Giving it away…

I know ’tis the season of giving, but I want to have a chat with you about this…Yes, you…Because this isn’t about making gifts etc, this is really about how so often we just “give it away.”

Women tend to be the worst about giving “it” away, whether “it” is their time, talents, patience, caring…After look at all the somewhat traditionally female job roles those that involve creative nurturing (nursing, teaching, seamstress work, childcare, elder care) almost all of these kinds of jobs are low paid, certainly lower paid than the traditionally male job roles.

So, let’s look at our making things and designing things…I have been to so many bazaars where crocheters have made BEAUTIFUL things and had them priced at dime store discount prices, often the price didn’t even cover their materials, let alone their time. And the plethora of free patterns on the web, I’m not talking about the simple scarf, or the basic hat, I’m talking about dresses, and skirts, and large table cloths, and baby sets with intricate color work or stitch patterns….Why are these free patterns?

My friends when you sell below the value, you cheapen it for everyone, especially yourself. In fact you are sending the message, “It doesn’t matter to me, it’s just something I do, why should I get paid?” It is NOT greedy to want compensation, everyone deserves compensation. It is greedy to charge a billion dollars for a pattern, but it’s not greedy to charge $7, why? Because the base cost of printing, then mailing, not to mention the design time, graphing, charting, frogging, testing, and marketing….Giving all of that away? For why? For what reason? You are not a bad person for wanting to make something in return for your talents and time…

Why? Because it does matter, you matter, I matter, the designers matter, the yarn companies matter, the publishers matter, we’re all in this mess together, and if we get into this get it cheap or free mode, we do what we fear most, hit rock bottom financially.

This whole drive to be known, or published and get out there for FREE is driving down the economics for all of us. In fact, here’s a grand REAL LIFE example.

Right now Time Magazine is soliciting photographs from people on Flicker and stating that they can’t pay the photographers for their photos that they want to use in their Year End issue….Excuse me? Time/Warner can’t afford to pay for photos? Give me a break, of course they can, but some people will fall for it and submit just so they can be in Time Magazine…They are just get credit and retention of their copyright…Hell I did better than that giving contributors copies of the book they submitted to and I’m doing this out of my personal bank account, I have not been listed as one of the 50 biggest companies in the W H O L E F R E A K I N world. (For more on this subject check out Bec Thomas’s Blog .)

Ok, so how does photography fit into what I am saying for we who crochet? Because it’s the same dang difference. Folks if we all work together to support each other at a fair level of compensation, not Oil Company CEO style, but more like Farmer’s Market style, then we’re ALL better off…Cause here’s the real deal, we’ll lose the great designers who do sell their patterns, if people choose to go the freebee route and not purchase the patterns…And if you do make great patterns charge SOMETHING for them, anything is better than free…

And for those of you who make items for sale, charge something that gives you a profit! And if you make gifts for people don’t give them to people who are snarky about it, just make things for people who appreciate the gifts!

Why? Self Esteem people…What we do is a SKILL, do you here me!???? A skill is something that takes time, practice and talent to achieve, it’s not just something you’re born with, and that skill has value….

As long as we give it away, who’s going to value it?

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3 responses to “Giving it away…

  1. Wow! Thanks Laurie for this timely reminder.

    As someone who has tried a number of times to sell items I make I really know the truth of this. Pricing those items is always a challenge, and the comments from potential buyers at the various fairs taught me that I couldn’t sell my items for a price that would allow me to make them. A truly sad state of affairs.

  2. I am in the process of figuring out how to go from offering free to paid. My major obstacle is not having a credit card, as I do have and etsy account, however I need a credit card to get into the business end.

    Thank you for the thought.

    Cora

  3. Love love love this post! I want to start selling my crocheted items but haven’t set things up to do so yet. I posted only one pattern for free but that’s the only one. Giving things away is a hard habit to break.

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