Well, we all know I haven’t really blogged much in 2019. It’s hard to do long-term, as anyone who has a blog will know. I struggled with coming up with posts and also the time to write properly so didn’t write many at all. I suspect this year will be similar, but I will try!
I am making big changes to my little handmade business this year. I’ve seen so many businesses come and go on Etsy and on Facebook. People think, oh, I can make that, and charge less, all these businesses are ripping people off! So they start off with knit baby hats or buying in cheap glasses and pre-cut vinyls or MDF shapes, and charge materials x 2. They don’t factor in all their expenses – electricity, packaging, paypal fees (if they aren’t insisting on being paid by Friends & Family), insurance (if they even have it), doing accounts, time spent packaging and going to the PO… the list is almost endless.
But what they really don’t factor in is their time and wear & tear on their bodies. This is a huge issue to take into account – if someone is working every hour they are awake just to sell £4 items that take 30 minutes to make, they will be wrecking their health, relationships with significant others, children, other family and friends. When they finally sit down to do their taxes they’ll spend hours sorting them out to realise that they’ve made very little for 40+ hour weeks and could have made more flipping burgers at McDonalds 16 hours a week. So they disappear after a few months or a year. And then more take their place. It’s a whole other blog post on people valuing handmade items and being willing to pay properly for someone’s time and skills…
These “pop-up” handmade businesses who often aren’t trading legally anyway, underprice and undercut other handmade businesses instead of figuring out that long-term businesses charge what they do to be sustainable and are not ripping people off – handmade items should cost more than mass-produced! So I have been getting fewer and fewer orders for keepsake cushions, knit scarves & cowls as well as photo props which used to be my best sellers – the last are boobs, uteruses and placentas and they still sell pretty well.
Ever since I made 150 uteruses & placentas for a wholesale order in 3.5 months, I knew it would only be a matter of time before I would have to slow down because my hands wouldn’t put up with knitting 10 hours a day anymore. And that time is now. If you have been reading my Facebook business page over the past year, you’ll see there are lots of posts of me saying “my hands are bothering me again today, so I have to take it easy” or similar.
I have made fewer items this year, and it’s frustrating when you are used to making a certain amount and you just can’t anymore. I am phasing out items in all my shops on Etsy – Green Living Co Looking Glass Design, and Anatomical Knits by LGD, Ebay and Amazon. I will be focusing on items I like to make, using up my current craft supplies for other items and once they are made and sold, that’s it. I will be doing more sewing and the knitting will be less of a focus. I’d like to knit for me and my family more.
I will also be starting a job working for someone else for the first time in 8 years. Partly because of the changes in the handmade industry but also other factors like politics and the environment – we need to make do and mend, reuse already made materials and items much more and pushing newly made items that aren’t eco-friendly or aren’t environmentally consciously made in some way doesn’t feel like the right thing to do anymore.
One thing that will be staying open is the Green Living Co Etsy shop and more upcycled and more items made from repurposed materials will be available this year. I’ll keep you posted as much as I can about what items are being phased out and what will be added to all my shops. Below are some of the items still available!