In last week’s Craft Social twitter chat, we got together with guest experts Stacey Trock (@FreshStitches) and Diane Gilleland (@SisterDiane) to discuss the importance of value in handmade businesses and content. We touched on a wide variety of topics—from defining “value” in the world of handmade to suggesting techniques for increasing the perceived value of your work—and received thoughtful insight from all corners of the crafting and DIY communities. If you’re looking for new ways to add value to your own handmade business, this is one conversation that you definitely won’t want to miss!
Below, we’ve compiled a few key responses for each chat question. You can also download the full chat transcrip here: October 2012 Transcript: Adding Value to Your Craft Business and Content
Before we move on to the chat, don’t forget to mark your calendars for the next two Craft Socials!
October 2012 Craft Social highlights:
Q1: First, what does value mean to you when you talk about handmade?
- To me, value in handmade means getting something unavailable in the mass market. —@freshstitches
- Value is the preciousness or emotional connection evoked by a handmade item. First anyway, financial value comes later. —@CrochetBlogger
- For me, the value of handmade is all about the quality andpersonal interaction with talented makers. —@thezenofmaking
- I find value in the personal expression IN the item FROM the maker. Hope that makes sense! —@penguintrax
Q2: Do you feel that the perceived value of your own handmade work is accurate?
- My guess is that for many makers, it’s not. We tend to undervalue our own work. —@freshstitches
- Most people have no idea how much time/work goes into quality handmade. See: Friends asking “Can you make me..” —@thezenofmaking
- For me, value is personally subjective, exclusive of any financial gain. #Knitting helps keep me clean. #Recovery first.. —@fugitive247
- A polymer artist asked me if she priced her work was too high – I replied, no, it’s too low! Told her to double, she sold out. —@penguintrax
- In my mind, this is the crucial import of having a blog/FB/social media. It gives you a vehicle for explaining value. —@freshstitches
Q3: How do you explain to the value of handmade to the uninitiated?
- I think you can’t expect people to accept, “it’s handmade, so it’s worth it” from the start. You have to give reasons. —@freshstitches
- For example, it’s custom. It’s a higher quality fabric. It will last longer than a commercial piece. —@freshstitches
- I explain it in terms of durability and usefulness. Investment pieces. —@Azurafae
- In a world filled with $1 stores, people need to know why craftsmanship matters. —@penguintrax
- Once people get used to the quality of handmade, THEN they will buy into it as a concept. But only then. —@freshstitches
- Also find that sharing the stories behind the item really touches people’s hearts and helps them feel the value. —@CrochetBlogger
Q4: What can you do to increase the perceived value of your work?
- Doing a blog post showing the breakdown REALLY helps! Like, this fabric is $10/yd b/c it’s organic, it takes me 5 hours… —@freshstitches
- I’d like to think the little touches I add like packaging, personal notes, etc. add value to my goods. —@penguintrax
- Interesting packaging/presentation + a higher price. Be confident about what your work is worth! —@thezenofmaking
- When I’m shopping, it helps to see the artist actually making something right there. See the skillz up close and personal. —@StacieMakeDo
- I think the more concrete and specific we can get about expressing “quality,” the better (1 of 2) —@SisterDiane
- So many brands bandy the term “quality” about – it may not mean anything concrete to the buyer anymore. (2 of 2) —@SisterDiane
- I add value by my customer service: people can always email me with (pattern) questions- part of the purchase price!… —@freshstitches
Q5: How do you handle and/or value requests for your time that are unpaid?
- Will take unpaid requests if I get some other value out of it – emotional, social, promotional, educational, etc. —@CrochetBlogger
- For unpaid work, if I want to do the work and the time I’ll put in is worth the benefit to me, I do it. If not, I decline. —@thezenofmaking
- I’ve pretty much stopped doing anything for free. After analysis, these opps didn’t provide much return. —@SisterDiane
- Bartering, exposure, ect. can all be worthwhile ways of ‘getting paid’ —@freshstitches
- As a newbie, free work did teach me TO work. So definitely, valuable then. —@SisterDiane
Q6: What kinds of freebies (special packaging, blogs, tutorials, giveaways, reviews) are really worth your time?
- I often add free printables to tutorials on my own blog–makes my posts special and thanks readers. —@thezenofmaking
- Tutorials, sharing artwork, and general blogging are always worth my time. —@Azurafae
- I view my blog as an important part of the value I provide: tips, tutorials, advice… —@freshstitches
- I think part of providing value may be being willing to give away less. You’re making it clearer that your time has value. —@SisterDiane
- The web has so much of a give-away culture, and this is great, but now there’s room to scale back & still give value. —@SisterDiane
Q7: How have you added value to your own handmade goods/crafty content?
- The main value I give to my (pattern) customers is information (videos, tutorials) and support (email help) —@freshstitches
- I always try to provide the most comprehensive information possible in my niche topic to add value to the niche —@CrochetBlogger
- I try to make the freebies I give away point directly back to what I do for a living, so they’re purposeful. —@SisterDiane
- I like to add personal touches like exclusive content or a handwritten note/something extra in giveaway packages. —@thezenofmaking
Download the full chat transcrip: October 2012 Transcript: Adding Value to Your Craft Business and Content
- Crochet Chat Podcast #2: Main Segment (about 23 minutes in)
- Craft Blog Tools: Fair Compensation Email Template (The Zen of Making)
- Can’t We Fix Marketing in the Crafty Blogosphere? and Should Designers be paid for their services? (from CraftyPod)