|This little MyTie is at market looking for a home... :-(|
Do they use them? If so, what are their favourite designs and why? And if they don't use them, do they sell or give away their handmade creations?
Lastly, if they don't use them, what do they use? I reached out to some folks whose work I have seen and admired and asked them if they'd like to share the answers to those questions.
Previously, we heard from designer Christine of Chris W Designs and crafter Daryl Perry. Today, I consult with designer Janelle of Emmaline Bags and pattern tester Krista.
|One of Janelle's creations... image courtesy of emmalinebags.com|
I know what you mean, Janelle. (Those looking for an update on my Make it Yours bag will get the lowdown on that project in the upcoming weeks.)
So what's on her arm (or shoulder) now? It's a secret, apparently. "I am currently carrying a bag for my upcoming book, co-authored with Lindsay Conner, and I am in love with it. Sadly I can’t share it yet!" She adds, "I haven’t purchased a store bought purse in years, but when I did, it was because I desired a leather bag. Not a particular brand, but just a nice soft leather bag. I love bags, that’s why I’m here, and sometimes a leather treat is necessary!"
What does Janelle do with her sample test bags? "After I am pleased with the pattern design, I always make a few samples in different fabrics. I can’t carry all of these so I give them to close friends and family members. I always keep a sample to show at quilt shops, and if I do have an extra, I hope to be able to offer it to a charity raffle that may pop up. Last year, my son’s teacher was happy to receive a “Totes ma Tote” bag for her end of year present. I haven’t sold a bag in years."
It keeps coming back to that dilemma again. See my little brown and orange MyTie at the top of this post? It — and two others (including the blue one featured on my sidebar slideshow) — has been at the market with my market friend and sadly, hasn't found a new home yet. (It was one of six test bags that I made for the project and while I loved the colour, I knew I wouldn't get around to using the three bags that I had already decided to keep.)
Perhaps the most eye-opening discovery that I have made over the past couple of years of making my own bags is that they are notoriously difficult to get rid of... unless you do just that: give them away.
|Krista's fabulous Bag of the Month Club creation for January...|
I had a "conversation" with her about selling one's own work and she agrees that it's a difficult process. "I've sewed a couple of things for gifts and made something to order — but the majority of my projects sit wrapped up and protected in my basement. They are good enough to sell, and I hope to sell them. I just have to figure out how because after all, I do have a busy life to live. I'm not sure craft shows are the best way to go, but I guess I need to try it at least once or twice to be able to see. I've got an Etsy store under construction..."
And of course, the biggest barrier to selling our projects is price. What is that golden price at which a transaction will miraculously take place with both parties being happy? (Actually I've often heard that the ideal price point is one in which both parties are equally unhappy.) Oddly enough, this same topic came up across the ocean when my tester Nekane blogged about making her first sale: a MyTie bag, of all things!
We live in a world where we can sit in our pajamas and shop around the globe, buying things for next to nothing. While many people may admire our handiwork, not many are willing to pay for the actual "blood sweat and tears" that goes into our crafting... or, even the bare bones cost of materials. Krista says, "I started a Facebook page for my sewing projects with the hope of getting some exposure and perhaps some custom orders. The first project I posted about, I had several inquiries, which was very exciting; when I gave the price, though, the interest cooled off pretty quickly."
I've occasionally thought that we should have a marketplace dedicated to "one off" handmade bag and purse creations, where individuals can post their individual projects and either present a price or do that eBay thing of "make me an offer". I suppose it would be kind of like a Kijiji, but not so crazy (have any of you found Kijiji to be increasingly insane?) and not specifically local. A lot of us would have an interest in selling one or two items at a time, rather than trying to accumulate enough product to open up an online store in which we have to fork over a percentage to whoever is hosting it.
Krista thought it was a great idea worth pursuing... all I need is some help to make it work. Is anyone listening??