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Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Handmade Nation & Perceived Value

I just checked out the book Handmade Nation by Faythe Levine & Courtney Heimerl from the library this weekend. It was an easy read as I had it read in one sitting plus interruptions. It is for the most part a history or the handmade uprising in this country (USA). I caught my attention at the library because I enjoy making things for myself and family. I hope someday that people will notice the things I make and be interested in purchasing them, but I don't know if that will ever happen. I was also interested in the book because handmade seems to be everywhere in the blogs I run across. More importantly thought it interests me because when I look at handmade items, I think why should I pay that much, "I can make that myself". I think I'd be more likely to take the handmade pledge if prices weren't so high. Here is an example of the thought process I have when I look at something handmade. I saw these really cute flip flops decorated with ribbon and lady bugs. I love lady bugs and thought they'd be cute for my daughter who has everything lady bug. They were selling for $25. The base was an old navy girls flip flop $3.50 regular price. 4 different ribbons used $1/spool =$4. 2 Wooden Ladybugs (guessing $0.50, I wouldn't pay more than that). Total cost $8, with ribbon left over for other projects. I have no idea how long it took that lady but it would only take me about 1/2 hour. In which case her hourly rate is $34/hour and even if it took her 1 hour she still made $17/hour. That seems like a lot to me in this economy where lots of us are struggling! What incentive do I have to buy from someone else when I can make it myself for way cheaper? That price didn't even include the cost of shipping and handling. This brings me to the next thing that annoys me! "Perceived Value"! When in the world did people start thinking that if something costs more it must be better? Whoever pulled the wool over on us as a country and started us thinking that way did a good job. No wonder inflation keeps going up, there's no reason to bring prices back down if everyone thinks that things that cost more are of better quality. Now even if I have a high quality product and am trying to help out folks who can't afford more by keeping my prices low, I'm at risk of not selling because of the "perceived value"! I think we really need to work to change this mindset in our country. Then maybe all us homemakers making handmade items for a little extra cash can afford the handmade items of the other homemakers out there. Think about it! Ignore "perceived value" try things out and decide for yourself!

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