I don’t do stuff while Doc is home/awake. For some reason, while he is sitting around, I sit around. I think that is the main reason his being here drives me crazy. I don’t get anything done.
Not to say I didn’t work this weekend. I didn’t do very much housework, and in fact, left the dishes for Doc to do. But I got a lot of painting and sorting and odds and ends finished up. That seems to be what the weekends are for, odds and ends. Short, little, quiet projects I can do while Doc sleeps. So I have 30-odd items to list tonight/tomorrow on Etsy.
I have been doing a LOT of research and searching of Etsy, and I think that maybe one reason my items are not selling is that they are severely under-priced for the market. It may be throwing doubts on the quality of the work or components. So, while I am working around on the shop site tomorrow, I will adjust the prices accordingly. Not too high, I want to stay on the less-expensive side of things, there is no need to gouge people. Just enough to say, “I really put time into this, and my time is valuable to me.” That’s not something I have dared to say before, that my time is valuable. I’ve never thought of it that way.
Money and I have always had a complicated relationship. My whole life has been either feast or famine, no in between. My dad would get paid, we would eat well for a week and get clothes, or treats; then we would spend the next several weeks dodging the landlord and bill collectors and “fasting”. Just not eating. We were fasting and praying for money. To buy food with. So we didn’t have to fast. Religion is insidious. So, I have a weird relationship with money now, as well. When I get some, I always want to spend part of it right away. Then I intend to save the rest. But Doc needs that money to pay bills and buy groceries. So I limit what I spend, and I don’t do it every month, but any means.
As long as I have what I need, and occasionally what I want, I’m happy. I haven’t carried cash for 20 years. I only carry a debit card if I have to, and I don’t use it often because my name isn’t on it. I have a bit of a stash in paypal that I use for my bills and expenses online. But for the most part it isn’t important to me. That’s what I’m trying to say, money is just not important. As long as I have enough to cover my ass and maybe my couch, I’m happy.
So I have ended up working at a lot of jobs for great experience and resume building, but no pay. Or precious little pay. The last job I had hired me as a “web designer and coder” based on my creativity (this was so long ago I had to bring a print out of my site with me to the interview) and technical skills, and was put to work proofreading typed copy on sites and noting the mistakes, not even fixed them. They paid me minimum wage. I rebelled on that one, I felt I’d been cheated, not out of money, but work experience. They hired me for one reason, and then put me to work doing something I already knew how to do and found utterly tedious. If they weren’t happy with me, they never told me to my face. The office was small, and I heard every nasty thing the owners ever said behind my back. Like I said, my LAST job. I quit that motherfucker in a flurry of rage because they wouldn’t accommodate my illness, they didn’t have to, they had under 50 employees, and they knew it, and they were real fuckwads about it. They made me feel like absolute shit about myself. I only worked there for three months, and I still carry a great deal of resentment. I was surprised to find the other day that they are still in business. I was a little entertained that their site is ugly as shit and someone convinced them that pictures of them in “Friday Casual”, sitting on their desks was a good thing for an uptight sight that didn’t even have a fucking graphic design program. I would say they didn’t have a graphc designer, but they did, of course, me. They just wasted me. And I gave them shit work. Their name will never appear on my resume.
But I put up with it, is the point. And I would have longer if they were letting me actually design sites, as I had been doing the year prior. Non-stop. I don’t know if any of you remember Geocities, but I had a ton of sites up there and they were all fabulous for the time. I still have a lot of them in tact. I just made them and designed them for fun, never actually put much content in. Just enough to get people to look around the whole site. If I had been doing that, I would have done it for free. That’s my stoner wandering point.
So I figure the math for the jewelry, and I price according to cost of materials. I never consider “time spent”, and any time I pad the profit over 25-30%, I feel guilty. And that is really stupid. It takes me an hour to make some of these things, and my hands and eyes hurt after. I should be getting paid for it. You know what I mean?
Of course this is a really moot because I don’t have the traffic to sell a $4 beaded necklace right now. But when I do. I want it to be worth it. And there is the undervaluing quality issue to consider. I’ve also under-priced my shipping, which I wonder if it is wise. So I think I need to adjust that. There is no point in me paying for their shipping because I feel badly and want too desperately to make a sale.
THAT’S IT! I don’t want to seem desperate. I also don’t want to seem like I am picking up jewelry from China or something and hocking it as my own. So I have to do something about it. I talked to Doc, he agreed, reluctantly. He holds the opinion, “the cheaper it is, the more people will buy,” which just doesn’t apply with hand designed and created items. I’m not a machine, I don’t just pump this stuff out. Each item is a small work of art that I made, and I am giving that up to someone else. I should be making them pay for the privilege, there is nothing wrong with that.
This all as I come to the point where I have to price the CD Mix Kits. Most have intricate 3D collages on them. Others are hand painted with pictures and designs. The backs are either decorated plainly with CD shards, or have small glass feet mounted to them so they can sit on a table. Inside the tin, under the CD, is lined with black felt. The CD is a 74 minute RW-CD with a blank label that can be drawn on. Inside the lid is a lined label for a song list, and a small label with the title of the tin, my signature, and the number of the tin. I know prices will vary, based on how much time I put into decorating them. But I have no idea what to start with as a base price. I have no idea the value of these things undecorated, because no such thing exists. And then add onto that the “cost” of my art. Any thoughts? I guess I could find out how much those tins would cost me to get blank, and the materials that went into them, add 30% and use that as the base price. This entrepreneur thing is hard. There’s math. I was told as an English Major, that I would not need math.
Damn, the sun is coming up already. Cool. I have so many pictures to take. But it’s windy, which sucks because I need to spray glaze and glitter some stuff this morning. I guess I can build a quick tent around the things I’m spraying so the dust doesn’t get on them. Today I will be able to remove a whole lot of stuff from the living room. Boxes of things for the smashbook kits and CD kits. Paint tubes and brushes are everywhere, I really got into a tizzy of painting this weekend.
Speaking of the smashbooks/junk journals, you ought to see the set-up I’m posting today. Markers, gel pens, colored pencils, scissors, glue sticks, pencils, black pens, embellishments and ephemera . . . and the books themselves, filled with assorted artistic pages. Right now the book and a couple of other things are priced at $45. I think the kits-out-of-the-box are going to be about $10 more. Because I really worked hard on those books. There are so many little hand made, time consuming details to those books. From the “finish” on the covers/backs, to the pages themselves, to the hand glued folios and envelopes. And every hole in every page is hand punched. Every kind of paper you could imagine wanting to mess with. Everything but plain, white office paper. Yeah, $55 is definitely not too much to ask. I may ask your opinion after I post a picture and see what you think, we’ll play “The Price is Right” and see if I’m on the right track with the money grubbing. Oh, and it all goes in a neon gift bag with transparent colored plastic sheeting (tissue paper is so yesterday).
The one thing I need to do is clear out the dining room, and get white jewelry displays and a white sheet for a backdrop. Etsy only features photos that are all white with the item, and maybe a subtle prop. All of my stuff is black. I can make a necklace stand out of white paper, I’m not worried about that. It’s the white sheet. I guess I’ll just order it from walmart or something. Get a king sized flat sheet. The lack of the dark contrast may make my photos turn out better, too. But I really want my products featured, so I really need to do that blanc thing.
Enough. To work. Reheat my coffee, smoke a smoke on the patio with the animals, set up the camera. Today i will deplete my list way faster than I will add to it. I swear. Maybe. I hope.