somer sherwood

i do not like these shoes (but maybe you do)

First of all, whoa. I can’t believe the post that shall not be named struck such a nerve with so many people. And I know when people read nerve-striking commentary, they will always filter the contents of that commentary through the lens of their own experiences, sometimes to the point of assigning meaning that the author didn’t really intend. How do I know this? Y’all proved it.

First, I want to clarify: I was much less upset by the Rude Lady’s questioning my prices than I was by her blatant rudeness. It doesn’t matter if she felt my stuff was overpriced garbage, it’s just bad manners to tell me that to my face. But I felt like this experience was an opportunity to break down all the “hidden” costs that went into making that particular piece she hated (but tried on anyway).

So about that price tag. If $150 seems like a ridiculous price to pay for “just a hat,”Β that’s because it is. But let me propose that the Offensive Hat in question is not just a hat. It is a ridiculous hat, and probably even art. It is not only handmade (with my two hands, a crochet hook and a skinny piece of yarn), but because it is not made from a pattern, it cannot be duplicated. It is a one-of-a-kind piece. You can’t buy this same hat anywhere. It is not the same animal as a simple machine-made knit cap.

So if you needed a hat only to serve the basic function of keeping your head warm, would you really spend $150 on it? I hope not. And I especially hope not if you have four children to feed and you are on a budget. In that case, buying a $150 art hat for the sole purpose of keeping your head warm is not only stupid but irresponsible. Buy the $10, machine-made knit cap from Old Navy and feed your kids.

Or buy a $10 hat at Walmart or Target, for that matter. It’s really all the same thing. Oh, Walmart. An easy scapegoat and with good reason — to many people, it is the antithesis of the handmade movement. But the truth is, a lot of people shop there because they can get their groceries, cleaning supplies and clothing there for very little money. I see a lot of people criticizing others for shopping there, and I wish we would all stop doing that. If you can only afford Walmart prices, you are going to shop at Walmart, and bravo for not living outside your means. Continue to shop there if it means you can pay your other bills. How we got to a place where our incomes cannot support our families without doing all our shopping at discount stores like Walmart or the 99 Cent Store is a whole other can of worms that should be opened far away from this blog.

BUT let’s say your children aren’t starving and you love that $150 hat. You don’t just want a plain knit cap. You want an accessory you can wear with your favorite coat. You want a wearable art piece, because to you, a hat should not just keep your head warm. To you, a hat should serve some other purpose. You place a value on it that matches or exceeds the minimum that I must charge (in this case $150) for a piece of art that I can never duplicate. Then we’re in business.

Whether you believe my hat is worth $150 to youΒ has nothing to do with how much a hat “should” cost and everything to do with your budget + taste + the importance of wearing funny hats.

Let me give a personal example: Christian Louboutin shoes. A lot, and I mean a lot, of women love these things. In my opinion, they are Red Soled Towers of Death and I wouldn’t spend $50 on a pair, let alone $1,000. They are just not my thing.

Now John Fluevog shoes? THOSE I would drop some cash on. A pair can run from $200-$400, and that seems reasonable to me given that they are handmade from high quality materials, and I absolutely looove the design. They speak to me. And because of that, I would spend that kind of money on them.

If I just wanted a Thing to Cover My Feet, I would go to Payless and spend $15 on a pair of shoes. But I don’t just want a Thing to Cover My Feet. I want the divine to cover my feet, and the divine, in my opinion, is this shoe.

But like, underwear? I don’t give a fracking toaster about that. I would never spend $20 on one pair of panties. I just don’t place that kind of value on underwear.

So…does this all mean that Christian Louboutin should change his pricing structure because people like me wouldn’t pay $25 for his Red Soled Towers of Death? Of course not. Does that mean John Fluevog should give me a break on the price of THESE AMAZING BOOTS just because I don’t have the disposable income at the moment to support my lust for his products? No (well, maybe in my dreams). Am I going to write him an indignant note about how he is pricing himself out of the privilege of my patronage?Β Who would do that?Β 

 

And by the way? That $150 hat? It sold.

 

 

 

Comments
194 Responses to “i do not like these shoes (but maybe you do)”
  1. I am *so* glad you’ve written this short but lovely response to the volume of comments you received on your comments page. And I am especially thrilled that, once again, you do a brilliant job of breaking down a large idea into palatable, well-crafted bites. Lovely!

  2. Julie says:

    SPEAK IT, SISTAH! (I knew that hat would sell.)

  3. Deana says:

    Ah, lovely response. I’m I fellow crafter/artist and I don’t pay myself a living wage, either. And those boots nearly made me burst in to tears from wanting them (l o v e Fluevog. I would break my “I don’t wear heels” rule for those). My own cross to bear is that I look at a handmade item and think “I could do that!” but never do. I need to be better at supporting OTHER artists. Maybe if I paid myself better…

    • Jess Wagstrom says:

      @Deana, I used to do the “I could do that!” thing, too. But now I say, “I could do that! But WILL I…” and then I consider if I’d actually want to do it, how much time it would take, would I have the motivation to finish, and I weigh all that into the price of the item. Nine times out of ten, that line of self-questioning results in a sale for some other lucky artist. πŸ™‚

      • Joni says:

        WOW!Gael’s Duval new Blog! And nobody still know! Thank yoC!niaopautaP.S.: don’t you think is better to put a link from the older pages to here?

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  4. Jennifer says:

    Fabulous!!! The original post was great as well. So great that I linked to it on both my blog and my Facebook page.

  5. β™₯ Thank you! =D) I Love that Hat, Congrats on the Sale and Thank you for both Posts! =) Mx

  6. Angie says:

    Most excellent follow- up post! It appears that you possess a beautiful mix of artistic talent, compassion, and good old common sense. I am so glad some lucky person found your beautiful work of art to invest in.

  7. Rocky says:

    You’re my hero. Chuck Norris has got nothin’ on you! Very well said, and as a fellow artist I totally empathize. Thank you for writing this.

  8. Ileana says:

    love it, keep being who you are, the much too used phrase “let haters be haters” comes to mind. that’s all they have anyway… hate

  9. Jennifer says:

    Oh how I just LOVED your posting, and now too, love THIS follow up! I am SO glad your post was shared via a friend on facebook, because I was instantly hooked. You tell it all the same way I do, and MAN do I wish I could get some of those killer boots. I’ve never been one for name brands, so didn’t even know what you were talking about till I clicked the link (yes, knew of the red death-heal-shoes) and as the wife of a now medically retired Marine, and the mother of 5, I will drool over the shoes online, and still only buy the Walmart or Payless stuff for my feet unless it’s a special occasion or I’ve saved and saved my money.
    Your talent is amazing, and I love seeing the fun stuff other make. Inspires my little crochet hook or knitting needles to want to fly away in pursuit of my own creations.
    I admire you also, for not just laying down and taking the rude comment and the slew of comments on the blog, and not having a follow up. Not always easy to do.

  10. anne johnson says:

    I’m a latecomer to this news post. So glad that gorgeous hat sold! I’ve never seen a better defense of the price of wearable art.

  11. Lenny says:

    Love it!!! Thank you!

  12. kylie says:

    I agree totally. I specialise in unique intricately designed cupcakes, & started making them because I realised no-one was doing anything other than buttercream cupcakes, with a simple decoration on them. I knew there was a potentially huge new market out there, then based my business on that principal. I was told no-one would pay for such detail, but now my cupcakes are known & copied, all over the world. So….I get annoyed when customers act the way yours did. I still get the occasional customer who complains about the price. But again, they have no idea of the hours that go into making them. The costs of quality ingredients, the time baking, the making of the different icings, colouring the different icings (buttercream, sugarpaste, pastilage etc), making the decorations, drying them, icing the cakes, applying the sugarpaste, putting on the decorations, packaging, the making of my handmade intricate stands to display them on, delivery….the list goes on. AND if there was such a thing as charging a premium like fashion designers etc do, I’d be right up the top & charging a fortune! SO when they query my prices I now ask them would they go to a designer store & say that they could get that $400 dress for $40 at Kmart? Would they complain about the price of a pair of Jimmy Choo shoes saying that Target has some similar pair for a fraction of the cost? And for those that say “I get get that cheaper elsewhere”?? I simply say “then go there then”!!

  13. Jay - says:

    I loved your post about the crazy woman and your beautimous hat! I am just overjoyed that you sold it, to someone who presumably loved it to bits, which is just as it should be. CrazyWoman didn’t deserve even to try it on her stupid head!

    By the way, my blog is down right now, but they’re working on it. *Sigh*

  14. Danielle says:

    Suddenly, I think you should have charged $300 for that hat, my dear friend! For being the conversation piece that it is, it has certainly increased in value to me!

  15. Cindy says:

    I don’t know you, but I feel like you’re a kindred spirit. Thank you for valuing your art yet not jumping on the moral superiority boat. As if there could possibly be one right path for all 7 billion of us to take …

  16. Claudia says:

    As one that is trying to take her own business to new heights (or just to be able to make a living off of it – that would be cool), your original piece resonated with me – as does this one.

    Something that has been bothering me about that last one: not the piece itself. It was forthright and very well written. But I do not understand the vitriol that some of the commenters were exhibiting.

    Is there something about blogs that attracts twerps?

    Anyway, for what it’s worth, keep on doing your thing, because you rock.

    • Mary G. says:

      Yes. They’re called “Trolls”. The ugly monsters that live under bridges and come out to attack people just for existing. It’s the saddest negative to the internet world… people who use their anonymity as an outlet for their vile character flaws.

