Tuesday, May 4, 2010

On A Serious Note

When I made that bright-yellow-fabric-with-a-house-on-it (what a name) cushion cover, I copied the design by Poppy Treffry from her book Free and Easy Stitch Style .

The first time I held the book in my hands I was already falling in love with everything about Poppy and her style. I knew right away that its the concept and style which have been inside of me all along, like the time I made the felty crafts and the time I sewed the cover for my sewing machine and during that time I hadnt found and discovered about Poppy and her book yet.

Poppy showed me the way to do it better using a sewing machine and I love her for that.

I know its going to be along way for me now from this first few steps in free styling and I also know that I would have to find the creations and designs of my OWN soon before I can proceed further ; but InsyaAllah I know I will reach there and I know I can.

Actually we all can. We the Malaysian crafters, we should be able to believe in our own talents and our own efforts. We have to think and create something that is outside the box. We have to learn to put more values in ourselves. If only we can be together and have the same vision with high standard of work without undervaluing ourselves .. we can make a difference.

Let me just highlight to you these photos of the cushion covers with the value the designers put in their creations in terms of price and compare to the value we all put in ours. 

I am not asking that we too should put our products at exorbitant price ... but then if we really value our work, talent and time ..  we should surely know where our price should be.

It ll be great if you can come back to me with your thoughts and lets just have a healthy and clean discussion on this.

and yes I know one of you will say that these cushion covers are based on the already expensive fabrics used and that they are all Bangsar's price  ...  but still ...

we dont have to agree on everything ... and you dont have to agree with me but at the very most we should at least agree to disagree....

Thank you



rosh said...

The price, huh? it reminds me of d cushion cover i learnt at pondok craft. i did it! i did it! i did it! my cushion cover is ready to be used. All the effort, time...sheer hardwork...it's nothing! my very first masterpiece (not really 100% sewn by me though!) is there. It's PRICELESS....

Yati said...

Mahalnya cushion sampai 240. Cushion kecil cross stitch saya jual RM50 je. Itu pun ada orang complain mahal.

balkhis said...

anique...i do agree we must appreciate our own talent for good or for worse ..

i do agree we should value it to its highest level ..but that doesn't always mean the highest price tag

in fact if we value it so much..why must we sell it? keep it to treasure for generations to come

and if we care for it so much...we should always care to share with others..and that by selling at good, affordable price ...or even put it as a giveaway (ehemmm...make sense or not? especially on that 'giveaway' part)

hehehe...looking fwd to see what others have to say

Zura said...

I concur! Handmade should not be undervalued with extremely low pricing. This will only make people associate handmade with CHEAP, whereas the time and effort put on making and producing even 1 item is so valuable! Very low price would get orders pouring in but then we don't want to become mass manufacturers rite?

I noticed many fellow local crafters who also blog tend to write unnecessary put-me-downs of their own work (which are usually very beautiful) such as "Taklah cantik sangat..." or "Yang saya buat ni taklah secantik/sekreatif/sebagus so and so...". I totally understand the humble nature of our people but I think it's about time we should be proud in what we do, and really BELIEVE in our passion and abilities, don't you think?

At work I conduct business courses for government servants interested to venture into small business. I always stress on the need to BELIEVE in your product and what you're offering. This is because I tengok rata-rata our people have the passion and enthusiasm, but lacking self esteem. We should all embrace the fact that it's not easy to create stuff with your own hands. Beating the machines that are mass producing is a huge feat and we should all give ourselves a pat on our backs for having the gift and ability to do it! Handmades carry much more meaning and have soul in them, we should be properly rewarded for our effort.

Having said all that, I still feel my pricing is low even if relatively (among Malaysian crafter/blogger), quite expensive. Looking at the price those local artisan put on their pillows really put me to shame.

Sorry panjang pulak tulisnyer but this has been on my mind for quite sometime, I just didn't get the right opportunity to spill it out. Thanks for this post Ann! :D

Ayu said...

I think Zura has covered most of the thing of what I wanted to say.

