Down to Business

Buying Handmade

Occasionally, I'll hear a customer tell their companion that my shoes are too expensive, that $25 is way too much for a pair of baby kicks and they should go to the store instead. I understand not having enough income to afford that price, it's why I cycle my shoes through a sale bin for a lesser price, helping out those who can only pay $15 or less, the amount they'd spend at a conventional store.

However, a lot of the time, the people that say that my items are too expensive are simply people who don't understand what goes into making a pair of shoes, or maybe they don't understand they are handmade.

Here's a picture of all of the very small pieces of fabric that must be cut out to create a single pair of shoes:

That's twenty four pieces of fabric for a single pair of shoes, and each pair takes a few hours to make!

Here's the finished pair:

I'll sometimes catch myself thinking that something is way too expensive at a market. When I find myself asking whether or not something is overpriced, I ask myself a very simple question:

Is this item being consigned or am I buying from the artist directly?

If I am buying from the artist directly, as a fellow artist I trust they are pouring their everything into their work. If it is being consigned, I will oftentimes look for the name of the artist and followup with their work online or learn where I can buy directly from them. It's not that I don't support local consignment shops, I buy many items from them, it's that when an item is handmade, all of the money should go directly to the creator. It's what I believe. I don't think they should have to only cat a 40%-60% cut of their money and spend hours working on something to come away with loose change.

The next time you find yourself wondering whether or not something is too much money, ask yourself:

Is it handmade?

Is it consigned?

Do I love it?

You'll generally have your answer from there. Support local artists when you can! We create our own working conditions, and we make things we love making.