      Pity them, and be extremely grateful they’re not your relatives! =)

  17. Great news on ‘that hat’ πŸ™‚ congrats!

  18. Lilac Wolf says:

    Yes that lady was rude. I hated doing the craft show circuit with my mom when I was a teenager. So many people can be rude, and it wasn’t my art, it was my mom’s. I think that made me MORE sensitive. But anyway I just wanted to say I LOVED that hat…it was so pretty.

  19. Anna says:

    You make some very interesting unique hats! I just read both your posts and agree totally! People just don’t understand how much love and effort it takes to create something. I get told all the time I should sell some of the stuff I make but they don’t understand what goes into it. Some day maybe when I have the time to market it better. I also shop (and work) at Walmart. I can create all my knitwear pieces so they are much more interesting than off the rack stuff. I share your love of Fluevogs. I indulge in them a little more than I should sometimes, but I will never buy a crappy pair of shoes again. I go to the sample sales, have found a few on ebay or amazon, and haven’t ever paid the full price for them. I just do what I have to to get the shoes I love.
    Congratulations on the sale of that hat! Keep doing what you love, the right buyer will come eventually πŸ™‚

  20. Monica says:

    Beautiful! Beautiful post and Beautiful hat! Thank you for sharing about the customer and her comments. As a silk artist, I endure that also. I do hope that you find many more customers who love your work and what you put into it and let the crazy ones go on their way back to a big box store.
    I really liked that you compared the art to fashion design. I will have to remember that when I get my next rude customer.
    Thank you!
    By the way, those boots rock as much as your post does!

  21. This blog post and the one that prompted it are wonderful! I shared the first on my facebook page, and will link this one too. I have been selling my fascinators and mini tophats at craft fairs for about a year and a half now, and I am always shocked at how rude some people can be. I usually keep my composure, but some days it is difficult. Hang in there; your hats are amazing, and worth every penny you are asking. They are indeed art for your head, and not just a hat. I also agree entirely about Louboutans and Fluevogs πŸ™‚ I saved all last year and splurged on a pair of Fluevogs for my 40th birthday.

  22. Claire says:

    I think you are amazing!

  23. Sherri says:

    I so appreciate the time you spent on the hat – it is absolutely wonderful!! And I loved the same red shoes you do!!

    Glad your hat sold and know that the person that bought it just loves it!

  24. Judi says:

    Brava for writing 2 very enlightening posts! I also shared it on Facebook, and hope that some folks I know will read it and learn something!

    So glad the hat sold! It was a great piece!

  25. MGreer says:

    Someday I also hope to own a pair of Fluevogs…great follow up article!

  26. I know you don’t want to go broke doing this, or burn out completely–I hope that most of your line is made more quickly, I would hate to see you stop getting enjoyment out of making these–
    I have an etsy shop, Ardent1, my pieces (jewelry) are very labor-intensive for the first piece, but then I can make a mold and cast from the mold and amortize the time I spent over many many sales–not sure if these is a parallel for you, but maybe you can find one–
    Good luck, they are lovely–

  27. Evelyn says:

    Well said again Somer!!!! AuntE you are a classy lady.

  28. Sherry says:

    I have been back several times to look at that picture of the wonderful, piece of art you called a hat. I’m going to save up, you do very artistically strong work.

  29. Tessa says:

    Loved this post – I make baby quilts and swaddles and a lot of people make fun of me until they or someone they know are pregnant. Then they want to buy a quilt – which is an intricate conversation because I don’t just make quilts for anyone and since each piece is hand stitched with a nursery rhyme or lyric and created with a matching stuffed animal, without a pattern and can’t be repeated – people don’t understand how much these are worth (& I’m not even including the batting which is organic non bleached cotton and bamboo). This is why I dodge most of these questions and offer cards of guild colleagues who “sell”. For the record, LOVED THE HAT & my mom would buy 1 in a a second!

  30. pjd says:

    Drama masquerading as marketing. Brilliant!!!

    • Ah yes. Brilliant move on my part to write a blog that gets an average of 52 hits per day, because I’m psychic and I just knew that TWO WEEKS later some random person I don’t know would re-post it, then tell a bunch of people I also don’t know to go completely batshit crazy over something I wrote mostly for myself and the other 52 people who bothered to come to my blog in the first place. Yes, totally diabolical.

      Somer

      • Jacqui says:

        After reading this response out loud, my 13 year old daughter (who is currently preparing for her second craft fair) hollered out, “I LOVE HER!!!”

        So, there you go. We both love you!

      • Deena says:

        En deux semaines, le poignet de Delpo peut aller bcp mieux (on parle du poignet gauche là) et j’en fais donc un sérieux outsider s’il arrive jusuq’en qu#&t.Sra8217;il rejoue comme aux JO, il va faire très très mal…

  31. heather says:

    I own a bakery.
    It’s difficult and sometimes insulting to listen to nasty comments about prices. A week after I opened last year, a woman was in an uproar complaining about the prices of our $2.50 scratch-made cupcakes. I was so hurt!
    One year later (last week) 2 women came in, grabbed a few free samples of a “scratch-made-takes-two-days-to-rise” cinnamon rolls, huffed about our $2.50 cupcakes, and waltzed right back out with just the free samples.
    And I laughed because I now know better. Thanks, ladies! Go home and enjoy spending the holidays with a $1 box of Betty Crocker. If you don’t appreciate it, you don’t deserve it.

  32. crafter says:

    excellent response, love it.

  33. claire says:

    Wow, when I saw you had written a response and clicked through, I was totally not expecting the majority of your comments to be about how $150 is TOTALLY TOO MUCH TO PAY for a hat and you should MAKE CHEAP MASS-PRODUCED THINGS. Probably in China. And you should do it by enslaving baby pandas.

    I was expecting the majority of comments to be supporting you, because you are so obviously right in your assessment.

    I have no idea why people who go to craft fairs complain about the prices of the handmade products, things they couldn’t make themselves in a million years — I used to see handbound blank journals at craft fairs, and consistently had to underprice them (such that I was making about $2.50 an hour per book) so I could sell any at all. All the crappy cheapity-cheap stuff from overseas gives consumers a skewed idea of how much things really cost.

    And, of course, the problem with telling people your hats are art (they are), is that people consistently devalue art, too. Your original oil painting? For HOW MUCH? I’ll give you $50. Bullshit.

    You are totally right. And your hats are great.

    • Claire, I am also totally surprised by the response. I’m not sure what it is that inspired such hostility, but I think it actually has very little to do with my silly hat. Also, the internet makes it possible for people to say things they would never actually say to a person’s face. Ah, anonymity.

      Anyway, thank you for reading!

      Somer

    • Eve says:

      I too was SHOCKED at the comments. That woman was rude! Aside from the snotty comments… why try on a hat you didn’t like? That just defies logic. I can’t understand why anyone would support her position.

      And as for the pricing break-down… I think it was helpful to illustrate to people *why* we price things the way we do when someone is that rare kind of artist that is simply not willing to work for free. I would have hoped it would have made them all feel terribly guilty about the times they have bought hand made things at mass-produced prices, or even undervalued hand-made gifts. I don’t think people understand how much time goes into making something handmade, and beyond making the item itself, there’s the time invested to acquire the skills to make it, and often the cost of the tools to make it too. And frankly, when it gets right down to it, you shouldn’t have to justify your price. It is your thing to sell or not, and it is up to you to set a price at which you think it will sell. How you derive that price (whether it is by incorporating time and materials cost or simply pulling it out of thin air) is totally up to you! And whether or not the price is right is something only you and your buyer should be debating. Unless you had *asked* for pricing advice, which clearly, you had not. Anyone offering that unsolicited advice was just being rude.

      Saying this as the proud owner of a $300 (!!!) hand made hat (not one of yours, it’s a lovely leather and fur concoction) that I feel was worth every penny I paid, as I feel like a million bucks when I wear it. And also as someone who makes stuff but refuses to try to do it for sale as I don’t want to have these stupid debates with “customers” who have no idea what they are talking about.

  34. kellfire says:

    Thank you for standing up for yourself & other crafters & artisans. That rude customer and many others in this day in time should really reflect on the grace previous generations taught us…that if you cannot say anything nice, don’t say anything at all.

  35. Olivia says:

    I agree with the this post. I am a mother of 8 children so Walmart it is..And Sams Club…And Aldi’s. Every penny counts. And if something has to last a long time, then I will spend the extra to find good quality. Now the Green Hat wasn’t my thing. But if it was many shades of Lavender….Well, I would be scrimping and saving for that one. πŸ˜‰
    Lov
    Liv

  36. Kuini Scott says:

    Unique. Perfectly designed for your body and spirit. Strong, long-lasting, beautifully functional. Sustainable, local, ethical. A showcase of my skills,training, practice and awesome creative eye. It takes a full day of focused specialized labour to create this hat/ jacket/ jewelry /whatever.

    You will feel GORGEOUS wearing it.

    “Oh, and by the way, since I’m really nice I’ll sell it to you the customer for only $30 cos it’s
    handmade and it fills in my spare time.”

    Have I a right to spend my days creating ‘expensive’ beautiful things, when I could be laboring in any choice of multinational corporate-owned sweatshop, anywhere in the world, to make the same item?
    Hmmmm. I’ll have to think about that one.