Rosh...yes..your cushion cover is sooo beautiful. Well, I'm not saying this because you come & learn from us but it is beautiful. Your choice of fabric is solely your own even I couldnt pick the right combination. Well done..pls jangan stop kat situ saja.

OK..back to the topic. Being in this biz on a fulltime basis, my sis & I did come across ppl who complaint tht our bags or quilts are too expensive. Our stand is simple..you like our product & willing to pay for it..you are welcome to buy but if you find it too expensive.tak apalah..mungkin boleh beli kat org lain. I don't mean to sound arrogant or being a biz person yg terlalu mementingkan keuntungan. But whether you are doing this fulltime or part-time..you still have to charge people for 'time' & 'exclusivity of your unique design'. But most crafters calculate their price = Cost (of fabric) plus margin. Tapi sepatutnya cost =fabric+time+design

Why do people attracted to your handicraft in the 1st place? I'm sure it is because they find it beautiful & unique. Something tht they know they can't find it elsewhere. Because of this reason, I dont think there is anything wrong for us to put a premium value for being unique.

We hv sold a quilted bag worth RM500, a baby handmade bag of RM250, baby quilt RM250 & even a queen size quilt worth RM1,200. There are some ppl who are not willing to pay this much but believe me when I say there are still a lot who doesn't mind.

We just need to start educating ppl that if they value the uniqueness of our design..then they shd be willing to pay the price.


My Botang said...

interesting discussion topic and 2 different point of views..
how low/high can you go when pricing your unique handmade items?? i think it depends on the target audience/customers/society that surrounds us..a small wristlet might be priced at RM20 sold in a bazaar locally but priced at USD20 on Etsy..

Another thing that i find amusing is when i see beginners just starting out, and mostly just copying whatever is out there (getting free patterns from the many tutorials available online) who still haven't found their niche and still need loads of practice in improving their skills i.e fabric matching, stiches quality, etc but have the courage/confidence to straight away start selling their stuff and claim the pattern as their own.. i suppose this might contribute to mismatch in terms of what is REAL quality and pricetag for unique, quality handmade items..

Azaidris said...

Wow! Memang serious...even comments pun serious.

I agree with Zura & Ayu. However..i myself pun tak berani nak letak harga2 tinggi...especially when my handmade look the same like others'..though actually they are not as i make sure i use the best materials for my stuffs-inside out. They may look the same from the outside but..inside..definitely tak sama..

Lgpun kita (malaysian) belum pandai nak appreciate handmade. Ingat senang ke nak jahit esp pakai sewing machine biasa...
Kalau part yg lipat2 tebal2 tu..seksa nak jahit. Huhu..tensen mak kekadang tuh.

Well, until i can make/design something that people don't see everywhere mcm cendawan tumbuh..then only i would price them accordingly (material+TIME+ CREATIVITY).

Till then..terpaksa la underpriced je...

btw, i think u should go for it - making those lovely cushions (and SELL too).Definitely OOAK ;)

DiahRothman said...

All this I found, is just of pricing course ..... as we dearly value all our hand made products.

After 10 years in this line (more on teaching than selling) I gain little, but found new artisan friends. That is it, my course (always argue with hubby about my low prising..) Maybe not fair to those doing business, but we know what we wanted out of this. My pricing is my treasured gift!

And conclusively, I agree we should consider our prising and value the effort put!

TiniHani said...

wahh serius isu nampaknya. adakah saya terlewat nak komen, hiks..
its remind me on last weekend smses btween ann n me. we, malaysian still in the early stage on crafting, still in copying each other to sell our products.

we can see to many so call CRAFTER.. but look at their items its feel so sad.. they to brave to sell their items without looking at their quality. but who are we to underestimate them. buyers play the important role. either they looking for quality or price. when it comes to price, they looks for more cheaper. so there go our quality and downgrade the malaysian crafter value...

after all as i said to anique.. anything n everyhing we need a baby step.. if not, we will go anywhere... hope we can find our specialization and niche. good luck everybody.

at least we can enjoy our craft product. :P

ahhh tetiba nak panjang gak macam zura...