The added value in handmade

Jennifer Burk

Jennifer Burk

During my time trying to sell my knitted items online and at markets, I've had people say to me so many times, "Oh, but I could just get a jumper from Glassons for $30? Why would I pay $100 for yours?"

It's one of those phrases that I've always laughed off, and just decided that perhaps these people were never my target market anyway, but the more I hear it, and the more I see the owners of small businesses who create their own stock suffer, the more I feel the need to address it.

Let's start by thinking of the lifecycle of a cardi on the racks of a large chain store. It potentially was created by a machine, offshore, packaged up alongside hundreds of the exact same cardi, shipped to the store, and then placed on the rack for you and hundreds of other people to buy. 

Now, let's think of the lifecycle of a cardi handmade by a small business. The creator had an idea in mind for a cardi design they wanted to create. They sourced the yarn to make the cardi with and ordered it, potentially needing to wait some time for it to be delivered. They then sat down and created the cardi by hand. This may have taken them a few hours, or it may have even taken several weeks. They spent their time creating the cardi you like the look of but can't justify spending the extra money on.

I think that's something people forget when it comes to buying handmade items. It's not only the cost of the materials that the creator users, they're actually devoting a lot of time into creating their items. And their items are generally of a much higher calibre than what you may find at a chain store. If you truly put the cost of their time into the mix, you may be looking at a $1000-plus cardi. 

It's one of those ways of thinking that may not come naturally to everyone, but please don't think that small businesses are trying to bleed you dry for. I promise you they're worth every penny they're asking for.

Lara Wyatt