I’d write about it a bit today for everyone’s benefit. If you’re an artist too, check out what some of us have done to help deal with this.

In our experience, there always seems to be someone who comes through a handmade market, and says, “Ugh, I can do that, and that, and that,” summing up an artist’s or artisan’s work as being without value because this person believes they can do it too. Not everyone is that bold to say such things out loud, but it is often thought. I’ve been guilty in the past of similar thoughts as well when I was young and less educated, and believe me, it was an illusion!

One of my fellow artisans had a great answer for people when they came through our market. They might pick up one of her necklaces and say “I can do that.” “Yes,” she’d say politely, “but will you?”

Whether they can or they can’t doesn’t matter. In our modern age we tend to disrespect the time and skill that goes into handcrafting something, in part because we no longer see the processes or people behind what lines the store shelves. And this is true of many other skills in life, not just art.

Instead of feeling bad or complaining about it, one of the measures our juried group took to help shift this attitude, was to create shows where the artists did demos of the kind of work they did. It’s the same concept in a way that Maker Faire has since promoted.

For instance, some people might think of chain-mail as simply a bunch of linked rings, right? Simple process; nothing to it. That is, until they had a chance to try it themselves. Suddenly they came away with a greater appreciation for the skill as well as design process.

Another artisan friend of mine specializes in jewelry made from local seeds. People might not think much of that until they learned about her process to harvest and hand process these seeds until they were suitable to be used in jewelry. They would also learn that the process was so time consuming and difficult, that some of those seeds could never be processed on a large scale and therefore would never be seen in jewelry except to be processed by hand by someone like her. Someone with the passion, patience and knowledge.

The same thing for the other artists, from silversmithing, to pottery, to sewing, to carving, to even crochet. Letting people watch us work and listen to us talk about our fields and design processes and even let them give it a try or be a part of the creative process with us. It became a teaching opportunity.

Reasons for doing these demos were multi-fold.

1) It helped preserve a sense of respect for handwork and helped dispel assumptions. Even those who might be familiar with a type of art would find themselves learning something new.

2) It was educational, family oriented and added to the positive memories and experiences of the folks coming through our market. (Important for marketing too.)

3) It helped to inspire others to try something themselves and further the love of art and handwork. It became more than just a commodity.

4) Not to mention it definitely helped sales.

This concept can be applied in other professional areas as well. Consider that like our juried market, when you give folks a chance to learn and have a hands on experience, there are three things you can accomplish.

1) Demystify something so it’s approachable.
2) Yet instill respect for it in that maybe it’s not as simple as it seems.
3) Inspire them to get in there and learn more.

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20% Off Sale Extended for Today Until Midnight…


I didn’t realize some of you did not receive my newsletter. So 20% off everything is extended through today until midnight only. Discount will be refunded via Paypal after payment is received. Use “wordpress” in the “notes to the seller” to get the discount. You are free to share this special with friends and your mailing lists, but they have to let me know somehow that their WordPress friends told them about the sale to get it.
http://PixieWorx.etsy.com

Happy Mother’s Day coming up!

New items…….

Lime Sherbert Wrap

Gothic Turquoise Choker

Spider Web Umbrella - 9 radials

Cicada - Soft Scarf - On Clearance

Bubblegum Clouds - Soft Scarf - On Clearance

Strawberry Cheesecake Scarf - On Clearance

Un-named Lilac Teddy Bear Hat

Un-Named Lilac Teddy Bear Hat

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Red Hot CROCHET Night April 28th: 5-11pm CT – Etsy Sale 20% off tonight!


Etsy Sale from EtsyHookers Crochet Team! 20% off anything in my shop, 5-11pm tonight! http://www.etsy.com/shop/PixieWorx

Red Czech glass 6-Pointed Star Flower Choker - Comfortable Fine Crocheted Jewelry - Exclusive Aberrant Crochet Original Design

I am participating in Red Hot Hooker Night (meaning CROCHET y’all) on Etsy tonight – Wednesday April 28th from 5-11 pm CT.

Flaming Crochet Hook Bag for CLF Book

Gothic Turquoise Crochet Necklace

There will be a lot of sales in the RHHN category and I’m personally offering 20% off anything in my Etsy shop from 5-11pm only.

Not a Joiner - Outrageous Ski Hat

I just picked up the last of my designs from consignment and want to make room for new designs coming out this year.Toddler Bear Hat with Pink Bow

I’ll be working on loading more into my shop today in preparation for the sale. Working on the photos now. Most of my work are OOAKs, so if you like something get it while you can.

Spring Goblin

The official RHHN announcement doesn’t go out until tonight, but figured I’d share with my friends in advance so you can plan.

Modified Railroad Choker with Sun Motif - Czech Glass

"Sun Cherries" Squiggle Hat

Help me ring in the new and let your friends know?

