Monday, January 14, 2013

On the Internet, everyone is an entrepreneur

I cannot count the number of times I have seen this: Random Gal learns to crochet on Monday.  Wednesday she's asking advice on how to perform some basic task, like decreasing.  Friday?  Friday, she's announcing the opening of her Etsy shop.

And no, I am not truncating the timeline for effect.  I've seen it take as long as two weeks and as short as three  days, but there is always a blisteringly fast move from novice to professional.

I use the latter term loosely.

Maybe I am being mean here.  Maybe I am allowing my own experience learning to crochet and to knit, and my experience teaching my daughters these handicrafts, to color my experience.  Perhaps we are just ridiculously slow to catch on.  Perhaps these people who go into business almost immediately are some sort of prodigies.

But I doubt it.

See, making anything by hand is about 95% skill/knowledge and maybe 5% art/talent.  And like any skill, it takes practice to become not just perfect, but even competent.  If you can't produce quality, consistent results, you have no business being in business.  

It is hard to be honest with yourself, though, and admit you might not be good enough.

This is, of course, the same no matter the craft or product.  Amazon's Kindle self-publishing has opened up a whole new marketplace for wannabe writers who don't have the first clue what to do with a comma, much less the meaning of words like plot and characterization.  Getting into cloth diapers taught me that there are a lot of women out there who buy themselves a sewing machine and are magically transformed into diaper manufacturers.  (One memorable story involved a dirty sock used as a layer in a diaper.)  I'm sure there are men out there who wander into a Tandy Joe Schmoe and walk out thinking they're Dennis Badurina.

And this whole thing cheeses me off.  Why? Because cheap and shitty products bring down the market for actual artisans.

See this?

This was made by my friend Marie, of Marie's Crocheted Creations.  She crocheted that sucker (it's Tunisian, also known as afghan, crochet, in case you are wondering) by hand.  And I don't know if this was made for sale or as a gift, but I can tell you she's sold afghans similar to this for over $200 before.  Which is as it should be.  Because it takes a hell of a lot of skill and knowledge and time.

Stuff like this just cheapens the market for all of us and makes it harder to be taken seriously.

(And for the record, I've got no dog in this hunt.  I'm not selling online right now.)


kx59 said...

$200 for that afghan is a deal.
She should ask $400 at least.
And, I am not a cowboys fan, nor a redskins fan...not a fan of professional sports period, but that is a professional piece of work right there.

Riebee said...

THANK you KX.. but no.. I don't want to charge too much for these. this one went for $125 because it was for a friend to give her son (Skins fan) and daughter-in-law (boys fan) for christmas. Her other son has one that is all redskins. He's an announcer for the Skins here locally.

thank you again for your kind words. :)