Tuesday, February 19, 2008

I can get that at WM for half that much!

My last post discussed what to do if a cherished family member asks you to crochet for them.

Today I discuss a way to be compensated for your work and not offend an acquaintance or co-worker.

"An acquaintance got angry when I asked to be paid for my labor to crochet something for them!"

This is another complaint I’ve heard numerous times.

It’s been my experience that people’s attitudes about Needlework break down into these groups:

  • Those who know someone who does needlework or they themselves do a different type of needlework and appreciate the amount of time and energy that goes into the creative process.
  • Those who know so many people who do needlework and have seen so many ‘plain old afghans or doilies’ that needlework is common place and worth less than something store bought.
  • Those who have never seen someone do needlework, and believes this is just a hobby you do at night in front of the tv; therfore you shouldn't be paid -because this isn't work.
Because of these attitudes, I don’t recommend you try to discuss money for your labor to crochet something.

Let's be honest, trying to charge by the hour can make a piece so expensive that nobody will pay for it. Yet, how do you help someone to understand that despite crochet (or knitting) being a passion and a hobby, stitchting for someone else- on command- makes this work, which demands payment.

Instead of money, I suggest you barter your time and talents for their time and talents.
If the lady at work wants you to crochet baby blankets for her, then estimate the time it will take you and see if she would be willing to spend that same amount of time doing something for you; whatever her hobby/talent is.

Maybe she could bake a dozen loaves of bread for you, or 12 dozen cookies.

Maybe she could babysit for you the number of hours it takes you to crochet her blankets.

OH, and remember: regardless if you want compensation for your labor or not, always, always, always, make the person requesting the project -pay for the yarn. It is your choice whether you keep the leftovers or not- as payment for your time.
Yes, you can barter the yarn for baking ingridients, just make sure you get enough baked goods to cover the cost of the yarn.

Tell the ‘customer’ that they will need to go to the store and buy the yarn they want you to crochet. Give them specifics such as brand names, yarn weights and the amount they will need, but make them actually go out and buy the yarn.

Of course, we know that they will probably look for the yarn, not find all that they need at WM and have to go to HL, Michaels' or ACMoore or Big Lots to find enough to finish their project. The customer will have to invest their hard earned money in that yarn, and most likely, a sizeable chunk of time, and this helps them to understand your time and talent are worth something.

I’ve heard stories where a Spouse asked the crocheter to make a hat for someone at his work. The spouse didn’t ask for any type of compensation, and had only the basic idea of what the co-worker wanted.

If I remember correctly, the poor woman had to make 3 different hats to suit the co-worker and then when she asked the woman to pay for the yarn, the co-worker became irate! One week's worth of stitching and $7 of yarn and the woman thought she was entitled to the hat free of charge!
Oh, the nerve of some people!

In cases like this one, you can respond, "Sure, I’ll crochet a {small project} for them free of charge, but they need to buy XX oz of 'this brand of yarn’ in their choice of color."

The next day, the spouse can say, "My spouse will make the {requested project} for you, if you buy the yarn." This clearly establishes that the customer will need to pay for something, without actually discussing money.

Let your family members know that if they volunteer your services like this, then they will do chores for you while you crochet the project. That is only fair, since you are doing something for them, they must do something for you... yes, even the spouse. This will help your family understand the value of your Time.

If it takes you 2-3 hours to 'whip up' that hat, then they can -for example- clean the house for 2-3 hours.

Now a days, putting a monetary price tag on your work will only insult folks who don't do needlework... you will get that familiar: "Well I could get that same thing at WM for a fraction of what you want!"

When you barter TIME with folks, you force them to to put a price on THEIR time, and if they can't afford the terms, they can bow out gracefully or offer monetary compensation.

Time is money, but it is easier to politely discuss Time, than it is to discuss money.

Tomorrow's subject...Truly annoying, obnoxious and insensitive jerks....

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Laura said...

Great articles - very useful! I love the swapping idea. A coworker of mine was looking at a book of crocheted hats I brought to work on Friday to show her, and there were a few she wanted to me to make for her. I told her I'll swap a crocheted hat for a beaded necklace (she makes beautiful beaded jewelry). She was happy with the idea. She doesn't know how to crochet, and I don't have the patience to work with all those little beads, so it works out great for both of us.

ARNie ChezCrochet.com said...

It is amazing how well this idea works with any kind of hobby.

Money is just too difficult to discuss; bartering makes the transaction pleasant, and even fun.

Thanks for sharing your experience!

Marny Fischer said...

If I don't value what I do why should others!

I like the barter system -- ONLY IF they have something that is of value to me. My house is cluttered -- but having someone come to my home means I have to endure their habits, which I know wouldn't be up to my standards when *I* declutter and clean!!

Even folding laundry would be a problem for me ... I fold everything a certain way and will unfold items not folded properly.

The first afghan I finished crocheting was to be for my daughter, who then said "those are not my colors" -- so a couple of years later, I now have donated the afghan to a synagogue for their Silent Auction! I like that they chose to put an opening bid of $75.

Meanwhile, *I* need to enjoy knitting or crocheting, and if it becomes a job, it wouldn't be fun for me. I like to enjoy my time.