So, I recently had an email conversation about a piece that I had completed and listed for sale.
One of the things I learned very early in life, is that something is only worth the amount of money someone is prepared to pay for it.
Value can be a difficult thing to assess. What someone might deem value as one thing, I might think it is something else. But in the end, it will be worth what I am paid.
I’ve done many things in my life to earn money. From my youngest jobs of “walking beans” and “de-tassling corn” in Iowa, to a range of professional jobs, starting with secretarial work to my technical career as a quality assurance engineer. And the salaries have been all over the board. In the end, what I was willing to do to earn money was the value of my work. Experience has taught me what is in my own best interest.
So, when it comes to pricing the pieces that I create for the blog, it becomes a grey area. Obviously there are some very concrete costs that go into any pieces that I work on, including but not limited to, cost (if any) for the piece plus a lot of smaller costs that shared across projects, like primer, paint, rollers, drop clothes, sand paper, tools etc. and also some soft costs, like my garage space, electricity, gas, phone and internet expenses.
And then there is time and talent. I spend a lot of time hunting down pieces, hours and hours spent on CraigsList and eBay and running all over Kansas City. And the time that it takes to complete each piece, and the process of deciding what I am going to do and later, writing about that experience. It has taken a lot of years to develop the experience of creativity. I think back now on some of the things I did then and laugh at my inexperience. Sometimes I realize that talent is a lot about experience, but some of it just comes naturally. And while I have always had a “knack” for creative endeavors, I just never could figure out how to turn that talent into cash, so for most of my life, I just did it for me and those around me.
So, when I started writing a blog, I wrote about projects and pieces that I did for myself. If you have ever been in my home or seen pictures (there are a few on this site) you know that my house is a lively, creative dwelling! Inside and out. When it got to the point where my home could no longer could hold anything new, I started giving away items to friends. As time allowed me to work more on my creative side, it turned out that I could turn those items into cash, allowing me to fund bigger and larger projects. And to allow me to add great tools to my workshop and my sewing room. As I worked and sold pieces, I realized that I could be underpricing many of my projects.
It has occurred me that I perhaps was undervaluing my work. After all, a lot of things go into every piece I do. I list a price, which yes, is subjective, but you have to start somewhere. If it doesn’t sell, if there isn’t any interest, then I will lower the price and entertain offers. At times I will offer these pieces to someone who cannot afford even these prices.
But back to the conversation. Somehow, at times, someone can say something that isn’t meant to be offensive, but does come off that way. You see, the piece that I had recently showcased here was for sale. And I provided the link in the ad, so a certain someone followed and read the blog. Awesome! Right?
Well, that person then seriously offered me much less than asking price. When I responded and let this person know that I couldn’t accept such a low offer, this person than countered with a slightly higher price. This person also provided a little insight to lack of funds, which could very well have sealed the offer, if this person hadn’t also said, “but I also know you got the dresser for free”. I have to tell you that I was very offended by those words. As if the only value that this person saw was in the actual physical piece. But not really in everything that went into it – as I’ve outlined previously.
Not sure what I am looking for with this post, other than to maybe explain what some people do not see in the finish project. And maybe, just maybe, one more person can truly appreciate what goes into a project piece.