  37. Anna Frederiksen says:

    Loved your article! I do 2 or 3 craft shows a year – not because I make lots of money (I don’t) but mainly to “show my art”.They usually cost me even more money because I just can’t resist the other art crafters’ work – we all end up buying or trading each other’s work and I always leave richer for the exchanged art, wonderful ideas, and the comradship of the other artists! (even if I make much of that paper [money] stuff). BTW, would you ever consider trading for one of my sculptures? – lol.

  38. When I get a customer like that looking at the pricing on my gourds I just smile and say – “Not everyone is into hard-shell gourds and I can’t afford me either.”

  39. Thanks for starting the conversation. I am a handmade jewelry artist (yep I am a real artist – why because I use all my heart and soul to create beautiful jewelry) and am tired of people telling me they could buy it cheaper elsewhere!

    No, they cannot because I make one-of-a-kind designs in my own small studio. Comparing a quality handmade necklace to one created in 2nd and 3rd world countries is not a comparison.

    We live in a world where people would rather own a ton of cheap, disposable items then a few of value and long-term worth. Unless people become willing to pay fair wages for people to work in healthy environments in every country, handmade artisans are destined to hear rude laments regularly.

    I know not everyone can afford a $300 bracelet (that’s why I created another more affordable line I sell thru Etsy) but that doesn’t mean it isn’t a good value.

    My goal is to try to connect with those who understand handmade is an investment in me, an investment in art and an investment in themselves.

  40. Kim Guzman says:

    Excellent! Excellent! Excellent! Every word here and the post that shall not named. Everyday I am faced with someone who doesn’t place a value on what I do. It makes it really difficult to stay motivated. Last year, while at a craft fair, I purchased a necklace that had been hand-crafted. I asked the price, then I doubled it, passed the money to her and told her quietly that she is definitely charging too little for such exquisite work. We are the worst culprits of not putting an appropriate value to our own work.

  41. Teri says:

    You rock. Period. ‘Nuff said. A friend posted “the post that shall not be named” on facebook, I read it, then I was led to this one. I am now officially hooked. Sadly, a pun is intended.

    p.s. LOVE your hats. LOVE. I learned to crochet a year ago, and am not close to even thinking I might be worthy of claiming to do the same “craft” you do. You are a true artist with that skinny piece of yarn and a hook.

  42. Mary Stone says:

    Well said! Thank you for being bold and telling it like it is. Reality is never as pleasent as the art we create. That is why we create.

  43. suzanne says:

    I am in total agreement! I have been self-employed in various retail businesses for the past 21 years. People are RUDE and STUPID RUDE most of the time. I have often thought about writing a book “Have You Ever Been In Retail?” reciting some of the things that come out of people’s mouths across a counter, or at a cash register. It’s amazing, but then again, I see civilation throwing all courtesies, manners, and patience to the wind with this new evolution of immediate satisfaction that comes with current technology all the way back to the microwave oven! It is not a good evolution for the social skills of the human being. I pity the next couple of generation when EVERYTHING is disposable. Let’s hope and pray that art lives on forever, and people will see it’s value and appreciate it forever! Keep creating my friend. It would be a very sterile and lonely place with only mass produced items in this world.

  44. Rhonda Michalek says:

    You are soooo right on. I’m on the other side, paying for the art that people make. I’ve never quibbled about the price tag, as I like to surround myself with the energy from the artist. That said, I do have a financial limit, which makes some purchases out of the question – – that, and the practice of always liking the most expensive, complex piece on the planet ……..

    • Tracy says:

      disse:I do consider all of the concepts you have presented in your post. Th#&7e821y;re very convincing and will certainly work. Nonetheless, the posts are very short for beginners. May you please lengthen them a bit from next time? Thanks for the post.

  45. KAREN sMEDLEY says:

    I too love to create and would love to sell them. But, I know I could never make any money as I would have to charge a lot.
    We are so spoiled in this country that we expect China pricing on everything we buy. And I think we would all agree that items from China are poorly made and from unsafe materials. I honestly try to find American made items to buy and it is a very difficult challenge.
    As for the woman who was so very rude, she should stay away from craft fairs and stick to shopping at Walmarts or the Dollar Tree ,that is where you will find cheap,classless people like her.

  46. Brenda says:

    Heartfelt stories like the original story is why I don’t sell my art. The snarky comments from people that have no idea of what handmade is all about should measure there words carefully when possible. I do love to give my art to people who admire and appreciate it.
    Thanks for the article!

  47. k l m says:

    Ah. Ok. You answered my question! It sold. Congratulations (I love the hat, it would look stupid on me, but that’s just cuz my features don’t complement the dramatic!!)

    Had you NOT sold the hat, I would ask how you are working both ends of your business…ie adapting your art (just a little) to the market. This seems like a huge affront to the artist, but if one is running a business, as you clearly are, its kind of important to be able to sell your work. Because eating is important, too!

    I hope you sell lots more of them…til people are dreaming of being able to buy one of YOUR prize pieces!

  48. Merry Mandolin says:

    Well said!

  49. I’m DELIGHTED your hat sold and you should jack your prices up! I guess it really depends on where you live, because that determines to a great degree, your customer base. The people that purchase the red soled towers of death would probably pay $300 for that lovely hat!! It would look wonderful on the streets of NYC!

    Sorry you had to deal with that rude person and thank you for driving home and issue that all of us artists deal with!!

  50. Jen says:

    There was probably some sort of epic comment I was going to make but then I was all “mmmm shoes…. Fluevog… huh?”

    Seriously though, I agree with you. First off, I cannot stand people making judgements about how much a person should spend on something. If you don’t want to spend $200 on jeans, good for you! Don’t. Don’t you dare judge me for it.

    Or when people slam on designer handbags, especially if those people make their own. I’ve actually seen people who make bags say “Who in their right mind would pay that much…” Indeed. I bet if it was your bag selling for $800 you would be loving it. Now leave me and my Louis Vuitton alone!

    But really I’m surprised anyone had anything to say about your previous post since for me, reading it, the point came across loud and clear. Rude lady was rude. Keep your nasty opinions to yourself rude lady.

    But that’s just it, isn’t it? People actually feel entitled to tell you their opinion even when they are flat out insulting you. They have a RIGHT to their opinion and apparently you have no right to be treated with respect. More and more I see this attitude and to me it boils down one thing. Your mama didn’t teach you any manners! There’s no excuse. It’s a million times worse, in my opinion, when it’s coming from other crafters/artists. It’s like instead of it being a slap to the face it’s a punch. You can have your opinion but why do you have to share it when you know it’s going to insult the person who made the item. And if you don’t know that you’re being rude then you have a much bigger problem you need to address and a serious character flaw!

    My grandmother would call it “poor breeding” (and no we were not nor are we wealthy, I work and save for my fancy jeans and my LV bag). Poor breeding isn’t about socio-economic status, it’s more about character.

    Now… I do believe we were talking about shoes? πŸ™‚ I actually haven’t bought a pair of Fluevogs in years because I have knee and back problems now and they don’t give me the support I need. I just sit and stare at my old ones. My precious…

    • Linda Byrd says:

      “Poor breeding isn’t about socio-economic status, it’s more about character” — I SO agree with you! Our grandmothers were the same sort of woman. Unfortunately, rude and self-absorbed people will never recognize when their opinions are best kept to themselves, or when to respect the different choices other people make in their lives.

  51. You are one brave woman! Thank you, thank you, thank you!

    There are very few shows I participate in, and the ones that I do are typically for charities. The reason is because of people like Rude Lady. Each piece that I create is unique. Sure, I could make multiples of my items. I have plenty of materials. The issue is why would I?

    Each woman is an individual, so why would they want something that every other woman could have the opportunity wear? There is nothing worse than walking into a room and seeing someone wearing the same thing as you! This is why I only make one of each design. Maybe it is less cost effective for me and more expensive for my customer, but I won’t change my belief that every one of a kind woman deserves a one of a kind wearable work of art!

    Your post(s) helped reminded me about the value of my work and have touched me deeply. Wish me luck on the open house I am having at my home this weekend. I now feel confident that I will have plenty of “it sold”‘s of my own!

  52. Amanda says:

    Just stopping by to say thanks.

  53. Jami says:

    When I was participating in the show circuit selling my own , one of a kind jewelry, I had the SAME experience! On top of it, the rude person said, “Seriously??? $250 for a necklace of red beads?” I guess she was illiterate because the tag specified the “red beads” were actually faceted RUBIES. Moron!! I was offended that she was so rude about her distaste of my art. Everyone does not have to like what I create, but to be so rude to one’s face is something I just don’t get!

  54. Julie R in WA says:

    Thank you so much for your fantastic post and this follow-up. I crochet things, but not for sale. I’ve been told to try and sell them, but I am afraid that people will see them as an overpriced piece of mass produced product instead of something i spent hours making and poured my heart into. Makes me want to attempt to sell some:)

  55. granny says:

    a wonderful work of art. You go girl. As a artist myself i know how much love and time is put into each item and my I say they are all priceless.

  56. flossie says:

    thank you for both posts – it all needs to be said. And thank you for saying Frakking toaster. Seriously.

  57. SBL says:

    I cannot tell you how truly happy I am that your hat sold, and I dont have any idea who you are, other than a crafter, and a woman who wrote two amazing posts! πŸ™‚ Thank you very much, and I hope you dont mind that I share!

  58. Both of these posts are so great. I wrote something similar a few weeks ago and it too garnered an overwhelming response. This is something that really fires up the handmade community…rightly so!

