I Could Totally Make That!

7 Oct

The above sentiment is often heard from patrons at craft shows and occasionally impolite folks commenting on a crafter or artist’s social media page.  A local garden artist recently had this happen to her on her Facebook page.  Mary of Garden Whimsies by Mary makes garden art, known as whimsies, using upcycled dishes, vases, knick knacks, and the like.  While the majority of the comments on her creations are very complimentary, she also receives occasional requests to share the type of adhesive she uses, and some even are so bold as to tell her that they could easily make whimsies too.  Some were actually pretty rude about it.

This is a topic that is not new but still warrants discussion.  Let’s use Mary’s Garden Whimsies as an example.  Here is one currently for sale in her Etsy Shop:  whimsy

Let’s first play devil’s advocate and say that yes, anyone can glue these 5 objects together.  Now, let’s consider it a little more thoroughly:

  • I would have to research adhesives to determine which is best for china and glass
  • I would need to ensure that all pieces were assembled in such a way to prevent the piece from being lopsided and/or tipping over
  • I would have to source the actual pieces which would likely involve a few trips to thrift stores to make the piece economical enough to make myself
  • I would need to have the talent for combining different pieces in an attractive and visually pleasing way
  • Since the vases are hollow, I would need to take great care to not leave any gaps in the adhesive, otherwise moisture could get inside the piece and create a mold issue

And these are only the factors I am aware of as a person who has never made such an item.  I am sure there are many other factors involved in making a piece like this.

As a seller of handmade goods and an avid crafter myself, this topic is not new to me.  I often see items for sale that I could easily make myself.  However, the key is politeness.  I know that it is extremely rude to say such a statement in front of the maker.  And even if I can make the item myself, I may buy it anyway.  Why?

For the same reason many of us eat at restaurants.  While we can cook a meal, we just don’t want to at that time.  We would prefer to pay for the convenience of having another person make the meal (or other item) for us.  We might also appreciate the unique style that maker brings to the item that we might not have.  We are not just buying a meal or a product; we are buying convenience.

Just like Mary, I am very transparent about how my products are made.  My specialty is korker ribbon hair accessories.  I learned to make them by finding tutorials via my friend Google.  Obviously, anyone can use Google and learn to make the same item, and that’s OK with me.  My customers are those who prefer not to make their own and prefer to purchase them from me.  In fact, since I purchase ribbon in bulk, the cost of my bows isn’t much more than what it would cost the average person to purchase the materials at their local craft store.

So, stating dismissively that you could make an item that someone put a lot of effort and love into is really oversimplifying it.  And it’s also very rude to say to that person.

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5 Responses to “I Could Totally Make That!”

  1. Sarah October 7, 2013 at 6:11 pm #

    Very well said! I hope this reaches some of the people who really need to get this message. I honestly think a lot of them have no idea how hurtful a dismissive “I could do that,” can be. And I know that not many of them know how expensive trying to can get!

  2. Go Go Go October 7, 2013 at 9:10 pm #

    Well said!

  3. Mary Mirabal October 7, 2013 at 11:03 pm #

    Nikki, thank you so much for your wonderful blog post. I had no idea you were going to do this. I truly appreciate your support my friend. Best ~ Mary

  4. Kari Adams October 9, 2013 at 8:47 am #

    Excellent Nikki, well said indeed.

  5. Kathy Spejewski February 24, 2014 at 1:42 pm #

    I’ve had the same happen to me. I’m sure anyone in the re-purposing/craft business has. I make vintage Glass Garden Flowers from re-purposed glass. Fortunately the compliments that I receive out-weigh the people who think my craft is easy. I’ve been doing this for a number of years and just recently decided to take it more public. I guess this is just part of the business. Happy re-purposing!

    http://www.facebook.com/JardinsDeCharmebyKathy

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