Saturday, 28 March 2015

A sour note

Gosh has it really been a month since I last blogged. Where has the time gone !!!

Thanks to everyone for their comments about freebies. It certainly has given me some ideas.

So what have I been up to whilst AWOL. I made another three 'Jenny' bags. I'll put them up on the blog once Mr Gertie does his David Bailey with them....

Speaking of photos. I'm slowly coming into the 21 century with regards to social media as I've got myself a flickr account. There's only a handful of photos on there at the moment as I haven't had time to do more. However I'm coming to a quite spell, sewing wise, so I should be able to get more up.

Shortly before Mr Gertie retired I made a list (think jumbo size loo roll!!!!) of jobs that needed doing around the house. I'm pleased to say that painting and decorating the living room and dining room can now be crossed off the list.

On the 'Gertie's Bags' front I had another eBay sale and also a request for a custom made bag.


The customer liked the 'Jenny' bag she's seen on eBay and asked if I could make it in a different foxy print fabric. As the correspondences about the bag progressed (what size did she want etc), she gave me details of what fabric she wanted (a lovely non-foxy print from Cotton Patch).


She also came back with images of a backpack she'd seen elsewhere and asked if I could make one like that instead as she wanted lots of pockets. I pretty much had to design the bag from scratch but I love a challenge so it didn't bother me.


When I finished the bag I contacted the customer and the good relationship we'd built up turned slightly sour. She wasn't happy with the price - £40 - and asked for a complete breakdown of the costs as she had been expecting to pay £25, the same as the 'Jenny' Bag.

The raw materials (as well as p&p) came to over £25 and I only charged £15 labour - £1 per hour - even though I spent a lot more than 15 hours designing and making it.

To be fair to the customer, she did accept that as she had requested a custom made item she would have to buy it, but would like the bill to be reduced to something more favourable (I'm guessing no more than £30). I thought long and hard about it and decided that as I wasn't prepared to reduce my hourly rate down to 33p I withdrew the bag from sale.

I know some would say that I cut off my nose to spite my face as I've now been lumbered with the bag when I had a sale for it. When I set up 'Gertie's Bags' I did so because I loved sewing and wanted people to enjoy having something that was completely unique. I knew that as she wasn't happy with the cost instinct would make her dislike the bag. The last think I wanted was for the bag to be stuffed in a cupboard because of the issue of the price.

No doubt you'll tell me I'm mad.....

Have a great week.

Gertie xx

PS why not pop over to Handmade Monday to see what other fellow craft bloggers have been up to.

22 comments:

  1. No you're not mad! In fact good for you! I've heard similar stories in my FB groups with handmade crochet items and patchwork quilts - people seem to think they should pay for the components and we all make stuff for them for free! People don't go to a restaurant for steak and chips and then expect to pay for same as raw meat from the butcher yet often I read about customers doing this with handmade items. It is a lovely bag as well - so keep it for yourself and enjoy it!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Your steak and chips made me smile.... It's always the same, people are prepared to pay for bespoke items but not from us home crafters xx

      Delete
  2. Oh no, i'm sorry to hear you've had a bad experience with a custom order, i definitely think you did the right thing in the end, you certainly deserve more than 33p per hour for all your wonderful work! I don't know how it works on ebay but on Etsy the customer has to purchase the custom order first which does work well as any quibbles about price are out the way before you start work! I'm glad to hear that you are getting sales though, that's certainly good news :) x

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. There didn't seem to be anything like that on eBay - I checked. I'm guessing it didn't expect to have such things like what Etsy does xx

      Delete
  3. How awful that the relationship deteriorated at the end, you very much did the right thing:) to design a one off bag, with a variety of zip pockets, is worth you being paid for your time. I hope you find a new buyer, or enjoy the bag yourself.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm sure some people think we wave a magic wand and the item is complete. I wish !!!!

      I do like the bag so may end up keeping it myself xx

      Delete
  4. I'm with you and the other comments on this. You were right to stick to your guns. I don't think anyone understands the work involved in anything until they've tried to make something themselves. It is a gorgeous bag, you be proud of it and enjoy it :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You have hit the nail right on the head !!!! People don't understand and that's the problem.

      Plus because you can buy a bag from Primark for less than £3 people expect us to charge them the same xx

      Delete
  5. Goodness me, what did she expect? A handmade, custom order should cost more! Many custom orders actually cost a heck of alot more than what you charged. I'm so sorry to hear about your experience. As Fiddly Fingers and everyone else has said, you were right to stick to your guns!!
    It's a lovely bag!
    xox Lou

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. According to the books I've just about finished reading about setting up a craft business they advised sellers to charge either three/four times the cost of the raw materials or £10/£15 per hour labour costs.

      Makes £15 seem like peanuts.... xx

      Delete
  6. Good grief I think you did right, this is the problem with handmade so often customers think we should be paid the same as the sweat shops, as that is what they are used to. Well done for standing your ground. I would put on at the proper price and you never know she may buy. I always give a quote up front now to avoid this sort of thing happening.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. From now on I will give a price upfront, though the problem is always going to be how much to charge for labour as some jobs will take longer than others, and until you start making it, you don't always know xx

      Delete
  7. I definitely think you did right by refusing to sell for such a low price. Totally bespoke designs should never be sold for less than what they're worth.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for your support. It means I did the right thing xx

      Delete
  8. I love the bag Gertie, I'm with everyone one, there's no way you should have dropped your price - stick with your instinct.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks. Sometimes you just have to go with your gut feeling xx

      Delete
  9. I've had friends comment on my personalised tea cosies saying that I should do commissions as people would pay 'at least £5 - £10' for them! When I then say that the going rate would be nearer £50 they are amazed. I would rather do them as presents 'for love', however if you are doing it as a business then £40 is more than reasonable, I'm so glad you didn't blink!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. £10 for one of your gorgeous tea cosies - they have got to be joking !!!! People have no idea of how long things take to make xx

      Delete
  10. I agree with the comments above. She (the buyer) was wrong, not you. I'm sure you will sell this lovingly made bag and the new owner will love and cherish it. It's really so perfectly constructed.

    ReplyDelete
  11. You are definitely not mad. A big part of the problem is that people see poor quality junk on the high street made from inferior fabrics and by children being paid 50p a week and they won't understand that actually that's not really ok, decent materials cost money and there is a huge amount of skill involved in making something like your bag, especially if it's a one off. The other problem is that there are crafters out there selling their stuff for less than what it cost to make, something I've seen at craft fairs. It makes me cross!
    £60 for you gorgeous bag sounds like a fairer price to me! :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I couldn't agree more, and until the shops stop selling these items at such ridiculously low prices, it will always be a problem for us xx

      Delete