  59. Julie Branch says:

    Bravo! Or is that Brava!!? At any rate, thank you for putting it out there in plain language and kudos to that lucky person who is now sporting that beautiful one of a kind hat!

  60. Julie Branch says:

    One more thing, I think some of our culture has lost the appreciation of the one of a kind and are truly surprised when they don’t buy that cool thing you made on their first impulse then are shocked when they come back to buy it, and someone else already did, and you tell them you can’t or won’t make another one like it. In the art world if you like it you better buy it because once it’s gone it’s gone. And there is a beauty in that. Again, Bravo!

  61. Karen Gill says:

    Excellent points, all! And I must say, I took a look at those sweet shoes. If I weren’t so old, I would be lusting after them myself!! Blessings!

    • Bettie says:

      Jeg liker jo hvitt jeg sΓƒΒ₯, synes det er delikat mot bilder og synes det er lett ΓƒΒ₯ lese mot og lyst og rent og fint og …ja, pent, rett og slt..et.

  62. Jacqui says:

    I haven’t yet read through your whole post. I will, but first I wanted to come down here – immediately – and tell you that I love you!

    Thank you for your clear head!

  63. Oh we know your pain, but on the flip side, I was selling my jewelry at a local farm market. (I keep my prices lower for that as I don’t have to pay commission) when a tourist type selected a necklace set of Jasper and Hill Tribe Silver. Of course she didn’t want the earrings which were included in the price, as she didn’t wear “Matchy, Matchy” and asked me to reduce the price. I suggested she might want to give the earrings as a gift to someone and her Posse agreed, chiming in that they were beautiful. No, she wanted the price reduction, so I knocked off $15.00 which brought the necklace, with Sterling down to $65.00. After the transaction, she put on the necklace, everyone oohhhhed and aaaahed and she put her hand on her hip and looked at me and said ” You know, if this was Scottsdale, I would have paid $400.00 for this”. Burning, I responded with my hand on my hip “Well, You know, this is Sturgeon Bay and you’re one lucky lady, you can tell your friends that’s what you paid if that makes you feel better”. I turned away as her friends laughed. She got a wonderful bargain but still found it necessary to de-value my work. I think there are just some people you can’t win with. Then again, maybe I should move to Scottsdale LOL. Loved your piece and glad my friend shared it with me.

    • Amanda says:

      For cripes sakes! Why on earth was she asking for a discount in the FIRST place, if that’s what she was used to seeing?!? Some people have no class.

  64. Dawn says:

    I have artist friends who refuse to sell in galleries because of the commission. I am more than happy to pay to let someone else deal with customers. I just can’t listen to the things people say about art and stay sane. I admire your ability to hold your tongue. It shows true inner strength.

  65. linda says:

    Beautiful post! I love how you noted that it’s okay to shop at Walmart, Target, the dollar store or wherever… I really despise the “shame shame” technique on others…it’s just mean!

    I think everyone has to figure out what works for them personally and BTW, yay for selling your Art πŸ™‚

  66. Mary G. says:

    I shop at Wal-mart to save money so I can spend it on luxurious yarns that I use to create my own art! LOL

    AND because I’m one of those people who’s main criteria for clothing is that it’s durable and cheap (both of which I can get at Wal-Mart, BTW) and their house brand food products are often superior in quality than other “name brand” items – go figure!

  67. I love this so much. Thank you so much for posting. I have linked it to my facebook page and my fan page. I make couture dolls ornaments and stuffed animals for collectors all over the world. I dont just get people questioning the time it takes me to make my work, but why an adult would want to “adopt” such things anyway.
    Thankfully, there are such wonderful people or I would be out in the street.
    Thanks again
    Shelly

  68. Tehlia says:

    Wonderful. Everyone has already said all that I would. Just wanted to thank you personally. πŸ™‚

  69. vintagesusie says:

    1st time on your blog & I’m hooked! {notice cute play on words totally unintentional, I’m not that clever..LOL}
    I too create…I have a business called ‘SPOONIN’ where I handcraft necklaces & earrings from vintage sterling silver spoons. Not a new concept, it’s been done forever…but maybe I have my own unique style. Excitedly the Junk Gypsy’s just placed their 3rd order with me yesterday…Woot Woot. I make a living poundin spoons. Sounds easy right??
    There’s many processes that go into my spoons…I pound, buff, cut, grind, drill, buff, add words, steel wool, buff, add jump ring, chain, clean, put in bag & add business car, ship!
    I charge $20 wholesale & $40 retail. I’ve learn to make them in a kinda assembly line way, it probably takes me 2 hours per necklace so at a wholesale price after costs I make about $8 hour. Again as with you, not counting the time searching for vintage spoons, the gas trying to find them, the 15% that goes to sales reps, etc, etc.
    People just DON’T get that artisan’s GIVE AWAY their art simple because LOVE making them. MOST of us aren’t getting RICH from creating what we love, most of us are barely surviving making what we love & ya know what? If you don’t LOVE what we make, simply walk away & as we look at your back as you do so, we will remember…
    WE are BLESSED for having a PASSION & the COURAGE to LIVE our BLISS & the talent to CREATE & throw your sticks & stomes somewhere else, I have SPOONS that need POUNDIN!!!
    You simply ROCK SWEETIE!!!!
    Big Hugs,
    Susie

  70. Hmmmm, maybe just pray that whatever caused her to make such nasty comments will leave her life.
    Or, just pray that someday she will have the means to purchase a $150. hat from YOU with JOY and PLEASURE!

  71. Hmmmm, maybe just pray that whatever caused her to make such nasty comments will leave her life.
    Or, just pray that someday she will have the means to purchase a $150. hat from YOU with JOY and PLEASURE!

  72. Utterly fabulous. I found this on face book, a friend of mine shared your article. I’ve had people make snarky remarks like I wasn’t standing right in front of them. “aren’t these great?” says thing 1. thing 2 responds like this:”naaaah.” and walks away. whatever.
    Congratulations on the sale of your hat. THAT person will love it and treasure it.
    xo
    lynn
    p.s. I’m with you. the boots rock.

  73. Claire says:

    Awesome points! We need to remember that we’re used to cheap, mass-produced stuff that’s made far enough away that we can conveniently forget about the reason it’s so cheap (i.e., shitty wages, working conditions, and environmental impacts for non-Americans). Those “cheap” items have a cost that doesn’t appear on the price tag; we don’t pay it, but someone else does.

  74. Just Jen says:

    OMG as an artist and a retailer… I can totally see me getting in the middle of this conversation and making a true argument out of it. Coming to blows even… But after 20 years of selling things that I personally picked out I learned to walk away. Well… Occasionally I would pull a “NO SOUP FOR YOU!” Or a, “DON’T BUY THE GOD DAMN THING THEN!” But most the time I would smile that “You are a BITCH” smile and walk away:)
    I sell ski stuff.. It is NOT CHEAP. It is a luxury…. If you can’t afford it, don’t bitch. It is not an entitlement…. And… I even sell $40 socks. ALL DAY LONG. I am a wearer of hats, and shoes…. And I’ll shop at Old Navy for the rest if I can have a kick ass pair of boots. Oh yeah, and maybe a purse:)
    But what I do remember is a woman who was a potter came in… bitching about the price of her ski boots. They were being custom fit for her by a medically trained professional, and she came to us because of our reputation with properly fit ski boots. This is about a three hour process, and guaranteed to fit. During one of her rants, the bootfitter turned to her and asked, “Do you sell a pot for the cost of the clay?”
    My point is… rude people are just rude. Sometimes you feel the need to put them in their place, others… you walk away and let it slide. They are EVERYWHERE, and come in all shapes and forms.

  75. “it sold.”
    ha!
    I love it.

    Great response. you’ve somehow succinctly managed to speak to something that is so dear to crafters and artists. For that I dearly thank you.
    …now if someone could just convince my mother that it’s OK if NOTHING I make has fringe. Even if there are ‘people who like fringe’ on their scarves. :-/

  76. Vincent VanRiesen says:

    I think the prices ppl charge for crafts are retarded. $150 is severely underpriced for a handmade product by a northamerican citizen. if you raised the price to $700, you would be amazed how many 1%ers would jump at the product because it’s “Boutique”

    presentation is everything when you overprice a unique item. it’s often better to do it online or in an actual “rich folks boutique”. People are surprisingly dumb in this respect. I’ve been making a living charging an exorbitant amount of money for a consulting service.

    If you feel guilty about charging so much and excluding your grassroots consumer base, then launch a separate shop outside of the demographic. Call them knockoffs if you have to. Sell them for $150 or less. I reserve special “student rates” for people who obviously cannot afford my professional service. It’s all in the presentation.

  77. Megan says:

    I found your posts through the Fluevog facebook page. As an artist and an all around crafty type person, I enjoyed both this and your last post. So well put on every point! πŸ˜€ I will definitely be showing this to all my crafty friends.

