Handmade Products aren’t Cheap, Here’s Why

I know some people may look at a beautiful handmade wreath or a piece of jewelry on Etsy, and wonder about the price or why prices vary so much from shop to shop.

If you are in the handmade business, it’s not very often that customers are going to flat out ask you why you charge the way you do, except for maybe the odd person at a craft show. And you may find that those people generally don’t care what your explanation is for your pricing or process, usually they’re just low key accusing you of over-charging and making things super awkward before they mutter something about making it themselves and walk away.

But when you look at a completed sign, or a craft of any sort, you see the finished project, not the time and energy that went into making it, or the cost & quality of the supplies, the difficulty there might be in obtaining the supplies, etc, and it truly is hard to see the value behind it. Only the maker or artist truly knows what goes into their work and what’s behind the dollar sign.

There have been many pieces of art that I have adored that have been out of my budget too, so trust me, I get it. I would be the person at the craft show admiring and complimenting your work and walking away sadly if I couldn’t afford it. That beautiful reclaimed wood table I’m ogling won’t be looking so great if I can’t afford to put food on it this week.

I’m sharing the attached felt flower tutorial that is time lapsed, just to give you an idea of how much work goes into ONE felt flower. ONE. Even in a time lapse, (where it completely skips the steps where she has to cut all those millions of petals btw) it’s still taking her forevvvvver to make, not to mention deterring me from ever wanting to make that style of flower or continuing to watch the video.

I don’t make the type of flower shown in the tutorial, but even the simple ones that I create still take a ridiculous amount of time. I don’t use a die cutting machine, I AM the cutting machine here, so everything is cut by hand and glued together piece by piece.

They are a labor of love, a love that I’ve thought about ending many times over how tedious they can be. But damn, they just make the signs look so much prettier sometimes, don’t you think?

When I started using felt and burlap flowers in 2013, I bought them from a friend who made them because I had no clue that I could attempt to make them myself and I also did not understand the time that went into each one. Bless her heart for charging me so little for her adorable flowers!

I loved the look of them and thought they added something unique to the signs, and this was way before I actually knew how to use Instagram or had a clue what other makers were doing with felt flowers over in the US. Turns out that they were doing some next level stuff in the states, but the felt flowers on signs were unique around here at the time.

The round signs I make with over 20 felt flowers on them that cost $80CDN? Welp, for anyone who has ever wondered why, just take a little glimpse at the attached tutorial to get an idea of the time that goes into a flower. Be forewarned though, you may want to tear your own eyeballs out after only 20 seconds of video footage.

This doesn’t factor in the cost of the board itself, which is a gorgeous and thick piece of wood that has smooth curved edges and is actually intended to be used as a tabletop, so it’s nicer quality than if we were cutting our own rounds. The rounds themselves cost about $15.

I buy all my felt online, so it’s costlier than going to Michael’s but the felt I use is a wood blend and is higher quality, easier to work with, and comes in more variety in terms of colors.

We hand sand the rounds, stain or paint the base, create a design on a software program similar to photoshop and then cut a stencil, paint the stencil on, clear coat, make all the flowers, glue them on, add hardware, and voila! Sounds easy when I sum it up like that, but it’s definitely hours and hours and hours and hours of work, not to mention tools and materials.

Add in a hand-cut shape like the unicorn or mermaid, and that tacks on even more time that my husband spends on the scroll saw, afterwards sanding all the tiny grooves and edges by hand. Then I take the shape and paint or stain it, glitter it up, seal it and glue it on the sign.

To be honest, I could charge $150 for these signs and I might feel like our time and supplies were being compensated, but I definitely wouldn’t sell any at that price, or feel right about selling them at that price, so there has to be a happy medium. I absolutely LOVE creating and coming up with my own ideas, and I want to be valuable and as unique as possible but not completely out of reach. That’s my personal approach, but everyone is different, and each artist has their own guidelines for pricing. Sometimes it’s hard to put a price tag on creativity and originality.

