Hey if nobody reads this it’s also OK – because it’s a tad long, but just something I wanted to get across, in the hopes that my article might help to educate/change people’s perception in general before hurling insults at Traders.
Ok, so this doesn’t only apply to us but to every hardworking Crafter or Trader out there, who spends countless hours working their butts off to make a living.
There are generally more Joys than Pitfalls, the chance to meet great new people –whether customers or other Traders, many great new friendships have been forged from these markets. The chance to showcase your special crafts or products which you are obviously passionate about or you wouldn’t be trading!
There is also always a downside! – this can be said about life in general but this is now obviously aimed at us Traders, we are like Carnies….we are a special breed and most of us stick together and look out for one another.
A lot of people have the perception that Handmade/Homemade is somehow inferior – yes obviously there are unscrupulous Traders out there but these are few and far between and generally most Traders have ethics – and from the growing amount of markets around its pretty obvious that people enjoy the experience of being able to have a day out wandering around, browsing for different things to buy and a variety of great eats and drinks, maybe listen to some live music.
You do however get the odd person who clearly is having a bad day or is just plain old mean and feels the need to make nasty or hurtful comments right in front of you – when did people lose all manner of decorum, or is this just the society we are living in and its ok to accept or encourage bad behaviour.
These are some of the comments heard:
How do you even respond to this in a couple of sentences….it’s impossible, how do you begin to explain the intricacies of how your products are priced and why you charge what you do – or actually why should you have to justify anything!
This is our job, our source of income, we don’t have a boss, we are the bosses, we don’t keep regular hours but work through weekends, holidays and ungodly hours into the middle of the night when necessary to get a job done. We have bills to pay the same as you. If you have a regular monthly paid job, whether you slack off or take time off, you still get your salary.
People need to understand we don’t trade at Markets for free, WE HAVE TO PAY TO TRADE. We don’t have the buying capacity or power of huge corporations and are not able to get the raw materials or supplies needed for the same costs as them. We all, however, do try to provide a personal service which chain stores don’t
Remember you are doing this as a hobby, we are making a living out of this, you don’t have to lay out a lot of capital making sure you have the resources to be able to do your craft on a permanent basis or having to keep enough stock to be able to offer you a variety of goods at all times. We do try to secure good prices for our blanks/fabric so we can pass on better prices to you.
People, in general, do not understand the amount of time that goes into making something from scratch, whether it’s a craft or a food item. Time is our most precious commodity!
Just as an example: for us to create a custom garment from scratch, we need to design and then create a pattern, purchase the fabric, cut out the fabric, sew the fabric, then prewash, apply a fixative before we dye, spin it out, tie the item up into whatever various design you want. Then apply the dye, wait for the item to be cured, then the long process of washing and drying and ironing, labeling the garment……this can take up to 4 days for one item, depending on the intricacies of what we are doing! So if we have to charge for all that time we probably wouldn’t be in business – we try to work our costings our fairly.
You also get those – I PAID/CAN PAY R… X FOR THE SAME ITEM AT XXXXX……well it’s not really the same item is it, every single Trader has their own unique range of items – it’s unfair to try to blackmail us into dropping our prices to suit your budget, you are paying for our time, effort and expertise.
Every single Trader has their own pricing structure, you simply cannot compare likeminded businesses! If we have to keep dropping our prices then we might as well not be in business, the cost of living affects us the same
Every single one of us Traders also remember the insults and rude comments and as much as we say we do not care at the end of the day these can be really hurtful and it totally gets under your skin and this results in self-doubt – Are my prices too high? Am I overestimating my worth? – Well, it’s been a slow process but we have slowly learned not to UNDERVALUATE ourselves!
And that’s me out!!!!!! (If you took the time to read this and enjoyed it please feel free to share) – have a great day!
Cheryl Gundert