What’s It Worth To You?

What’s It Worth To You?

Lately, I’ve had a whole slew of folks telling me my product is “so much nicer than the one I saw at the big-box store, I’d certainly pay $10 more for this!”

This is flattering, but it is more than $10 more. Often they are disappointed.

digitally printed hemp electronic envelope
“Find” tablet envelope

But it’s progress. People are at least starting to be able to discern that there is a difference between handmade using quality products and the petroleum-based mass manufactured cheap stuff. We have so long wanted things for “free” that I think I should be glad they think it’s worth paying anything at all!

And then, the other day, I had the tables turned on me. I am so tired of hunting down any particular tool I need in my sewing space that I have finally sat down and sketched out a plan for a storage solution that makes sense for my space and will help me organize – and stay that way! (This may be a magic storage solution.  I’ll let you know.) A couple of years ago I was going into my space at the Chase Street Park Warehouses and there was a plumbing truck that was backed up to the loading dock, and I got a good peek inside. It was cleaner than my kitchen. There was a drawer for everything and everything was in its place. All wood and brass and gleaming and just beautiful. I got the name of the carpenter responsible for this bit of wonderful work and the other day I gave him a call.  I described what I wanted and he started telling me that he couldn’t make it for me because of the cost! And he never once asked me what I was willing to pay. He automatically assumed that his time was worth more than I thought. Surprised me a little, and made me a little sad. Because, really, at this point I am willing to pay probably what he would consider a lot to have exactly what I want.

I have to do better than this!
I have to do better than this!

How many wonderful artisans and craftspeople have given up making what they love, and at what they excel, because they are tired of defending their costs? Their time, expertise, tool investment. Classes they’ve taken. Prototypes made and tested out. Time spent planning, sketching, measuring, shopping for the right raw materials. This all counts! And if we don’t support it, it’s going to become impossible to get anything that doesn’t come out of the back of the UPS truck in a cardboard box.

I’m not exactly sure how to begin the conversation, but I’d like to call that young man back and somehow get to what he thinks would be a fair price for what I want. We may both be pleasantly surprised.

Back Door Friends

Back Door Friends

Come on in!
Come on in!

In the south, close friends and family always use the kitchen door to enter one’s house. The front door is reserved for those uppity neighbors, the preacher and his wife, and salesmen. In most of the houses of people I’ve known (well) in the south, the front door may not even really work from lack of use!

Lots goes on in that kitchen.  Meals are prepared, secrets shared, problems hammered out. Handwork is always handy for moments away from the stove. Sewing, knitting, knotting, one can get a lot done in the 15 minutes the food is simmering.

Creativity takes a lot of forms, and one of the basic tenets of creativity is that it is contagious.  Creativity tends to spark creativity; and the second tenet is that practicing creativity breeds more creativity.  (It’s like exercise in that the energy is renewed and amped up with repeated use.) Lately I’ve really enjoyed watching my daughter discover the joy of baking and how she takes such care arranging the food for maximum visual impact. She’s getting really good and more and more adventurous, and we are all enjoying  eating what she makes! And  the second “wave” is watching my son who is then inspired to take photos of these beautiful creations, and how much his work has improved with the practice. And the funny thing is that with all of the house within which to work, we are all huddled in the kitchen together where the energy seems to center. But in my history, we’ve always gathered in the kitchen, ever since I can remember, and in every house I can remember.

Love on a plate
Love on a plate

My studio is my kitchen. It’s always a bit of a mess (this may be an understatement – come and see for yourself!) and often I have to shake myself back into the world to be able to even talk. Nothing gives me more pleasure than welcoming visitors into my studio. Lately, though, I have found myself a bit protective about who comes in, and it’s made me think a little about “the company we keep”. I have become more aware of the energy that accompanies people, and of what can happen when those energies merge or collide. It can be magic!

Where does your magic happen?