Why Is Handmade So Expensive?!
As I prepare to launch my new line of floral pottery, I feel overwhelmed with insecurity and nerves! Contrary to what you may be thinking, this isn’t because I don’t believe in the product I’ve created, but rather because of that dirty word “money”. This new line of pottery will be a fairly big jump in pricing compared to my previous work, and I can’t help but fear that my customers will think I’m trying to take advantage of them. Which makes me resolve to help my followers understand a little snippet of what goes into the pricing of one of my handmade pieces of pottery.
Handmade is SLOWWW: By definition, handmade is literally just that, made by the hands of the maker (or in my case potter). My pieces are thrown on the wheel, dried, put back on the wheel to trim, then dried some more. At the same time attachments or appliqués are created and set aside to stiffen. Then all the parts are brought together, an arrangement is thoughtfully designed, the arrangement is then taken apart, only to be put back together using “slip” (pottery glue) to make everything permanent. Believe it or not, that’s not even one-quarter of the entire process…we could be here all day. The point of this is to say that while a machine can crank out hundreds of units per hour, an individual can only make a finite quantity or fraction of the number of pieces in the same amount of time- and time is valuable!
Technique & Training: This one is pretty easy to explain… as a potter, I have spent years honing my practices- and it’s always an ongoing process! I’ve learned how to successfully make pottery, performed endless tests, worked and re-worked designs, researched materials and techniques, learned to use equipment, and so on. Without this interminable pursuit of education, my handmade product couldn’t exist.
A Living Wage: In most parts of the US, the minimum wage is somewhere between eight and nine dollars. From my perspective, minimum wage is paid for entry level, unskilled labor. I don’t feel like that describes the work I do. If fact, if I can take a moment to brag, I often have other makers express admiration and praise at the level of skill and technique in my work. So I do try to pay myself an honest wage for the time and skill employed in the creation of my pieces.
"Time is valuable..."
"Creating is a joyous process..."
Having said all of this, I’ll finish by saying that creating is a joyous process- whatever your medium! Over the making journey, I come to know each of my pieces intimately, and I grow to treasure each one. While sometimes it can be difficult to see a piece leave my hands, some of my most gratifying daydreams are to imagine my creations being used and treasured by all of you. So thank you for valuing the work I do enough to want it to become apart of your home and daily lives.
Maker, Designer, Marketing Representative Website Designer, Photographer, Customer Service Representative, Design Consultant, Shipping Clerk, Janitor, Supply Chain Manager, Accountant, Inventory Manager, Human Resources Representative, and Equipment Technician