The current trend toward deeply discounted deals à la Groupon or Living Social hit the handmade marketplace earlier this year when Heartsy arrived on the scene. When I first looked at Heartsy, I was surprised to see just how far makers were willing to discount their work to potentially attract new clients. 65% off for a handmade business is a huge cut! I wondered how many of those buyers would return to purchase at full price, and what additional costs the maker would have to incur to be able to fill those orders.
At the time, I remember being part of a conversation with Jessika (@ohmyhandmade) and others on Twitter about the true value of handmade. Does discounting handmade work devalue the work, does it sacrifice too much for the maker? Does offering beautifully crafted, well-designed, unique works of art at a discounted price (even below cost on occasion) hinder or help a small business in the long run? Shouldn’t we be willing to pay MORE for handmade, rather than less? How does a maker ensure that they are really charging what their work is worth, and what price will the buyer market support? All important questions, and all requiring more thought and discussion… and the conversation is still continuing. Now, though, there’s a place where we can really demonstrate how much we truly value handmade skill and creativity.
I love this concept – once a week on Wednesdays, a new handmade item will be put up for auction. Bidding will start at wholesale price (because makers should be profiting at the wholesale level as well!) and remain open until the next week. The artist will receive the full sale price, and the auction winner receives a handmade treasure that they love so much they wanted to bid higher and pay more! That sounds like a win all around to me!
Another thing I love? When you click the “More” button to bid, you are treated to an itemized list of costs to produce the item. It is amazing to see it all laid out, and to know what goes into the production of each piece will be so enlightening and valuable!
What do you think? Should we be willing to pay more for the pleasure of owning something handmade, something that we know has been lovingly crafted by someone passionate about their unique take on the world? As Jessika says in her post to launch Worthsy:
Let’s find out how much people will actually pay for handmade while building a culture of paying more to get more. More kindness, creativity, originality, prosperity, joy-just more. Not more for the sake of having more stuff or paying inflated prices, but more in the items we do choose to buy. More connection to each other in our buying and selling & more sustainability for the economy we are creating together. Plus show off how talented the handmade community is in the process, make friends and start conversations about the value of handmade.;)
It’s worth it to me. Now, who’s going to be the next bidder?
P.S. If you want to submit your own item to be auctioned off on Worthsy, you can do that, too!