I know that many customers appreciate the time and effort that goes into handmade and (budget permitting ) will pay for a unique or personalized product that they won’t find in stores or on Pinterest, but this is just a bit of insight for those who are genuinely wondering what is factored in when it comes to the pricing of my handmade products. I hope it’s been helpful if you’re a customer or relatable if you’re a maker.

If I could do a timelapse video of the entire process for one sign, (or even one small $5 magnet), it would probably bore you to tears but also give you a greater idea of how much effort is involved. But ain’t nobody got time for making videos when I have a boat load of felt flowers to make! So I’mma go do that instead. See you in 400 years from now. 😉

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31 Reasons Moms are Late

 

Dear Mr Principal of my child’s school
Re: Chronic Lateness

As per your request I am confirming receipt of your letter in regards to being late 30 times this school year. Thank you so much for pointing this out, I hadn’t actually noticed that we have been late nearly every day; this is absolutely brand new information!

I’d like to apologize for our tardiness and offer 30 reasons why we have not made it to school by 9am this school year. (Make that 31 since tomorrow will be another inevitable sh!t show).
1. 2. 3. 4. 5 This accounts for many days of lateness, but robbers keep breaking into our house at night and stealing our hats, gloves, and shoes. They only seem to steal one piece to each set, so they’re obviously working for some next level covert operation that we don’t even know about. We have contacted the police and we are hopeful that they can locate the mysterious disappearance of our cold weather gear, but in the meantime, we are sleeping with one eye open.

6. Did you know that car seats are infested with sharks? I didn’t either. But based on the force with which my screaming toddlers refuse to be strapped into their car seats in the morning, I’ve concluded two things: 1) car seats have shark teeth that gnash at children’s bottoms upon being seated 2) Making your body as stiff as a board for as long as possible while screaming uncontrollably is the best way to avoid being put into a car seat, and causes optimal stress levels to your car seat assailant.

7. My child decided he needed a shower at 8:55 am because he “had to go poop and the toilet paper wasn’t working right.”

8. 9. The dog snuck off in the night and hid a poop in the shag rug. What a fun game! The toddlers discovered said poop in the morning and decided it would be fun to play in it and eat it. This accounts for 2 days of lateness because only in my household can we be blessed with this wonderful ordeal occurring multiple times.

10. “Get dressed for school” translated to a child is “do something completely irrelevant that wastes 15 minutes and do NOT get ready for school.”

11. Peanut butter breakfast fight. Aka I’ve lost my will to live.

12. “Why is your brother bleeding?” and “stop eating dirt” are apparently just things I say in my house now. Cue the bath and band-aids.

13. It was 8:57 am and I’d been informed that the dog peed on my son’s winter coat. The replacement coat offered was not sufficient for the child as per his screaming refusal to wear it for 16 minutes straight.

14. 15. PARKING ENFORCEMENT was being all enforcey about not parking or stopping anywhere in the vicinity of the school or the planet earth. I decided that I wasn’t going to park 5 miles away only to wrestle toddlers into their stroller (see #6 re: shark teeth car seats and appendix b: getting them into strollers takes 40 minutes ). I opted instead to drive around the block until they vacated the premises.
Still received a $75 parking ticket in the mail a week later.

16. 17. 18. 19. Oh hey mom, we’re in the car now and I thought this was a good time to let you know that it’s wear red day, or donate something day, or show and tell day, or I need to bring money for something and now we’re going to have to go to the bank before school day.

20. 21. I laid in bed a little too long in the morning imagining I was drinking a pina colada on a beach in Mexico by myself, with the hot sun burning on my skin and hearing nothing but the sound of the waves and…….
“MOM”
“mommm”
“MOMMMMMMMMMMMMMMM!!!!”
Nevermind, my alarm clock went off.

22. 23. That time I walked into the twins room and found a war scene of explosive diarrhea. That time happened twice.