  78. First things first…your hat is ab fab! A real work of art and I’m happy to hear you’re proud of and love your work! I’m a small biz person myself and do craft/art shows too. A few weeks ago, I debuted my new insulated flat iron cases that I priced at $18. Similar to your experience, a super rude woman picked through them all (totally messing up my display in the process) and tossed them aside, one by one. She made a rude noise, looked at the price, and then loudly enough for everyone else in my tent to hear, said, “I’d never pay $18 for these!” For the first time in my life I had an appropriate comeback (yay!). I smiled big and told her that I was pretty sure that Walmart carries a version, made in Chinese factories. She stood there tongue tied. Really made me feel good, defending myself and my work, and given the nature of our economy now, I’m pretty sure I struck a chord with her and hopefully, she’s still thinking about what I said. Keep on crocheting and never forget that there are many MORE people who DO appreciate handmade works of art:)

  79. Mandy says:

    I absolutely love your posts! So glad a FB friend shared your link so I could read. Your hat is amazing and I’m so happy someone worthy purchased it for the true art it was!!

  80. elise says:

    Incredibly inspiring. Although I would unfortunately not be able to afford such a piece… it is truly incredible. It is a work of art, for sure. I love craft fairs… no matter what someone makes, whether I like it or not, it is an expression of who they are. It is for no one to judge- the price of one person’s expression.

    • Trixie says:

      I’m glad every day that Obama is prestdeni. I can walk by the White House now and feel a sense of optimism for this country again.I will say it would be nice if Obama could have one or two less crises on his plate.

    • Mary, It has truly been a pleasure blogging along with you and the rest of the ladies! Thanks so much for the journey! I will miss our weekly e-mails and postings! Love your Queen of Sheba Cake! Sounds so decadent and delicious! I’ve never made one before, but must give it a try!

  81. Julie says:

    Fluevogs speak to me as well. The same way great portraiture does. Fluevogs are art. I’ve worn them for 20+ years and even my oldest are still killer. They’re an investment I make every 5-6 years. Wearable art, just like your hat.

  82. Mindy Sherwood-Lewis says:

    Love the blogs – both of them. What I never understand about people is why they even bother to try on something that isn’t to their taste… we get less of that in our jewelry booth than “soft art” vendors do (I think), but still get the occaisional sniffy comment about our style or prices. If I’m at a craft fair or market, and what someone makes does not speak to me, I’m not even going to go into the booth, and if I really like something, but just don’t have any available cash, I will try (unless the vendor is really busy with paying customers) to make a comment about what I like about the work. Everyone can use positive reinforcement, right?
    And, I’m totally not a hat person, but even I could tell that was a unique piece of art…nice work!

  83. Holly M. says:

    LOVE LOVE LOVE this post!!! <3 BRAVA!!! πŸ˜€ Really, though, wal-mart sucks. Their prices are NOT always the cheapest and with coupons you can get ANYTHING cheaper anywhere else. They've all but destroyed our economy. And, yeah, LOL. Sry took a political science class and economics all in the same semester and learned the true evils of wal-mart from both ends πŸ˜‰ Just say NO! <3

  84. Thanks for the posts, it stirred some major emotions and it rounded up so many people. really nice:)
    (also thanks for the links to Fluevog. one can dream.)
    take care you.

  85. Awesome posts both. Way too much unkind behavior for one morning – and not a deserving word from you in either.

    Why do people refuse to understand the fact that the sources of cheap goods are being quietly supported by our tax dollars and skewed entirely towards large corporations??

    Sigh, you are so right on. Don’t give up please. Excellent illustration of people seeing what they want to hear. And, the million dollar question is why, if you don’t like the hats, do you try on every one? People will never cease to amaze me….

  86. Holly says:

    Bravo! Wonderful article. I’m a handmade artist, too and I think this is such a great education for people who don’t understand the cost of handmade. Sorry about the rude customer, rude people suck. It’s so much easier to be kind, isn’t it? Oh and gimme some Fleuvogs! Those boots rock.

  87. Bonnie says:

    You make a really good point that art is priced as art, not as a simple functional item and that it isn’t intended to appeal to the masses. I think there is a lot of confusion about this, but if you want something different, you’re probably going to have to pay more for it. It’s a matter of supply and demand. Scarce goods cost more.

    Economics aside, rudeness is never appropriate.

  88. mommabear says:

    Seriously…seriously? Both posts resonated with me as a fledgling designer/artist – I “free-form knit”, I felt strengthened by what you posted. I under-value my work and under charge all the time. Thank you from all of us out here trying to sell art….in a crafted way….

  89. Linda Byrd says:

    Fabulous news that your hat sold — How affirming is that! These days I mostly make my art (jewelry, quilts, knitted items) for myself and my loved ones. Once, though, I sold hand-crafted Santas in craft fairs. One woman objected vehemently to my blue “Saintey Claus” because Santa “is s’pose to be red” and then she huffed off when I wouldn’t sell the “defective” blue Santa for less. Ah well — clearly she was on a different path than mine. My blue Santas sold well, too, to kindred souls, or perhaps people with blue Christmas decor!

  90. Dusty says:

    I raise my fist to you in solidarity! BOTH posts were fabulous.

  91. Graham Eyre says:

    I hope you were super polite to the hat lady, I have found over the years that this is the only thing that will put them in their place. As a person that is into Medieval Re-enactment, I am used to buying hand made gear, as for the most part that is the only way we can get what we want. Like the hat not really my style but do like it. Hope that you are able make up the difference in your income as you will soon go broke otherwise.

  92. “And that $150 hat? It sold…”

    …and you are laughing at the rude lady all the way to the bank. πŸ˜‰

  93. This blog post and its predecessor are excellent. Last time I checked in this country, people were free to choose what they purchased. Why they feel compelled to commentate on prices set by an artist or artisan, I have no idea. I don’t bother with craft or art fairs because the Walmart mindset is so prevalent.

    As an artist who paints dog portraits and paintings, I price my stuff to reflect time to produce, materials, uniqueness, how much demand there is for my work, etc…there are many factors involved. Those factors are unique to me. People either think it’s worth it or they don’t. I’m not here to convince them otherwise if they don’t but I will sometimes discuss what factors into my pricing. When you break it down, they often have a light bulb moment.

    The thing is, people often don’t stop to consider the potential value an item will have for them over time. I like to suggest a little exercise to help with that. 1. How many years will they (or someone they may give the item to as a gift) own the piece if they buy it? 2. In that time frame, how many times are they likely to enjoy or use it? 3. Multiply duration x enjoyments/uses. 4. Divide that total into the price to get a “cost per use/enjoyment”. It’s usually pennies.

    It’s a slightly silly exercise, but it does point up the fact that buying finely crafted works is an investment in oneself and the payoff comes over a long period of enjoyment/use.

  94. More power to you! The value of handmade and art is well beyond the cost of the time and materials you put into it. If someone doesn’t want to buy what you are making, then they are free not to buy it, but it certainly doesn’t excuse bad behavior. People are so used to fast and cheap, that they have no taste or appreciation for handmade, high quality, art, whether it be wearable or otherwise. So glad you sold that hat for $150!!!!!

  95. Irene says:

    I am so happy I found your blog. You’ve got a new friend, girl.

  96. Charmaine says:

    I am hoping that all of these “hidden costs” are becoming more apparent to the widespread public as the movement to shop American and Small Business grows. I am a photographer, and there are so many reasons why it is becoming more and more difficult to get paid what you deserve in my industry, and other independent small business industries. I am appalled by how often myself, and fellow photographers, are expected to work for FREE. I have a degree in my profession, I am a professional. How can people think I will work for nothing? And with the amount of hobby-ists and amateurs undercharging it is a struggle to get work that will pay what my expertise is worth. And I am certain the rest of the arts professionals is suffering by the same hands. People just do not stop to think about how a price came to be, and a lot of people struggling in this economy are dropping quality to pay the cheaper prices.

    I applaud your blog posts for bringing these struggles to light. I wish you the best of luck, and more pleasant customers in your future.

  97. Teresa says:

    I had a woman at Crafty Bastards pick up one of my owls, ask how much, and when I told her $30, she put it down and said in a huff, “I can get this at Walmart for $10!” I said, “Well, then go there.” Kinda nice to know I’m not the only one that gets that type of treatment. ^^;; Awesome postings. <3

  98. Love that you took the time to give a well thought out response. It’s exactly how I feel. Where are people’s manners? I suspect “that” woman is a very unhappy woman. Bruce Baker, an inspirational speaker who talks about marketing at craft shows, has a response for us to give to those folks that can’t seem to refrain from commenting when they have nothing nice to say: “It’s not for everyone.”

    Unless you’re in the 1% we all have to decide where we celebrate art and express ourselves and where we’re just keeping ourselves warm, as you suggested. We may create ourselves or purchase from artists such as yourself.

  99. the enigma says:

    I just discovered both of these posts about the “Rude Lady” and I have to say that I definitely commend you. Your response was admirable. Rather than be rude back, you channeled your frustration into a very well written post about what it actually takes to make that particular hat.

    Then you went and wrote this one, and it’s one of the most succinctly and well written articles about consumerism and personal taste that I’ve ever seen. You cover the fact that you don’t NEED clothing that costs hundred of dollars, but if you have the money, are responsible with it, and WANT a hat because it speaks to you, then go for it! But more importantly, that just because your tastes are A doesn’t mean people with taste for B are wrong, and one should never think so.

    It is admirable what you’ve written, and I will be sure to share both posts with my friend and family.

  100. Mink Bears says:

    I LOVE your post! I’ve been a full time Teddy Bear Artist, who specializes in mink teddy bears, for 23 years. Each bear is hand stitched so it can take me up to a week to complete just one bear, so they are not cheap. My first 10 years in business were spent on the Show circuit so I am very familiar with the rude customer that you described…I’ve met quite a few.

