I’ll start by saying this isn’t a complaint, I do actually get a bit of a thrill every time someone says to me “Oh, did you make that ?! It’s great! You should sell them!” Or I get the more forward “So, Rach, when are you going to open a online store?”
But, right this minute I only craft for love, and a lot of love does go into my crafting! The love of finding a project, challenging myself, sourcing the fabric (oh spotlight, it’s my happy place!) sewing, crocheting and knitting is usually pretty relaxing – except when I’m unpicking, unravelling or just woefully confused as to how to make my project look like it does on the pattern! Or I’m tired, but determined to finish a project before I go to bed, but because I’m tired I keep making mistakes – which means it takes ever longer to complete!
Mostly though, it’s a labour of love. And the biggest payoff is seeing my creations worn and played with by my children or when I give them as gifts to friends. I get a special kind of pride when I see my daughter twirling and flouncing around in a new skirt or dress – running up to people saying “LOOK LOOK!” or having my son help me design and put together a soft toy for him then seeing him fall asleep snuggling with it. Bliss! Also, I do love having people tell me I’ve done a good job; it’s a big confidence boost!
So, why don’t I craft for money? There’s a few reasons.
- Time. I don’t have a lot of it. If I was crafting for money I wouldn’t have as much time to do personal crafting. I wouldn’t be able to make so many things for my own children. I would miss out on getting to enjoy the finished product and getting the compliments from friends or seeing my children’s faces light up. If I had the time to make their items and also make enough to sell and be worthwhile, then I’d definitely think about it. Although…..
I’m not THAT good. I can make things that are finished to a standard that I am happy with but I’ve made clothes and toys that have started to fray or the threads have come loose and it’s not that hard for me to pull out a sewing needle, or get out the machine, and do a quick repair on them a short time after they were made – which is fine for myself. A customer would be rightfully upset if that happened to an item they paid good money for after only a short amount of use.
- I’d need to actually make a profit. To craft for money, I’d need to produce an item of good enough quality, in a short enough amount of time, with a minimal amount of material wastage, to be able to make a decent enough profit for it to have been worthwhile at all. It’s easy enough to look at a project and the materials only cost $10, I could sell it at a 100% “mark up” at $20 and it seems like a good deal all round. But that item cost me time sourcing the material, learning that pattern, communicating with the customer, arranging for a payment, and taking it to the post office to send it – and that is all on top of actually sitting down to make it.
Designs and sizing. Some of the patterns I use are free, but often clearly state “for person use only”, some I’ve paid for and can be used for commercial purposes if they’re given full credit for the design, some patterns I make up myself, but I’m designing the pattern with my child available to me for frequent fittings and adjustments throughout the project. In my experience lots of free patterns are free for a reason. I recently made some hats that were “child sized” but didn’t fit on my 2 year old. I used the adult size in the same pattern and my 5 year old complains that it’s too tight. So, there is another expense – buying quality patterns, with reliable sizing, that I can also legally use for commercial purposes.
I do undervalue my time. Even if I believed that what I make is good enough to sell, if I was competent enough to not make mistakes so I could produce items to a high standard with minimal time and wastage, even if I had the time to complete projects without impeding on my families time – Id still struggle with naming a price. Because I still loving making things and also because some items do take A LOT of time, whether it’s enjoyable or not, it’s still MY time that went into it.
So, the answer to “When am I going to craft for money?” When I’ve got all that sorted, then I’d love to! I’d love to have an online store, I’d love to have other people enjoy the things I’ve made, I’d love the opportunity to work from home – for a profit – doing something I genuinely enjoy! That would be the dream. Until then though, I’ll keep crafting, keep practicing, keep challenging myself and one day I’ll be good enough – and confident enough – to call myself a professional crafter.
Do you craft for love or for money? How did you get started?