Mon 26 Nov, 2012 08:48 am
So, I did some carving for someone...a set of oak cooking utensils. All in all it took some 30-35 hours. I did these as a gift.
Now someone who saw them, is telling me (what I understand to equate too) I should rip people off, maybe not with cooking utensils...maybe other stuff used in the yoga / prana sector. That these people are willing to pay upwards of 300 euro for a hand made stool.
Now I have a very different view of the world then our parents did. I refuse to rip people off.
Am I ripping people off by attempting to become successful?
Do I define my self worth for the amount that I will work for?
People around me are saying that I just need to correctly define my self value for me to be able to become successful.
How do you define self worth?
If you ask a reasonable price for your products, how does that rip off the buyer? No one is forcing anyone to buy your products. You need to estimate what is a competitive price in the current marketplace. Check out similar handmade items and see what they are selling for. What do you think your time, skill and materials are worth? You get to decide what will make it worth your effort to be a craftsman. There's nothing wrong with being successful or taking pride in your work.
The question I'm asking in connection with the price of my work is: If I calculate the price of raw material, my workmanship, putting aside the artistic part, I come out with an inconceivable price. A price I would never pay. If I wont pay THAT kind of money for anything, how can I expect someone else to?
The question about success is drawn from the idea that I (perhaps others from our background) am cheap. I work for free, I help friends, and do things that would otherwise be considered total overkill because I wouldn't pay for a service like that, but for my friends, I would. That's what I mean with cheap.
I guess the moral or ethical stand point, which I perceive, is that everything is cheap...so how does one expect to make my time worthwhile when the same work could be done in the far east (say India) for a fraction of the price.
I see the problem with our upbringing...we worked for a common value and goal...take that common value and goal away and all we have is nothing but empty values.
But lets put that idea aside and think for a second, where the root of the problem stems from. If I calculate the cost and price of my work, and believe that there are people out there dumb enough to pay for it, I come back to the moral issue of not ripping someone off (or perhaps the repeat customer scenario). I think there is a correlation between, "I wont spend that kind of cash on myself" and "someone wont spend that kind of cash on themselves" and "if they do spend that kind of cash on themselves...they aren't worth my time or energy" therefore " If I spend that kind of money on myself, I must not be worth anyones time and energy" effectively placing my personal worth on the lowest part of the 1-10 scale.
See the problem ?
It seems to me you've got beliefs about market competition and the value of money that may conflict with legitimate self interest. Why do you believe people with disposable income are "dumb" if they decide to pay top dollar for something that is hand-crafted? Just because it would be ill-advised for someone like yourself, who is probably frugal and relatively poor, to spend the same amount on the product? Like I said, you aren't forcing anyone to buy your products, even if you do put what you think is an outrageous price tag on them--so why feel guilty or superior if someone decides it's worth what you're asking? So what if they could buy the same thing cheaper in India--It's not your place to advise buyers about your competition. Some people have lots of money to throw around. As a craftsman, you are not morally bound to sell your products at cut-rate prices. If you need to unload your goods and take a loss for business reasons, it's a practical matter rather than an ethical problem.
But here is the bottom line: If something doesn't feel right, then it isn't right for you--even if those feelings DO come from an overly scrupulous conscience and self-defeating beliefs. You have to be straight with yourself first about how you want to do business.