I keep debating whether or not I should post this but my heart is heavy this morning and I'm sure many of you can relate (especially if you are a small business owner or creative) and if not, maybe gain some perspective.
This morning, I received an email which sadly was the first thing I woke up to and read. There were words in there from someone who wanted to express her feelings (which I respect) but said things that went a little too far because they were statements that she knew very little about.
Statements such as "I know that once you've made a crown or 2 should only take up to an hour at most to perfect a crown. And while you do have embellished flowers with pearls in the center....there's no way your costs are that high." & "While your crown is gorgeous, a price tag of...seems to me highway robbery." As well as several other VERY HURTFUL statements.
Although, I DO NOT need to explain my business, my passion and why things are the way they are, I feel like I need to speak out for those who DO own a small business as well as many of whom who are juggling several roles as a wife, momma, care-taker, home-keeper, student and many other titles all at once.
First off, my prices aren't just the way they are because of supply costs. Yes, they are in there BUT my time is what I value the most. I am a stay at home momma (one who is also currently trying to potty train my son which is not an easy task in itself), I am a wife who needs to make time to spend with my amazing husband, I am a home-keeper who is trying my best to make sure that the dishes are clean, laundry is done, the floor is swept, the same messes are picked up every single day amongst SEVERAL other things that go on throughout the day.
I run my shop the BEST I CAN because I LOVE what I do but I can't do everything all the time. Each floral crown piece DOES NOT take "an hour at the most". In fact, it can take double that if not more at times and triple that time on many other pieces. There is quite a bit of hand-stiching involved, petals taken apart to create completely new flowers, measurements taken, trimmings done, etc. etc. This all takes time-time that I choose to take away from my family to fulfill my customer's needs. Not only that but I love creating and working with brides and many other women who want a special piece created for them to celebrate important moments. It also takes time to list items, schedule photo shoots, market items and the shop, schedule collaborations, package items, ship items as well as the time it takes to get supplies.
Supplies in itself is not a one stop shop and go. My supplies do not come from one store. In fact, there are 3 retail stores and several online stores that I order from. The retail stores alone take me about an hour round trip (EACH) to drive to and from and many times, I have to take several of these trips a week so I can get the supplies needed for custom orders as well as stocking up for current ones. Many times, I even drive up to a 2+ hour round trip to get supplies.
Running a small business is completely different than creating something for yourself or even a friend once in a while. Keeping up on inventory, marketing, emails and SO MUCH MORE is a full time job in itself. Most handmade sellers pour their hearts into what they create. There is no dollar amount that can equal the value that we give into our passion.
Handmade DOES cost more and if it doesn't with some sellers, it SHOULD. Our creations are NOT created by machines. Most handmade shops consist of ONE person. Two hands to create. One mind to think and One heart to give.
Not everybody knows the story behind each piece that is created. Many assumptions can be made but unless you are in that makers shoes, it's unfair to make hurtful statements devaluing someones time and effort they put into their pieces. Who is one to say how much something is really worth unless you poured your heart into it?
Yes, opinions are opinions but they don't have to be unkind.
Creators, VALUE your time. You only get a certain number of hours in each day. What are they worth to you?