Something handmade is so much more meaningful
A couple of days ago there was a little discussion on an Instagram post of a doll maker friend @strangefolkdolls (you should check her out too), about doll pricing and how hard it was to do it.
I learned a lot of doll makers under pay themselves, me included of course. Why do we do this you may ask. Well, I can only speak for myself here, but the reason I do it is because I need to get noticed, I need to build followers, fans, people that like and want to collect my work. People that actually appreciate all the work and love that goes into making each doll. Also I feel like I have so much more to learn, but hey, we never stop learning I guess!
Some doll makers were very passionate about this topic, like @shaunahenryart that argued that we are artists and as artists we had to learn a set of skills that should be acknowledge and taken into considerations in the price of our work. We are also making unique pieces, one of a kind dolls. Our dolls should be considered art and as art they should be priced. I may say, I so agree with this. Now, this is kind of tricky also, because there are so many kinds of art. Some may look to you like art pieces and others, not so much. So I always worried about that. Are my dolls as good as others to even be in the same price range? Well, I have learned over these past two years, they are, or at least to some people they are. Once you find your style and put all the love, passion, time, and skills you have, the right people will eventually see your work.
The discussion kept going with people making some very valid points like Shauna again said that it is important to not underprice your work to not hurt other doll makers that do work similar to yours and cannot afford to lower their prices. I do agree with this and this is why I don’t price them too low either. Hey, this is my only job right now, so I cannot afford to make them for cheap either. I do however, raise my prices periodically mostly based on the skills I have gotten, the materials I am purchasing, and the time it takes me to make each doll. Timing yourself during doll making is extremely difficult let me tell you, especially when you can only make dolls during your little one’s naps, or when daddy is able to get her out of the house for a couple of hours. How do I get to price them? I estimate the time it takes me to make a doll. I don’t pay myself for the time I spend taking their photos, advertising them, packing them, shopping for materials, making their listings, or posts like this one for example. I just charge for the time it takes me to make a doll.
Now, this being said, I decided to take a look at my way of pricing dolls and came to the realization that there was something wrong, I wasn’t making the profit I thought I was. I have been changing the designs, adding things to dolls to make them sturdier. I’ve made new sizes, new patterns, and more details. While I was doing this I would raise a couple of dollars here and there to make up for those extra little things I was doing. I would guestimate a price for a new size of doll, etc. Yet when I sat down to actually look at my work, study it, and make a more accurate calculation of materials, and the time it now takes me to make each doll, I realized I am way underpaid so that needed to be changed immediately.
I know I’m not as well known as someone like Jan Schackelford, but my babies I believe are as special as hers (I have a Jan Shackelford doll BTW). And if you know her work, you know that my babies are ridiculously cheaper than hers. My babies are made slowly, paying attention to details and even though they are not perfect, they have been made as carefully as possible, that is why they take so much time to make. I try to make your package look beautiful, like a present, to give you some magic when you open it. I really want you to feel how special a baby Chulona is even before you open it. I also take numerous photos to make sure you know what you are getting. I pay attention to give you at least 5 different angles with at least one photo that shows the size of the doll, and like I said before, I don’t even pay myself for photos.
If you have read all of this, you probably know by now what I am going to say next. I will be raising the prices of my babies. It is not a crazy out of nowhere price raise. It is a more accurate pricing given the time it takes me to make a baby. Not Jan Shackelford prices…yet. I am still not paying myself for photos, or time spent shopping or going to the post office. I am now taking into consideration the time it takes me to design the look I want for the baby though, since this is something I do every time I make a new baby and it does take me a couple of hours to make a decision.
So, here you have it. Chulonas prices are going up, maybe at the risk of loosing some customers, maybe at the risk of not selling many dolls, but also as a way of respecting my own work and like another doll maker (@silly_kitten_design) said: to weed out the people that don’t really respect or appreciate that hard work and love I put into my dolls.
Thank you for taking the time to read this post.
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