24. 25. I ran a marathon before school. And by marathon, I mean I chased toddlers in circles for 40 minutes trying to put on their socks, jackets and hats. It’s a great full body workout, and at the end, no one is wearing their socks, jackets or hats but you’re still breaking a serious sweat.

26. There was an argument with my child because I told him he could not in fact wear his underwear to school with a toothpaste stained Tshirt.

27. That day we made it to school on time and it was a PA day. No, it doesn’t fit into this list of reasons why we have been late but I thought you should know we were on time that day. Yas!

28. 29. There were no clean underwear or pants or socks. My job title should be laundry maid, and apparently I should be fired because even with the 8 million loads I do per week, there’s still never anything clean.

30. Sliding screen doors and naked MacGyver toddlers who escape sliding screen door lock mechanisms to go streaking in the back yard.

31. I don’t even know, this is just our life now.

In conclusion, I’d like to offer my apologies once again for our lateness and let you know that I’m being proactive about finding a solution as I am in the beginning stages of developing an app that allows you to send children to school using only your mind. I’m hoping it can also send me to that beach in Mexico where I have a Pina Colada waiting for me.

In 2018, we simplify

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I’m not usually one to make New Year’s resolutions because as corny as it sounds, I feel like every day is an opportunity for self improvement, not just when the calendar changes.

Plus I’m a rebel and I don’t always like to follow the crowd. Case and point, I haven’t downloaded Snapchat, I’ve never tried a pumpkin spiced anything, and I don’t understand what the heck Rae Dunn is. *waits for someone to throw a plain mug with plain writing at me.*

But a New Year and a clean slate really makes for a perfect opportunity to trim the fat, literally and figuratively.

I want to simplify my life so that I can get back to actually living it. I want to spend the time making memories with my kids, not worrying about getting the perfect picture of the moment, because the best and most real moments tend to be those we don’t capture on camera.

I want to focus on more real, face-to- face communication as opposed to digital communication, get back to real hobbies that I used to enjoy and live slightly more outside the social media box.

I took time during the holiday break to look at our life, think about what was working and wasn’t working at home and in my business, and decided that changes needed to be made to simplify things.

I started by purging my craft room, my basement, my closets, the toy room, and worked on ridding my life of excess STUFF as part of my simplifying plan. (yes, I donated for those who are wondering. I’m a frequent flyer at my local Value Village).

Clutter and my brain do not go well together, and I read a study that said there’s scientific proof that clutter can affect your well being by deterring you from focusing on important tasks, because you are distracted by the chaos and junk around you.

I didn’t need a study to tell me that my brain is wired that way, but it definitely helped validate it. Now if only it affected my husband and kids in the same manner, then maybe my house would resemble less of a tornado on any given day.

In addition to purging my home, I started to purge other areas of my life, including my Facebook account. As I started going through and unfollowing and unliking things that didn’t pertain to me, I realized that it would be easier to completely deactivate my page altogether.

Facebook has changed a lot since the days of writing on someone’s wall and eagerly awaiting for them to reply back on your wall, or being on the receiving end of the infamous poke. It has evolved in a lot of positive ways that allow us to communicate with people all over the world, stay informed on important news and social events, and generate income and sales through groups and pages, BUT it has also become completely overwhelming for me in many ways.

This isn’t even at the top of my list of reasons for deactivating but sometimes I think we get wrapped up in everyone’s highlight reels that we forget it isn’t always an indication of their everyday lives, and I know that my brain subconsciously compares other people’s lives to mine, even when I logically know there’s no need to compare.

I am not an insecure or jealous person by nature, but you really can’t help but sometimes feel inadequate or question your own life when you’re constantly watching how other people live theirs.

Why can’t we go on vacation every year like the Smiths? How do the Anderson’s take such perfectly posed pictures with their kids? Should I have put more presents under the tree like the Applebee family? How does Frieda seem to have her life put together, (and white furniture!) when she has more kids than me? Why did my friend share Heather’s craft page and not mine?

I will talk more about my Facebook hiatus in a separate post but overall as part of my 2018 plan, I felt the need to disconnect from it for awhile to clean out my own brain.