Max the Goblin

The Bubblegum Goblin

Spirit Jumpers get discounts for their Spirit Jumps.

"Vail" Ski Hat with a Squiggle

Contact me directly if you are interested in something for a Spirit Jump.

Again, the sale doesn’t begin until tonight: 5 – 11pm CT!

http://www.etsy.com/shop/PixieWorx

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Modified Railroad Choker – Featured in a Treasury!


My red and black Modified Railroad Choker with Sun motif has been featured in an Etsy Treasury!

http://www.etsy.com/treasury/4bd7677cb8988eefc2a8c15b/r39n39b-red-and-black

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Filed under Artist Information & Notes, crochet, Crochet News, handmade

About Doing Craft Shows: Observations, Likes and Advantages…


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Almost my entire background in business is from doing face-to-face sales at shows. In all honesty, I prefer it, as being seen on Etsyand other online markets can be rather difficult to achieve.

Seeing is Believing

I find that with some items, like my crochet designs for instance, that being able to touch what I make, and see in person how I do what I do, makes all the difference in the world. No one can tell from my photos just how soft my garments are. But in person, if I don’t watch it, I’ll have people hanging out in my booth just to “pet” my items. “Err, yes… ma’am…? If you don’t mind, please don’t rub it on your face unless you’re buying….” There is also only so much texture you can bring out in a photo as well.

Demos Add Interest

I’m also a teacher by nature and so I constantly demo my work at every show. I let people watch me work and even show them my tools, how they work, tell them about the custom makers behind my tools, show them the techniques I’m using, ask their opinions even. It’s very experiential, or at least I try to be on a positive scale. People are not just shoppers in my booth. They usually become contacts. When people get to observe you as you work, and you stop focussing on selling to them, and focus more on enjoying yourself, them having a good time and maybe even helping them out (I share my favorite yarn shops and online resources all the time), they are then allowed to relax and simply enjoy themselves. I find that people often buy not just because they like the item, but because they enjoyed the experience and because they are buying a piece of you. And they remember and come back too.

Missed Marketing

It depends somewhat on your product, but I also try not to forget men and children at shows, as they are the most missed sales potential for most shows. It’s true that the majority of shoppers are women, but skipping men and children altogether is a miss! Guess who’s usually tagging along (often bored to death)? If you plan to have at least a couple items geared towards these neglected markets in your booth, you just might make sales you wouldn’t have otherwise caught! And besides, there’s less saturation and competition while most booths neglect this market! For instance, being an artist of fine pottery is great and most of your customers will be adults, but just imagine a couple bits of miniatures for “kids,” even if they are higher priced. You’d be surprised who just might have to snatch it up!

Outdoor Shows

When it comes to equipment for outdoor shows, I highly recommend EzUp. Not only have I found them to be generally much better quality, but they were highly recommended to me by several seasoned artists years ago. I have also seen several lesser grade tents mangled in just a few gusts of wind. It can even be shocking how quickly a poor quality tent can be turned to rubble. This is an area where you really do get what you pay for. I don’t care how lightweight and easy aluminum frames may seem – they just do not hold up very long. And since many outdoor shows are set up near busy roads, between buildings and other structures, wind can really tunnel through such areas in a very focussed manner. May not seem like much on the street, but in a virtual tunnel and a tent full of your wares involved, it can be gustier than people realize and even devastating. Many event planners are not artists themselves and may or may not have ever set up at a show themselves, so these types of details are not always noticed or planned for.

The best affordable EzUp in my opinion is the “Express” model which has a steel frame that uses an entire support system “web” inside the tent canopy. You can see the Express model here. They are much stronger and will – with proper weighting and/or staking – last much longer should windy conditions develop (and they do).

Also, most long-standing outdoor shows will usually require white top or blue top tents. White is generally always safe. Check with shows in your area to be sure.

Even though your tent will come with stakes, good (heavy) weights on all four legs are a must. This, of course is to keep your tent anchored down and from blowing away. Many shows will actually fine artists whose tents disrupt, or cause damage, at a show. Plus you’ll be held responsible for paying for the damage to other artists’ stuff that your tent may have caused. Also, weights are doubly important as a part of your arsenal of tools because some shows do not allow staking.

Know Your Surroundings

I just want to also mention here to watch out for hidden holes, spaces with trees where birds roost and leaky plumbing, etc.. Like I mentioned before – event planners are not often artists themselves. They may put together an event, but may not have actually ever set up at one themselves and they just may not be aware of all the things to look for. I’ve attended a couple events where everything looked like a great spot for a little market, only to find out oops! – that’s the “bird poop” tree or the building next door channels water off the roof right there, etc.. This is especially important when trying out a newly created market event. Usually the long-time shows have figured this stuff out.

