Thursday, July 07, 2016

What's it Worth?

Following along on a message board post about what people do with finished cross stitch pieces, and it got me wondering.  I have box full of "finished" pieces that are not framed or able to be displayed at this point....why don't I sell them?  A common answer on the message board was that "no one wants to pay what they are worth."  Now, I'm no economist, but it seems to me that something is only "worth" what someone is willing to pay.  Therefore it is the buyer, not the seller, who ultimately determines the worth of an item, is it not?

I would never expect to make a living selling the products of my hobby.  I learned this decades ago when I assembled and sold a dollhouse kit - I was thrilled to have received $150 for the little house, until my dad asked me to calculate how much my materials cost AND how many hours I'd spent working on it.  I was paid a fraction of a penny per hour!  But I didn't do it with that in mind.  And I don't stitch for profit, either.  I pick designs I like, and the process of creating them makes me happy.  Sometimes I have a specific project or recipient in mind, sometimes I don't.  Sometimes I love a project enough to save it until there is money to frame it or I am inspired to try a different finishing technique, sometimes it goes into the box never to be seen again.  What is worse -- that someone pay a few bucks for it and possibly frame it/finish it themselves to enjoy, or that it stay in a box where no one sees it?  And I've seen such collections of unfinished pieces (cross stitch, needlepoint, quilt tops, etc.) go in the trash pile after there were no bidders at estate auctions....

I don't have a good answer to those questions, but I do wish people would think about such things before looking down their noses at those of us who decide to part with finished needlework.


Mother of Mayhem said...

I agree with you and appreciate your thoughtful post. I feel the same way about selling my stash on Ebay. I sell for what the market dictates it will pay. I have sold patterns for a loss, some for profit and some not at all. If my stash sells, at least my patterns are going to stitchers who will stitch them hopefully and they won't end up in a trash can. I am always amazed by some of the self-righteous comments I read about selling stash.

Melinda said...

This is such a great read. Thank you for sharing

Jo who can't think of a clever nickname said...

My hubby and I are always having this conversation! He cannot understand why someone would not buy one of the larger designs I make. I explained about copyright and how even if you just charged for materials doubled (which is the usual way of calculating a start price) it just isn't worth the time and effort involved.

Ironically, the things which do seem to sell well are really quick, simple designs on aida which are "trendy" quotes or motifs. I read an article on Anna the Stitch Bitch's page about it recently. Real food for thought.

Suz said...

I agree with you about what something is "worth." - Market, not sentiment.
I, too, have a box full of finished things, and I've kept everything that has some sort of meaning for me (so I wouldn't want to let it go, even if they're not framed.... yet?), but if I enjoyed stitching something and wanted to sell it, I wouldn't expect to make materials + labor.

In fact, the only time I would is if someone commissioned a piece from me, because then it is "work" that that's different.