I'm sure a lot of my customers are in the handmade business. If you aren't, you still understand the time and talent that goes into crafts.
Yarn dyeing is no different, and I thought I'd take some time to write a little bit about why "we" charge what we do (whether it be yarn, clothing, crochet hooks, art work, etc). It's also appropriate because my prices have risen this year.
When you are buying a handmade item, you are paying for the following things;
What that artist has learned. Whilst there are classes you can take for most things, even yarn dyeing workshops, most things are learned over time. Through experience and mistakes, as well as hours of research and reading, you get a decent end product. So if you are creating a beautiful finished product, don't forget to value your experience, it's important.
The artist themselves. OK, this sounds cringey, I know! But I know that I put my everything into dyeing, knitting, crochet, drawing etc. When you buy from me, or any artist, know that that item is often an original piece of themselves. When I'm having a particularly bad time, even more of myself goes into my yarn. So you are buying a whole load of emotion too.
Time. OK, this is an obvious one. Everyone gets paid for their time, don't they? But let's think about what that time could mean to someone with children and family. I have missed a few church services, in which my daughter was singing, because they happened to fall at the time of the month when yarn club is due. This isn't a guilt trip, by the way, I'm really not religious and churches make me uncomfortable (don't tell my daughter!). But it's an example of the things we miss out on as parents. We may be work at home mums, but this doesn't mean we can always drop our work to be there for a party or a play.
With these things in mind, especially the time factor (this is a big one when you're knitting or crocheting for money!), you /we/they really do do their job for the absolute love of it. I'm not rolling in it, in fact I don't think I know any dyers who are rich from their business (although I'm sure there are a few!).
This brings me on to hobby sellers. I know loads of my customers dye their own yarn, and that's fantastic! I urge anyone to learn to dye, and I'm always open for conversation and tips if you want to get in contact.
But I've recently noticed an influx of dyers who have started up in "business" and are selling their yarn at ridiculously low prices. Apart from anything else, this isn't a viable business plan and they will burn out if they keep their prices so low. But they also aren't valuing their own product, and this makes "us" look expensive and bad.
It's standard for dyers to start out their business with lower prices than the more established dyers. This is what I did, and what I've seen most other dyers do. That's not what I'm talking about. These prices are at very little over yarn and dye cost price, without any other expenses factored in (and believe me, there are big expenses!).
Of course, if you see someone selling their hand dyed yarn at a really low price, you are going to think "Well that's bloody cheap, I'll have a piece of that!", and I'm not going to tell you that you cannot do that (we all love a bargain!).
I just wanted to come out and say that these sellers cannot and do not set the standard for pricing in our industry. We are not expensive, we're really not! If you knew the effort, the learning, the trial and error, the heartache and the expenses that go into our product; you will know that "we"are overworked and underpaid (But we love it, so we do it). UK prices are generally much lower than US prices, but that is changing. We are starting to bring our prices up in line with US prices. And whilst my prices are currently still lower than US market prices, I have been working towards slowly bringing them up.
I don't go in for the whole "saturated market" opinion. There is room on this boat for everyone, if they are willing to work hard at it. But please, consider your own value when pricing your products. And when buying our products, keep in mind that what you have is special, whether the creator values their work or not.
If you are a hobbyist, I beg you to please think carefully about genuine pricing before selling your items. I understand that sometimes you make or dye more than you can possibly use yourself. But you can either give those items away, or charge a decent price and become a real business. Hobby selling hurts those who work so hard to build their business.