On a business perspective, I was feeling overwhelmed by the notifications coming from far too many angles- from my personal Facebook inbox, two Facebook business pages, several email accounts, Etsy messages, DM’s on two separate Instagram accounts, text messages and website messages.

I know messages were getting lost in the shuffle, organization was becoming difficult, and I would remember receiving a notification for a message, but had to search to figure out WHERE that message came from. And by the time I found it, there were kids who needed snacks, socks, a bandaid, a booger cleaned, a toy retrieved, a snuggle, a bath, etc, and I’d lose track again.

So I have scaled back and streamlined my business while trying to come up with a better system for everyone. I will discuss all of the changes to our business in a subsequent post, but overall it’s a learning curve and it’s hard to find balance with 3 small children and a husband who works 6 days a week; we are just doing our best to stay afloat most days, and to keep the kids fed, clothed and happy. Some days a shower is an accomplishment.

This year we are making the necessary changes to better ourselves and our lives, and most importantly, our children’s lives. 2017 was a challenging year for our family and we realized that change was necessary for everyone to have a happier, healthier home, so that is the main focus.

In addition to everything I mentioned about simplifying and focusing on my family, a couple other goals I’ve set for myself this year are to plan a family vacation this summer, lose 20lbs of stress weight or learn to be happy with 20lbs of stress weight lol, start blogging and singing again, and find more time for self care.

Did you set any goals for 2018?

The Blog is Born

This is the excerpt for your very first post.

And so begins another chapter in my business and life goals with the birth of  my new personal blog that aims to cover a variety of topics including mom life, beauty, reviews, food, crafts, fashion, decorating, diy, mental health, various issues I feel strongly about, and of course tons of tongue-in-cheek articles by yours truly.

This is isn’t my first time blogging or writing, so I’m not jumping on a band wagon per se, but rather trying to flex the old writing muscles that have been laying dormant over the years, save for my long winded Instagram captions and Facebook anecdotes. I’m rusty, so go easy on me.

My passion for writing dates back to elementary school when I did sports write ups for the Essex Free Press and wrote a script in 5th grade for a play that myself and my Program for Advanced Learners Club (aka Nerd Group) performed in a national contest in Colorado. I was published in small papers and won poetry contests at school, and I was sure that the only thing I wanted to do when I grew up was to write my heart out.

And boy did I write! I have diaries filled with personal thoughts and stories dating back to the age of 9. (They’re actually quite hilarious, and I plan to give you a little taste of those in a future segment.) I wrote raps (YES RAPS, I was really into Kris Kross okay? I even shaved my eyebrows attempting to imitate those badass slits they had in theirs. Side note it was a fail).

I wrote poems, my own music, how-to articles, and during college I had my own Fashion Do’s and Don’ts feature in Windsor Social magazine as part of my Journalism field placement. My goal was to eventually publish my own local magazine or write articles for a big fashion/beauty mag like Chatelaine or Glamour.

Journalism has changed over the years, and thanks to social media, YouTube and blogging, people can write and share the things they are passionate about and connect to a huge audience on the internet. In my day (yes, total old person terminology) we had to work hard to get something published in print, and we just hoped that a handful of people would get to read it.

I love that we can connect on such a large scale with people who share similar interests from all over the world. I love that because of Etsy, my wood art travels to homes all over the US and Canada. It’s very cool to be this connected, and I hope to form some new connections with my Blog. In fact, I want to share YOUR stories and anecdotes and YOUR creative work or businesses and talk about things that YOU love too! I see a lot of talent, passion, and interesting people and businesses on Instagram, and I want to feature and interview people who catch my eye or my heart. (Food is always a great way to my heart btw.)

Over-sharing and satire are my jam, and I plan to bring you plenty of both to this blog. If there is anything else I am passionate about, it’s laughter. I like laughing, laughter, making people laugh, comedy, memes, comedians and finding the funny in literally everything.

Thanks for following along, I hope you’ll stick around!