    I remember that I was once asked “How long did it take you to make this teddy bear” but it was asked in a manner that translated to me “Why do you think your bear is worth this much”. My answer was something like: To make that one bear it took me …let me count: 4 years to earn my art degree, several years as a freelance artist, 23 years as a full time Teddy Bear Artist …so, upon reflection, that bear took me 35 years … plus about 5 days.

    Thanks again for your wonderful post … I’m sharing it.

  101. Kathleen Southerland says:

    I applaud you for a wonderfully articulate post and follow-up. Living below my means for most of my life is the only thing that has saved this under-employed baby boomer recently. I have learned a great deal about the difference between wants and needs over the last few years. Any “wants” I acquire require cash (my head, my rules) and MUST feed my heart and soul. Brava to you and your art!

  102. April says:

    This is exactly why I rarely even try to sell my mosaics. I would love to, but don’t want to expose myself to the pain and relative lack of success.
    I feel the mass marketing of so much disposable unneeded junk is depriving many of the ability to distinguish and appreciate handcrafted art. Our whole society suffers from this.

  103. MaddyMarie says:

    After reading your post and others, yes I try to sell as much as possible; I keep making things that are in style and trendy and still feel I am underpaying myself; Been doing this for toooo many years; Actually in the real world of work I don’t make much more that 10,000 a year so understand; We arts and crafters need to get a reasonable sum for our works;
    I will always make things, I am just one of those people who just loves to CREATE!The money from my creations, well it would be nice to get a little to cover the cost of materials and hours but not really sure how to do it on a big scale, been
    trying to work on this idea awhile, thought maybe a brick and mortor place that just had arts and crafts for sale, but then there are online stores for this, but is anyone making any money on these sites? As you can see I am still muling this over with my muse, thanks for reading.

  104. Crochet Geek says:

    When I would set up at different craft sales years ago, I would often hear remarks that my doily’s were priced to high. They were made with a size 11 steel crochet hook, size 30 crochet cotton and may have taken 2-3 weeks to complete.

    There was this little old German woman who custom ordered a table runner, 12 inches wide x 36 inches long. I made it according to her request and charged her $12.00. She paid me and said it looked great. About a week later, she brought it back and said she didn’t like it. That really made me think twice about doing custom work because it took me several days to make it.

    When people purchase those designer wedding gowns, a lot of them are hand made as well. Many of them will go up in to six figures.

    • Jeanny says:

      I follow your youtube channel, and facebook page (which is where I got the link from) and I love your work. You have helped me out of many a time when I’ve forgotten just how to do this stitch, or that stitch.

      On your custom order table runner, $12 seems very underpriced? Your work is lovely, and time consuming, and worth much more than $12 it would seem πŸ™‚

  105. Jeanny says:

    I jsut spent over an hour reading the previous related blog, this follow up, and the veritable mountain of responses after clicking a link in facebook. Everything you have said has struck a chord in me, and I really enjoyed the way you expressed it.

    I am a crocheter, knitter, and sewer in my free time, though my work tends to the useful, or pattern following, as I lack the inner creativeness to create something truly unique. However I can appreciate the time, lover, heart, and soul that goes into creating these on-of-a-kind pices, and that is part of what makes them beautiful, what makes them ART.

    Now, ‘that hat’, is it to my tastes? No. But I have no doubt that you have made something that I would see and instantly covet. And while it isn’t to my tastes, I love the idea of it, the clever pun-tastic name, and the creativity and thought that is evident in the making of it. Art isn’t made so the masses will ALL like it, it speaks to the individual, and is highly dependant on personal tastes.

    One mans trash is another mans treasure comes to mind here.

  106. Mary Catone says:

    I am so glad that really cool piece of head art sold for you. I, like you enjoy doing artwork with my hands, I like to do counted cross-stitch. However, because it can take many hours to do even a small ornament, I have decided that I would only give away my work to dear friends and family and keep some for my immediate family to enjoy.
    I just know that I could never put a price on something that I had completed without it being questioned like yours was. I don’t feel confident enough in myself not to feel pressured to lower the price, even if I didn’t want to. I’m so glad that you stood your ground.
    Merry Christmas!

  107. Tina says:

    Thank you for your rant! I dislike explaining stuff like this. These are the same people who think shopping at Walmart or Target is beneath them. Several years ago, I crocheted afghans for the family as Christmas presents, they were all shocked that “It took you THAT long to make these!?” Yeah, I can whip an afghan up in a blink of an eye. I am glad your hat sold.

  108. Aprile M. says:

    I love you….period

  109. Amelie Jo says:

    Just wanted to let you know that I loved both of your posts and I desperately tried to read through all of the responses, however I couldn’t take the back and forth. I too have an Etsy shop and am a handmade artist. I design children’s clothes, which is a highly competitive category on Etsy. I can’t say that I have ever been told that my designs are overpriced, but it did take me a long time to have enough guts to account for my work time in my prices. I’m not sure when Americans began believing that it was okay to take advantage of workers in disadvantaged countries so that they could get a low price on an item they wanted. It wasn’t that long ago that our mothers and grandmothers handmade EVERYTHING. I believe that if consumers were happy to have just a few well made items, instead of a dozen disposables, the cycle of slave wages and mistreatment of the poor would end. We don’t need as much as we have, we just want for more and more. People really need to start being honest with themselves and take a hard look at what they are spending their hard earned dollars on. That $150 hat may last for years to come, while the $5 hat may not last a washing. Are you REALLY saving money when you are purchasing the same items over and over again? Very happy that you sold your hat to a person who obviously cherishes your art and work.

  110. Natalie says:

    I also crochet unique one of a kind items (hats and dolls) I can in fact reproduce most of mine but no they do not have patterns. That being said THANK YOU for posting the original post and this response. I did a convention where people acted like my work was garbage and too highly priced… what they don’t get is I spend my time and energy into the item… so it’s nice to see that someone out there understands and feels the same way… btw i won’t spend 20 on underwear either and def won’t spend over 50 on shoes.. unless they are FRAKING awesome shoes then maybe… but i would have guilt about it πŸ™‚

  111. I think the hat is BEAUTIFUL, I would never spend that sort of money on a hat, but it does make me want to try to make one for myself!!! first I would have to spend hours, or days, searching for the right thread, and then spend at least a year learning how to crochet……. Thinking it over…maybe I should just buy the one you made πŸ˜‰

  112. Helen in UK says:

    I think it is great that people sell their craft work and even better when they have the confidence to charge a fair price for it, well done.

    I taught myself to crochet out of a book a few years ago, (after someone said it was impossible to do, ah the challenge!) I would love to try freeform crochet but lack the imagination.

    My next challenge is build the confidence to sell what I can make, I am so afraid of getting the response that you got that I have never tried…

    When I pluck up the courage to try and sell my work, I will think about my effort and work that has gone in to the item before I decide on the price.

    I have given crocheted gifts and hand made jewelerey to people before, but never charged for it, yet…..

    Ultimately, it is up to an individual to pay what they think is a fair price based on their desire and love for the item. My thing is jumpers and I have paid handsomely for some very lovely ones.

    I found a great necklace on holiday in New York last week, at a christmas fair, when I went back for it – it was sold, so I asked about shipping to the UK, and the guy said that he had suffered many bad experinces with shipping to the UK and even canada that he refuses to now due to failed deliveries.

    as I really wanted the necklace and I asked about sending it by UPS an adding the costs onto the item, he told me that it would be too expensive…

    he decided for me that it would be too expensive.

    I was happy to pay for that. I worked it out, the necklance was $50, a great price as far as I see it, and shipping with UPS would be another $30-50, almost doubling the price, but I loved the item so much I would have hapily paid for it, in fact I would have paid $100 for the necklace alone.

    We have to be careful to not make the mistake of prejudging what someone else thinks is acceptable pricing based on our view of money and costs.

    If your item cost $40 in materials and 20 hours to make then charge for it, the right customer who loves it will pay what they consider to be a fair price.

    That said, making a living selling craft and art is a bit like making a living acting or making music, some make it big time, and others do it for the love and for it to pay for itself. that doesnt mean that we have to sell our hard work for peanuts, it just means we need to be aware that we may need a job as well as working our business to pay our way in life.

    For the people that cannot afford it and just like to window shop, that is also fine as long as they are polite and respectful, if they are not, then that is their suffering, imagine being the type of person that outwardly expresses their opinions like that, they are either have delusions of grandeur or are very troubled.

    as for the comments left on the blog, well, I think someones petulant 12 year old has gotten access to someones computer, as they were not comments that you would expect from responsible adults.

    Great blog Somer, and love the hats.

  113. Oh yeah, do I know what you are talking about?….oh yeah!

  114. Daniel Schealler says:

    This is so fantastically weird to me.

    The boutique-ey hand-crafted artist is giving a very concise and well-presented lecture on how everything is worth what someone is willing to pay for it.

    This is awesome.

  115. Minerva says:

    Wonderful! We have to continually remind ourselves to “value” what we do! So awesomely put, thank you πŸ™‚

  116. Kate says:

    power to ya babe! I completely agree with everything you said (in both posts).
    P.S those boots are ridiculously awesome πŸ™‚

  117. Sometimes you simply have to educate the customer about what it is that you make, so that they can understand why your prices are what they need to be. Sometimes, you simply can’t win. This is a very interesting discussion though about the difference between a one of a kind, high quality art to wear piece that is handmade versus a mass produced product. One of the things that does occur with handmade product is that many sellers undervalue their time and effort and so underprice thier work, which only makes it more difficult for things to sell. I have made one of a kind, needle sculpted cloth dolls complete with handmade costumes, beading, and other hand made details, and sold a number of these for $150. However, I stopped because I simply didn’t want to do all the work in selling on top production so, I quit making them for sale, and now just do so for my own joy. You need to find what works for you and I wish you lots of luck. Maybe in fact, you need to increase your prices if you aren’t getting enough back to equal your time, materials, and other associated costs.

