Yorkshire Crafts

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Yorkshire Crafts
Yorkshire, United Kingdom
Designer/maker of hand knitted, hand crafted, handmade items, avid collector and reluctant seller of vintage china, mum, home-educator and book lover. Blogging about our crafts and makes, our home education journey, and reviews of books we use.
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We really hope you enjoy reading about our projects and products, but just because they're featured here in public, doesn't mean anyone else can copy them or reproduce them for commercial gain. Except where otherwise indicated, all items are ©YorkshireCrafts.

Vintage Watering Can

Vintage Watering Can

Spring Flowers

Spring Flowers
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Monday, 18 October 2010

Buying Handmade - Don't dilute the marketplace

As a relative newcomer to sites such as Etsy, Folksy, Artfire et al, I've been pleasantly surprised to find that the majority of sellers list their products at realistic prices.  As a maker, it's encouraging to see that buyers do generally appreciate the true value of handmade items and are willing to pay for them.

What prompted this post though was an excellent post recently by Hayley Mitchell of Ruby Wren Designs http://www.rubywren.com/blog/?p=706 where she talks about folk expecting to find cheap goods on Etsy.

FACT 1: There will always be those who expect to pay mass-produced prices for unique items.
FACT 2: There will always be sellers desperate (or daft) enough to supply goods at silly prices.

The trouble with Fact 2 is that makers who are prepared to sell at very low prices may find it extremely difficult to put prices up to a more realistic rate once sales take off.

Take eBay.  As an outlet, eBay is definitely not the place it once was.  I used to do quite well on there with my hand knitted baby clothes, but since the advent of the "no fee for start prices of 99p or less", eBay's been inundated with 99p listings.

What annoys me more than anything is the number of people who list items at 99p, but bump up the postage to ridiculous levels purely because they actually do want a reasonable price for their item but won't pay the 10-15p it costs to list at a sensible price.

Some people don't even do that though.  I've seen eBay listings for beautiful looking baby items priced at 99p, with 80p postage.   The seller is barely, if at all, covering the costs of their materials, and is certainly not making anything remotely resembling a profit.  I just don't understand the logic behind it.

Regardless of where an item is listed, there are always going to be some sellers who do extremely well and make a decent living from their craft.  For many more, a day job is required in order to make ends meet, with the crafting being a hobby that generates a welcome, but often sporadic, second income.

When people are willing to sell their items at cost, or in some cases less than cost, they're certainly not achieving anything like the minimum wage when you take into account the materials, time and effort that's gone into creating an item.

If a seller doesn't truly value their own items, they can't expect anyone else to.   All that will be achieved by is that the marketplace becomes diluted, with buyers expecting to get stuff for nix and sellers who do charge "proper" prices getting far fewer sales.  Which is no good at all for those of us who design and make for a living.

I guess what I'm saying is:  Never ever undersell yourself.