Creative Display

Almost anything can be turned into a display tool. Shutters and fireplace screens can display jewelry, small bookcases can add height, plant hangers and hooks can hang from your tent, decorative candelabrum with flat style holders can be used to display clusters of smaller items, etc..

I’ve seen some artists use gridwall to anchor in the center of their tent and display clothing and other items on that (which also provides extra anchoring weight.) I bought a used hat tree for my crochet hat designs and it was a life saver. Because before I had that, sometimes my styrofoam heads, in spite of my efforts, would catch a gust of wind and there’d go flying a head across the place with my crochet along with it.

Leeping_Deer_Tapestry_Crochet

My tapestry crochet piece. It’s about 5 feet square. This design was adapted from the work of Catherine Cartwright-Jones and her machine knitting book called “Enchanted Knitting.” This motif was originally designed for a hat and came from a tattoo design found on an ice princess mummy. An anniversary gift to my mother-in-law.

Don’t forget the power of PVC pipe. You can see the roughly 6 foot frame my husband made for me to display a 5 foot square tapestry crochet piece here.

It’s very sturdy and “modular’ as it can be completely dismantled and stored in an old lawn chair bag.

I have also seen (believe it or not) stained glass hung from pvc pipe frame that was wired to a tent frame. This was done indoors, using a tent frame with the canopy removed. (See, even if you’re not doing an outdoor show, a tent frame can still be very useful.)

Networking to Find Shows and Improve Experience

Get to know other seasoned artists and artisans. Most people are good people and most want to be helpful and help others on their path to success at shows. And in all honesty, it makes for a better show experience all the way around, if everyone is helpful to each other and helps the newbies learn the ropes. Seriously! I can’t tell you how many wonderful and seasoned artists have helped me out over the years, giving me insight that can only come from years of experience, saving me some serious headaches and helping me make good decisions too. It doesn’t matter if they are in your exact field or not. There are many things about shows that are all the same. And these folks can tell you where to get the best equipment, the best prices, and even what’s a good compromise and what’s not and to stand up for yourself as an artist. Likewise, if someone steps out to help you, be sure to appreciate them back!

Depending on your market, check with local cities (most have at least an annual event), schools and art/craft clubs. If there is an Etsy Street Team in your area, I highly recommend joining it. Or find a local art or craft group and join it. Many of the better groups are juried, so do keep that in mind. A juried group means you have to pass the muster before you can join. And you may find shows that are juried as well. This is a way to keep the quality and standards high, as well as maintain the integrity of the market – which in the long run spells success for its participants. Even 6 months or a year with a group like one of these will be invaluable for the information, experience, opportunities, and relationships you will gain. Plus it’s always nice to do a show with folks you know who can watch your back and support your work.

Advantages to Help During a Show

I personally feel if you can get help to run your booth, it’s well worth doing and the bigger the show, perhaps the more helpful additional hands are if you can get them. Two people to run a booth is good to start until you get to know your venues. However, when I did a couple shows with our Etsy Austin Street Team, several of us shared a single booth space to help gain exposure for the team as well as each of us. And it was (surprisingly) a very nice experience in that there were several of us available to help sell everyone’s items, watch the crowds and handle the credit card sales, etc..

Getting help with your booth is especially good if your helper(s) can offset any weaknesses you might have in public presentation. If you’re not so great with how to arrange your set up, maybe your helper has more the eye for how to arrange the booth to be a pleasant space people want to stay in and not feel like they’re about to be trapped. Or, if you’re like me – good at the talking, but less good at handling multiple points of sales at the same time, a helper would be great to help handle extra customers or paperwork stuff while you focus on your presentation. The “expert” and the “support” person makes a great basic team.

Confidence in Numbers

Another good reason to have help is strength in numbers or just support when you’re not sure what to do. I personally still struggle with what to do with bad situations with ugly competitors. Truly I just want everyone to be nice and I don’t personally know how to be mean on purpose when you need to. For instance, at a *juried* show I did last year (which was surprising because usually juried shows also mean better manners all around), I ended up with a competing hat maker’s husband standing in front of my booth, wearing her hats. Before I realized what was really going on, he started annoying people and blocking folks from being able to walk into my booth. It took a friend of mine coming over from her booth to say something to him before I could figure out how to politely get the guy away from my traffic. That was one of those situations where I really could have used my own husband or someone to help me with that one. I’m just not geared to be mean, nor able to be very confrontational in my own booth space.

So, if you have a hard time with stuff like that, having help with you who can run interference for you can be invaluable.

So What’s Holding You Back!

These are just some observations from my own experiences over the years. I hope you find them helpful in your own quest to branch out and sell face-to-face at shows. I’ll write a Part II to go with this at some point, as there’s certainly a lot that can go into being prepared for a show. So let me know if you liked this article and would like to see more.

In the mean time, if you have some ideas you think will help others – feel free to post them in the comments below!

