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January 8, 2011 / Gillian

To Etsy, or Not To Etsy?

I’ve always gotten the feeling that doing things for money kind of ruins them.  The things, I mean.  It’s not that I don’t like money.  I do.  I like money a lot.  It buys me yarn and stuff.

Lately multiple people have mentioned to me that I should start an Etsy shop.  I probably should.  It’s not like the upkeep is that much.  It’s basically pictures on the internet of stuff that I’ve made or yarn that I’ve dyed.  Honestly I have no idea what I’m so worried about.  It’s not like I’m going to be instantly flooded with requests for my stuff…

Today a friend told me that a friend of hers would like to commission me to make a baby thing that I made for my friend.  It was a baby snuggle sack that looks like a pea pod.  Admittedly, it’s pretty freaking cute.  So now I need to contact this person who is interested in my work and find out what they’re looking for in regards to fiber and then try to determine what to charge them.  That’s really the rub.  When you’re looking at selling your handmade wares how do you determine a fair price?  You can’t reasonably charge even minimum wage for the time you spend making it, at least certainly not in the case of most knitted items.  Obviously your customer should cover the cost of supplies and then pay you some set price for your hard work, but what’s enough?  And how much is too much?  It seems like it all comes to a very uncomfortable sliding scale in which I feel as though I have too much god-like power.

Last month I got a similar friend-of-a-friend commission for a child’s poncho.  I asked and received what I’m sure was a very fair $25.  To be honest, I should have charged more…but it was exciting that someone gave me money for something I made.

Just last week a friend saw something I made for another friend and he asked whether I could make a similar thing for a girl he likes.  He would – of course – pay me.  I don’t know if I want to make the thing though.  The original piece only took me three days but it involved knitting three colors at once, which is no small feat.

Ugh.  I don’t want to think about this anymore.

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