Meeting the Makers & Discovering the Worth of Handmade with Worthsy

by Jessika Hepburn, Editor

worthsy, the value of handmade, the worth of handmade, underselling handmade, heartsy

It’s a new month and time to start a new theme! In June we’ll be Meeting the Makers, featuring stories about running a business and the creative entrepreneurs behind the brands + practical ways you can bring personality to your business. Tutorials, interviews, studio tours and so much other goodness is waiting for you this month but first it’s time for a big announcement!

I care about creatives and their incomes-in a perfect world artists & makers would be well paid but we still are living in a culture of cheap where discounts make sales. I think that is changing the more we value handmade and talk about it’s worth and I’m honored to be a part of that movement.

I’ve also got questions about money. Specifically how much money we spend on handmade work and the artists who create it. When I first heard of Heartsy my own heart did a sad little bumpthumpthump-handmade at Walmart prices? It feels wrong to me. I feel handmade should be coveted and cherished, scrimped and saved for if needed. It is more than just a thing to be owned at the cheapest possible price, it represents the creative spirit of the makers, who pour their talent and love into each unique piece. I want that to be valued. But how much is it worth?

So I thought, wouldn’t it be awesome if there was a way to auction off handmade items to the highest bidder instead of the lowest. I tossed the idea out on Twitter and Zoe of A Quick Study caught it. Together we threw the concept back and forth, Zoe used her design skills to create a site and design and Worthsy was born.

Worthsy was created as a balance to discount handmade sites that promote lowering the price of our work and to find answers to big questions for makers of handmade. What is a fair retail value for handmade? How much will people pay for one of a kind pieces? How can we price reasonably & still make a profit? Are deep discounts worthwhile for handmade businesses? Does educating about the time & value of handmade change how much we can charge? Will we pay more for more?

Sites like Heartsy can be great advertising and might get shops customers, absolutely. But at what cost? What is handmade really worth? And do you think it lowers the value of all our work to sell handmade at a discount regularly? We’ve got questions & bet you do too.

So here’s the idea:

Let’s find out how much people will actually pay for handmade while building a culture of paying more to get more. More kindness, creativity, originality, prosperity, joy-just more. Not more for the sake of having more stuff or paying inflated prices, but more in the items we do choose to buy. More connection to each other in our buying and selling & more sustainability for the economy we are creating together. Plus show off how talented the handmade community is in the process, make friends and start conversations about the value of handmade.

worthsy, the value of handmade, the worth of handmade, underselling handmade, heartsy

We are going to do it by…..

Auctioning a carefully chosen, handmade item from a featured artist each Wednesday on Worthsy. The 48 artists showcased in our first year will be chosen to reflect the amazing scope of handmade. We’ll be promoting everyone’s work and each auction high and low.

The bidding will start at wholesale price- since we think creatives should be pricing for profit on wholesale sales too. In order to show people how much time and effort goes into a one of a kind or custom piece, the listings include a breakdown of how much time and $ in materials went into each auction item.

Visitors will have one week to outbid each other & win the auction.  They will also have the opportunity to share why they love and want to own the item. Because art deserves affirmation right? That has its own value!

worthsy, the value of handmade, the worth of handmade, underselling handmade, heartsyAt the end of the auction, the winning amount will be paid directly to the seller (via PayPal), along with separate shipping costs. No fees, freebies, crazy discounts, or coupons – just handmade and all it’s cheerleaders. If all goes well sellers will make more then intended, get a better idea of what their market will pay for handmade + get more exposure (& hopefully a warm fuzzy feeling).

We also have a resource page (please feel free to submit something we missed or write a post to be included) to encourage the handmade community and our visitors to think about pricing & profit.

Want to join in?

Submit your handmade fabulousness by visiting our Suggest a Seller page. We hope you’ll join in the fun! Or if you know someone who should be charging more or just deserves to get paid more for the amazing things they create, encourage them to  submit their work. We want Worthsy to showcase the incredible talent, diversity and value of handmade artists and encourage people to pay more for it. But this is definitely a social experiment, we aren’t making any money-we’re just curious and concerned! So we’ll be looking to you to be part of the conversation and help spread the word. Let’s have a real discussion about what handmade is worth.

I’m kicking off our launch by auctioning the item (pictured in the screenshots) that made me seriously rethink selling handmade. My shop is still closed so if you want to get your hands on something I have made, just for you, now is your chance-go on over and make a bid! I’d love to know what you think is a fair retail value for handmade and the chance to stitch up something special. You can also sign up to learn more about upcoming auctions or follow us on Twitter @worthsy

As always, please leave your thoughts & ideas in the comments, tell me what you think of Worthsy and if you think it’s all worth it!