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Filed under Business, crochet, Doing the Show Circuit

My Latest Crochet Collection – Teddy Bear Hats for Toddlers….


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Well, I figured I’d share with you guys the collection of crochet I’ve been working on of late. These are my latest designs specifically for the toddler/preschool sized head. I’m putting together a collection of items to go in a local gift store and I have a custom order with some special considerations, so it was good timing for the two right now. These are all created from some of the softest fibers I’ve worked with and with the exception of one hat in this collection so far, out of fibers that are no longer available. The bows you see are not permanently attached to the hats yet, just in case my customers do not want a bow, with the exception of the orange hat, which I have already permanently secured. It has a blend made with a very unusual fiber that happens to be the softest of the bunch. The glass globe you see is the perfect size to display these.

Hopefully these designs will be just the thing for each of my customers!

Baby Blue Bear Pink Bow 2 Baby Blue Bear Pink Bow

Black Brown Bear 2

Black Brown Bear 3

Blue White Green Pink Bear 2

Blue White Green Pink Bear

Orange Bear Pink Bow 2

Orange Bear Pink Bow

Pink Green White Bear Pink Bow 2

Pink Green White Bear Pink Bow

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Why Is Handmade Better…?


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My grandfather told me once that when he was a kid, it was a privilege to be able to buy something for yourself at all. It was something you were thankful for. Thankful for the money, thankful for the experience of bringing something new into your life, thankful to all the people involved in the process of making that item available in your community, thankful of the person who created the item that blessed your life. Today, we take all this for granted.

The mentality behind a disposable society I think has begun to hurt us, as we lose appreciation of the process at work behind getting anything in the world that we want.  To the point that we devalue it and even devalue ourselves. I think the world of crochet especially understands this, as it is the last fiber art left that cannot be replicated by machine. There are no machines that can replicate the complexity of stitches that only the human hand can create. In saying this, it’s probably important to note that the terms crochet and knit are often used interchangeably outside of the US. And if you Google “crochet machine” you will find some, but they are either knitting machines or they set up “chain stitches.”  Several of us crocheters are always watching and wondering, though, when the day might come.  True crochet work, however, is all done by hand somewhere, even mass produced, even by children. And even with the fastest of us crocheters, creating a piece from beginning to end takes a lot of time and planning. Even time undoing and redoing.

There is something very organic about the handmade process that is much less sterile and puts us closer to the human community. You’re not just purchasing an end product, but even every “failure” that led up to its success as well, with quite a story embedded in its very fibers. And the person who is behind that handmade item, actually has the focus and wish for their items to be truly enjoyed.

To me, this process embodies what handmade is all about. A real person, a real story, a real process from beginning to end and a real intent of positive impact behind each handmade piece. And that, also makes me as a creator more real too, and less a carbon copy of others or shadow of some nebulous process.

Handmade, simply, feeds our souls:  individually and as a community.

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There’s a New Handmade Market in Town!


If you are thinking about selling handmade or vintage, you might want to give Zibbet a look. And if you’re like me and sell on Etsy and have noticed that it seems to be over-saturated, just like eBay became, then you might be interested in trying something at an earlier level – before they get too big for their britches down the road.

I’m picky, but Zibbet impressed me enough this morning to sign up and the basic store is completely free of all fees eBay and Etsy would charge. And it was very simple process to set up, I’d say even a little easier to put a listing together than Etsy is. You do have to have a Paypal account though. 

The premium store package allows for unlimited listing and customization. You can try it free with promocode “FREETRIAL.”

Anway, if it helps anyone, especially right now with the holidays – pass the info link on: http://www.zibbet.com/AberrantCrochet/sell

Added content:  Hey – also, I found out they have a referral program.  If seven folks sign up for a store through my link, I can get a free premium account.  You can too!  I don’t know how long the referral offer is good for, so if you’re interested, get it done!

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Halloween 20% off SALE! Time to Move On to Gifts!


As you guys already know: It’s Hubby’s and My Birthday Week! In celebration, enjoy 20% off discount on Halloween items! Go check it out! But hurry – this sale will end soon! I don’t do clearance!  www.PixieWorx.etsy.com

OK – that’s it now! Custom Halloween orders are cut off and no more Halloween items will be created for 2009. If I get a chance, I will list the last of the Halloween items left in my Etsy store. Or, you can always give me a call!

For next year, I have some great ideas in mind, including a special spider web design to be hung around a ceiling fan! It’ll be great! And I’ll be spending many months planning it out. Due to the intricacies and time involved, I expect that only a few will be made. But I think it will be so much fun to work on!

Now it is time for me to dedicate my full attention to my truest crochet love – designing hats and the stuff people like to go with them! Don’t worry – there will still be some jewelry! Watch my store and blogs for updates!

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Filed under Artist Information & Notes