  118. Linda says:

    I’m so glad I read your blog. πŸ™‚ You’ve got some great points. By the way, loved the hat! So worth $ 150. Greetings from Finland.

  119. BLewis says:

    Thank you! I will use what you said and the next time someone asks me why I charge what I charge I am going to paraphrase what you said. I could never be as nice as you were so I hope you don’t mind if I use your words to express how I feel.

    What you said nearly brought me to tears. I think about all the times I have had to deal with that one way or the other. So thank you again, three times over

  120. Sheryl says:

    Omg, I hate you! Not because of what you’ve written, I’m with you 110% on everything you’ve said on both posts. I hate you because I’ve made it through 40 years without seeing a pair of John Fluevog shoes and now I see at least 8 pairs I would kill for but can never have! While I would love to adorn my feet with them, my true loves are makeup, jewelry, and accessories so all my shoes are bought deep discount. BTW, your hats? Loves them! Keep doing your thing!

  121. jo says:

    I grew up in the American Craft Council. I’ve sold everything from $5 brass frogs by David Yurman( yes, that David Yurman, who now doesn’t touch the metal himself and charges outrageous amounts of money for something any dental tech can make) to single beads by Carrie Adell for 5 figures. And actually, that is what this comment is on: the people who could “just make it myself”. I don’t mean trained crafters, I mean average retail booth customers.
    I had a customer approach me in my booth to tell me that she had tried to duplicate my $15 item. She had to buy all the components in a retail store and ended up spending $80 on components alone, never mind the tool you need and the ability to use the tool.
    Interestingly, in my career I’ve been able to sell whatever the product is for whoever crafted it. Until I started my own lines and had my own booth. Boy was I surprised to discover I can’t sell my own work…

  122. First of all, if I needed further proof that you are a brilliant artisan, your fleuvog adoration would be more than ample. But I am pretty sure that I have been coveting your work for quite some time. My two cents? I was raised with money. Like, lots of it. You know what? I learned that there is actually a difference in how those (the money people) think. Generally. Of course, there are exceptions to every rule. Generally, money people would invest what they have to for the best quality they can afford. The thing EVERYONE might want to remember is that it’s all relative. EVERYONE has more money than somebody else. To somebody, you are a money people. All of us poor people with a roof over our heads should remember that at least we have that. I see an awful lot of “righteous” poor people who like to use it as sort of a “why I can justify my lack of principles” argument. It’s kind of moot in the face of the fact that those cheap sox you bought for your children at WalMart probably mean that the kids in that small area of China where that sox making plant is no longer have clean drinking water. So while I FULLY understand the plight of a single mom with two boys trying to give them the best life she can (being that I AM one) I also think that it is completely up to you how strong you stand by your principles and if you don’t want to shop at WalMart or any other “made in developing countries dependent” store, you don’t. And I should point out before the backlash gets started, I was RAISED with money… meaning it belonged to somebody else. I am at the lowest income bracket (as are they now in this economy)and living in a small town with very little in terms of resources or employment.

    I have a lot of friends who are artisans. We trade. A lot. I have friends who trade knitted goods for produce and fresh organic eggs. I have friends who trade childcare for paintings. Basically, the parts of our life that we can create, we do. Also, we share resources. We PR the heck out of each other. We do lots of “out of the box” thinking for sure… but the biggest thing that gets us by is that WE LIVE WITH LESS STUFF BUT OF BETTER QUALITY. We buy carefully from thrift stores (as much for an eco reasoning as any other) and we have homes full of beautiful things that we love that were handmade and are coveted pieces. (I may only buy one pair of Fluevogs in four years, but they are worth every penny.)

    The other thing that we have learned, and has already been mentioned is that there ARE people who will spend money on artisan wares. If they are marketed accordingly. There are lots of ways to do this, and they have pretty much all been covered here, but I am commenting because people got off on this “WalMart” mentality thing for a bit and I find it really frustrating that there are so many people who sideline THEMSELVES when there is no reason to. You don’t need new stuff every year unless you are trying to keep up with Vogue. And guess what? It is Vogue’s JOB to tell you that you need a new (Vogue approved) hat every season. If you teach your children the worth of things, they can use the same hat for more than one year. And then you can pass that gorgeous hand made hat on to somebody else. Or buy ten at a thrift store and buy yourself a gorgeous one that you will have for years.

    I think that lady liked your hats or she would have kept walking. Or she is a nutter who just needed to tell somebody that she didn’t quite understand what was going on there. Or she was just mean. Most likely she was just mean. There’s no helping that, AND contrary to what some people said, you should NOT have to listen to that. But there’s one in every crowd. The thing is, she had to leave without a fabulous hat, and you got some good business advice out of your post, so I’d say you started on top and came away moreso. You might want to find more “artisan markets” than “craft fairs” but like you said, the point is more that YOU feel right about what you are doing. And you ARE doing the right thing. Don’t listen to these artists who devalue themselves. You need to surround yourself with people who understand the value of what you do and that it is the handmade movement that is slowly but successfully changing society’s habits for the better. It is an educational process.

    A LOT of the people on here should maybe go and look up Tara Gentile. She has a lot on the go (maybe three or four blogs and lots of side projects) but she is a wealth of the info that is needed to combine artsy and creative with small business smarts. If you are an artist, no matter whether you are making money AND working a 9-5er, or if you are trying to live off your craft, you deserve to be paid for your skill just as much as an accountant or a grease monkey. If you fix exotic cars, you fix exotic cars and you are paid well for it. If your skill is limited to filling tires, you won’t get paid as much for it, but you might take the job to learn more from the right people. And you are paid accordingly. If you have actual skill in something, take the time to educate yourself on how to market your wares appropriately and try to educate people (like Somer did in these posts) as best you can. Filling the world with beauty is not the easy route to take, but it is by far the most worthwhile!

    • theresa says:

      standing ovation Andrea! I think I could relate to your response the most. I trade, buy from thrift stores and love it. It works for our family and now my grown children shop thrift before they go to a big box store.

      Somer, I was directed to your first post by way of FB and am so glad that i was. I thought both posts were well written and very informative. I will say that I am glad that the response from this post has been more positive. I mean as artists, and the majority of responders women, if we can’t stand up for one another and hold each other up, who will? Even though the computer gives you more courage to speak your mind, have you forgotten that if you don’t have something nice to say than don’t say anything at all? (it’s worth visiting) Constructive criticism is one thing and just being mean without thought of someone else is another.
      When I have had total strangers be rude to me or just outright mean, I have to consider how much it would suck to be them. Sorry but if my lifes work is to be a horrible person than I have wasted what short time I have here.
      Somer, I am so glad that your hat sold, you deserve the recognition for a work of art that one can wear, that has become my favorite kind of art, since our budget is tight if something can serve a dual purpose than I am a happy girl!
      Thank you for an intelligent look at art shows, pricing, and perspective.
      p.s…. the boots are fabulous!
      t.xoxo

  123. Excellent, eloquent piece. Thank you!

  124. Janet Rosen says:

    THANK YOU both for the original piece and this follow up. You have said it so well there isn’t really anything else for this painter/seamstress to add….

  125. Beverly Sams says:

    Very succinctly said! And, btw, those Fluevog shoes are AMAZING! You are exactly right in the premise that the value is in the perception….I’ll buy a six pack of Hanes Her Way undies and spend hundreds on paints and brushes. It’s my thang…

  126. wendy says:

    stained glass is my craft and the last project paid me about .50 and hour, why? Because of cheap imports, can’t compete and I too create one of a kind free style art. Some appreciate it some do not.

  127. I. love. fluevogs. I’m on my first pair but the fever has caught. those shoes literally took my breath away!

    as a spinner of yarn, I say HELL YEAH, MAMAGURL. take it in stride. striding away in a sweet pair of beautifully made boots, that is.

  128. Janis says:

    Found this via CrochetMe — this whole topic is why I do not sell any of the items I make. I make them as gifts or just for myself. It’s boggling to make an enormous lace shawl that takes the better part of a year and have someone (thinking they’re getting a “bargain” or worse yet, being generous) ask me if I’ll make one for them, and then offer something preposterous like $40, as if they are doing me a favor.

    I usually just say, “I don’t really have the time, it’s awfully time-consuming to do this, but there’s some great books about lace knitting out there … ” Upon which point, they generally lose interest.

    I never say what I want to say which is, “Honey, remember the last Merchant Ivory movie about the rich English aristocrats and their servants that you loved so much with all the great hats and the suave dudes? There’s a reason why the lace shawl was on the duchess’s back and not the scullery maid’s. And you’re a lot closer to a scullery maid than a duchess.”

    If that doesn’t work, then I tell them what the hourly rate is. If they tell me that at least I’m making money, I tell them what I do for a living and how much I make a year. That stops the conversation.

