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Saturday, 2 August 2014

Not giving it all away

After years of people telling me "you should sell those!" about the things I make, I have recently has some people say "why don't you give that away, why do you want money for it?".

There is a very simple answer. Time. I don't claim to be the best knitter, writer, maker or the best anything, but what I produce comes from more than 35 years of learning and investing in myself. Just as no one would expect a plumber to fix leaking pipes for nothing, why should people expect any other hand-made item to always be free - or practically given away at the lowest possible price which does not even cover the material costs let alone the labour time?

I do give a lot of what I make away as gifts. People in general don't see that, because they are not the recipients. I also spend time helping others learn to knit, sew, make etc without charging, because it is important that these skills are used and passed on through the generations so they are not lost. Equally, I pay for the raw materials, and wouldn't dream of quibbling over the prices I am charged.

It's not just in the area of physically making things that I refuse to give it all away for free. My time is precious to me, and while sometimes I might work a few extra minutes for no pay in my day job, that doesn't mean I am always going to be the first to voluteer for overtime - whether paid or as TOIL - because I have other things that I do in my life that are way more important than the day job I do. Sometimes if you give too much, people begin to expect it all the time and get pissy when you say no.

My beliefs centre on the concept of maintaining yourself so that you can then assist others. It might sound a bit selfish, but if you are not physically, mentally and financially in a good place, how can you help others without bringing the whole house of cards down? This applies to my time as well. I need time for myself, in order to function well for and with others. How I spend my own time is down to me.

So, I'm not forcing anyone to buy my items, or pay for my time, and generally people don't need to. But if I occasionally ask for some recompence, it's not because I am being greedy. I just need to balance things like everyone else does.