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,” 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 you 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? Who would do that?
And by the way? That $150 hat? It sold.