  129. LOVE IT! You charge what you think you should charge. It is your work and your decision. I loved your posts.

  130. I too am an artist, a painter. It amazes me that the people who seem the most reluctant to pay the asking price for one of my pieces of artwork are those with the most money. Seriously. Folks with the brand new big buck car will scoff at my prices, clearly and loudly, then head off to drop well over a hundred dollars on an expensive meal with plenty of libations to drown out their happy rich life, all of which will be deposited in the toilet in a few hours (why do you have to drown it out if life is so good, is what I wonder, but I guess paying $10 a drink gives one the sense of having made it). I very rarely, if ever, have someone that I KNOW is on a tight budget try to bargain on my prices. There is some strange thing going on where the wealthy don’t feel they should have to pay as much and the less well off have a much greater appreciation for value. Strange, very strange.

  131. Danielle St. John says:

    Thank you for posting all this. I had never heard of Fluevog before. Those shoes are *ridiculously* awesome. But beyond a shared love for shoes, I, too, appreciate the cost of hand crafting. I’ve done some period costume work (mostly for my own closet rather than to sell) and it gave me a much greater appreciation for the price of buying such things pre-fabricated. A Victorian bustle-style gown I made over this past summer cost me in the neighborhood of $300-$400 in material alone, and if I were to take into account the long hours that went into putting it together, as well as the hand-embroidered design I worked onto the bodice, it would probably be more in the neighborhood of $1000. At least. And then a friend was all “can I borrow that for Halloween?” … No murder was committed, but it was certainly considered.

  132. Emily says:

    Really great post. I’ve read some of the comments on both sites. I’m a kind of artist–I’m a writer–and if you’re not paid professional rates, you’re not paid much (’cause professional rates aren’t all that high).

    But the one thing you hit on that I think is so important is that you aren’t a hatmaker. Possibly, you aren’t an artisan (depending on the definition). What you are, obviously, is an artist. You’re not selling a hat. You’re selling a piece of art in hat form.

    From that perpective, absolutely nothing has changed about the way the world works. Very few people in the Middle Ages bought art. Of any kind. Except the rich. They did, though, acquire hats. If she’d been making “art” hats then, she wouldn’t have been making them for the “walmart” medieval crowd then either.

    It’s a hat, it’s functional and wearable (which is cool), but it is art. And art has never been a profitable business for 90-99% of the artists. For some it is livable, but even that’s not a majority. (Hey, look, another we are the 99%!)

  133. Amy says:

    Great Follow up!

  134. Racaire says:

    Thank you very much for your posting – soooo true! *sigh*
    …and I have not doubt that your pretty hat is already sold πŸ™‚

  135. Kristen says:

    I really enjoyed this post and the one that spawned it. Thanks! I’ll share on facebook.

  136. Dave says:

    Brava, Somer!

    I have shared this (and the OTHER) post on my facebook page. I am a crafter, too, and the experience is universal. Its a shame that it had to happen your first time.
    As artists and craftsmen (sorry, just too old to be PC) we all put a little bit of our soul into our work. Those get it support us. Those who don’t get it, well, I don’t think they ever will.

    Thanks for this post , your feelings are far from unique, and we artisans need that kind of voice.

    Best to you!

    PS. Do you do men’s hats?

  137. Pat says:

    FINALLY someone explains pricing in a way that will make sense to everyone. Mind if I use it to explain my pricing to my mother-in-law? She just doesn’t get it.

  138. Super Somer,

    What great fun to read you!

    The world currently has billions of people at all income levels.
    You can try to hit all those income levels or choose one of them
    with the types of products you offer.
    I try to hit all by having $3.00 cards all the way up to $3,000.00 originals,
    so everyone has a chance to experience my luminous creations.
    I also make small originals for around $38 so even an original can be had at
    an affordable price.

    Focus on the wonderful people who are praying for your art, who
    appreciate paying for it, take effective action, and you will find them.
    πŸ˜€

    You can also offer a payment plan to help someone pay for your art.
    You can set up a subscription payment plan with Paypal.

    Just one of many fantastic sites to help with art business and pricing and more is: http://mariabrophy.com/
    I am not her affiliate.
    Read one article a day (or a week or a month), and do something in response.
    I think it would be almost impossible to not see business improve if you did so.

    It is really important for us as artists to all work together to set prices in a certain way.
    The more people that sell things that they worked on for days and days and end up making
    $1.00 an hour on, the more people will expect to pay that. It is that simple.
    We have to collectively train the buying public.

    The rude ones will still be there, but I think there will be less.

    I am happy to hear you sold the hat. I think you could have gotten $300 for it! πŸ˜€

    Have an excellent day!
    πŸ™‚

  139. Nancy says:

    What a great post! People just have no idea how much effort and love goes into a handmade piece. Off to share on FAcebook. Thanks for posting.

  140. Tracey says:

    That hat was fantastic!! I wish I could afford such a hat. Wonderful.

  141. Katy says:

    I think the rude lady deserves a “thank you”. She is a reminder of why you DON’T compromise your integrity by pandering the barging through devaluation seekers.

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  147. Holly Flick says:

    I must offer my thanks to crafters, artisans and artists like yourself!!!

    I recently started sharing a vendor booth with a good friend of mine. She’s very talented indeed and her line of “Re-Purposed Art” is terrific. BUT – upon seeing some of my craft works, she really got into her ideas of how to calculate prices for crafts. The items in question are my Ukrainian-style Decorated/Easter Eggs.

    In this case, the equipment and materials are not overwhelmingly expensive – but my time – yes the time it takes to design & execute the design – is where we disagree. Her theory is that, basically, a crafter shouldn’t expect to charge for their time in a case such as this. No matter the FACT that even a simple design will take, a minimum, half an hour to apply to the eggshell, followed by the time in the dye-bath! Any design with more than one color is going to take around 2 to 3 hours and I don’t feel any artist should be required to cheat or demean themselves when it comes to pricing. I agree that none of us should go over-the-top regarding our prices, but shouldn’t our prices be a better reflection of the value of our skills as well as the costs of production?

    I could really use a bit of feed-back, as I make these eggs in different sizes from small Chicken Eggs up to (occasionally) Ostrich Eggs. Please feel free to e-mail me with any help you would wish to share – I really could use another creative person’s perspective right about now!

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  152. Kim Forman says:

    Beautifully stated. I love your designer shoe analogy. It really drove home the point about perceived value.

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  156. Michelle C. James says:

    I applaud your words and the sentiment of your message. I quilt and sew and most of what I make I give away for gifts. I’ve been asked if I would make “this or that” and “what would I charge?” I never have an answer because I know that I would undervalue my work and people would look at me like I was crazy if I asked for what it truly costs. I appreciate the love, creativity and work that go into handmade items and wish others could understand, rather than make rude comments to the artists.

  157. Ryan says:

    First, thank you for writing this. I have said the same things numerous times in my life. I’m not even an artist. When I see art I don’t put a “price tag” on it. I simply see if it is something I want, and then I see if it is within the range of what I value it at. Unfortunately most of the stuff I like is not. Your hat would make a great gift for someone I know. Unfortunately, again, it is outside of the price I would place it. That price is about $280. I have, at several times in my life, “overpaid” for “art” because I valued it more than the “price tag.” This is because I know the most important thing about art. It is life. And life is precious. Okay, it is a recreation of life, but still, that makes it precious too.
    If ever I found myself with a more disposable income I would probably have a much greater collection of art than I do. I will keep you in mind just in case. Take care and good luck. <3

  158. kerry says:

    I adore both this and the original post. You really hit the nail on the head! It seems like every show I do lately produces at least one person who feels the need to be rude. I just love how you captured the entire experience from THIS side of the table. πŸ™‚

  159. Lorri Honstein says:

    I realize this was written years ago but I am just seeing it for the first time. Love your original article and follow up article. It really explains what you were thinking and puts things in perspective (i.e. walmart vs handmade). I looked up the red towers of death because I’d never heard of them (indeed!!) I make felted wool purses with pockets. those take A LOT of yarn. πŸ™‚ have a great day

  160. Rudy says:

    Congrats on selling the hat!

  161. JMS69 says:

    I have been asked many times why I do not do craft/fiber shows as a maker of spinning wheels.

    Many of the points you have made about the pricing of handmade is very true. In my previous job, I estimated printing for customers with many asking “Why is that so high?”

    The easy answer is, you have a lease, utility bills, workman’s comp insurance, supplies, and let us not forget-and folks want a paycheck.

    The spinning wheels I make are on the lower end of the market, all made to order. Thanks to the estimating gig, I have a real understanding of the time/labor/material/economy of volume angles so I am not paying myself $2 an hour to make them, even at a reasonable price for an item of its type.

    Hang in there

  162. shelia says:

    I just came across this post and comments; as an art quilter I despair at times and actually think of just quitting as I did the Math on a piece and found that the cost of making it was at .20 cents an hour (according to what I am offered), so when someone says put it on etsy or enter it in a show ( being charged a fee) I would have to pay for such a venue out of pocket. Paying a commission at an art gallery? eek
    I can’t even consider a booth at a fair.

    But I am obsessed with my stitching and I am not alone. No one but the hand workers realize the true cost

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  1. […] 9:22 a.m.: Due to the surprising, overwhelming response to this post, I’ve expanded on it here.Β Thank you to everyone who has commented so far! What a discussion! Lots and lots to think […]

  2. […] of you may remember this post, wherein I profess my undying love for the designs of one Mr. John Fluevog. Well, friends and total […]

  3. […] The True Cost of Handmade by Somer Sherwood (a great read plus the follow up post) […]



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