Monday, May 03, 2010

Thinking about Etsy...

I have been thinking about supporting myself with my crafts. I have a crafting education, I'm a weaver, and the education included also several other different fiber crafts. I don't think there's anything I cannot do with fibers. I also love paper crafts and clay, and if you have been following my blog, you know I do a lot of different things.

Now, I have been looking around at Etsy, and what people sell, and what I could sell - that is, what I can do people would be interested in buying. I have been considering learning to sew corsets, I know already how to sew petticoats, peasant blouses and bloomers, and cloaks and Star Wars coats ;-)
I could also be able to produce quite a lot of art and stationary, which is what the best selling Etsy seller sells. It's no use for me to sell supplies, though, as there is nothing I can get here in Sweden cheaper than they do in USA. Perhaps pinecones, moss, sticks and stones, which of course I could sell. But, as a Finn, I have learned that it is better to sell finished products - you can take more money. And, living in Scandinavia, and Etsy being located mostly in USA, the postal fees would be rather high... I really need to have something really good and affordable to be able to sell anything.

Or that is what I was thinking... until I found a person selling hand knit hats. Her hats are butt-ugly, made of thick yarn, childishly simple, slouchy things, it probably takes a couple of hours to knit. She asks 300 kronor for a hat, AND PEOPLE BUY HER HATS!!! She can support HER WHOLE FAMILY with the hats! Her ugly hats bring in so much money that her husband quit his job to work for her...
While I am happy for a fellow knitter who can live on her craft, I am amazed and... rather horrified that there are people out there with 300 kronor to be put on a butt-ugly hat one could do oneself... really, ANYONE could learn to knit enough to be able to make a hat like that to oneself... perhaps it would take a week, but I cannot imagine it would take more than that.

P.S. I just got a shock... she makes the hat of acrylics...


P.P.S. Now I have been strolling around for a longer time, and every now and then I find something... Someone sells something totally useless, not especially pretty and very expensive, and people buy... Amazing.
I have been thinking about my own buying habits and what I consider good value for the money... and I am very cheap and very good with my hands, which means that I don't value my own craft as much as I value money - one I have plenty of, the other not. ;-) So I suppose I need to start rethinking my pricing. (I know prize and price are two different things, but I don't have energy to care.) I know I'm good, so I should just take the lead of the people who appreciate themselves more than I appreciate myself :-D Who have a healthy attitude towards money, and know that a lot of people still today have enough money to pay what is asked of things they want.
Another woman asks you to send her an item you like so she can embellish it to her liking and send back to you, and she asks you to pay her like 1000 cronas for the fun... and people do... Wonderful :-D

P.P.P.S. Then there are the people who just make me ashamed for crafters all over the world... These people CLAIM to be professional seamstresses/designers and couldn't sew to save their lives. The idea that ripped, raw edges and randomly cut pieces weren't found interesting or beautiful before the urban people started making clothes with very little skills and quite a lot of enthusiasm. Ripped, snide, raw edges and scarecrow stitching can be very nice, but not in reconstructed clothes.
"Reconstruction" means trying to construct something that at least looks like if it was original. Upcycling a latter 20th century piece of clothing by sewing some ruffles on it is not reconstructing 19th century clothes.
"Unfinished" is not the same as "worn". Unfinished is sloppy and lazy and looks that way too. If one looks at real 19th century clothes, not even the worn ones looked the same as "raw and unfinished". Also, people knew how to sew for hand back then, and wouldn't have accepted stitches some people call "hand sewn" even from a 5 years old.

But, I am obsessive and pedantic about that kind of things. If people are ready to pay what you ask of your work and buy your things, good, great and wonderful!
But PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE do NOT call that "reconstruction" or "steampunk" or something else just because it brings more traffic to your shop.