Homemade Sin

homemade sin

Okay, I’ve been sitting here for a bit, letting this little piece of supposed wisdom “sink in,” but it’s not working very well.

Let me explain to you why a company can charge $700 for a purse made in a factory.  It’s because people are willing to pay $700 for a purse. That’s why.

Not me. I’m not an idiot and I wouldn’t pay more than about $10 for a purse, but then, I’m the type who buys one and uses it for the next 20 years.

Louis Vuitoon
Louis Vuitton purse, priced at $9,250

But that’s why they can do it. Somebody buys them. If somebody doesn’t buy them, then you can bet your sweet bippy they will have a sale.

As for the rest of that silly meme, it’s “sin” to charge $35 for a handmade purse?  Or a handmade anything?  Since when? Where? Who made that proclamation?

First off, what is a “sin”?  It’s a religious word, invented by religion, with no meaning in the secular world at all.  It doesn’t apply to business.  Jesus does not care what you charge for your handmade stuff on Etsy, I promise.

But more than that, people will pay whatever they think your stuff is worth.  Frankly, the factory made purse is probably more durable than your handmade one. They have heavier machines to do the work. In addition, there is status involved. Your Etsy purse from “JDB Corner” doesn’t have any status.  It does have a monogram, and scalloped edges, which you might think is pretty (or you might think it’s hideous). Louis Vuitton does have status, quite a lot of it. That might be some sort of statement about the values of the consumer, and Vuitton is definitely not my bag,  but that’s the way it works whether you like it or not.

Bag from JDB Corner, via Etsy, priced at $40

I think I’m probably a fairly typical consumer. I buy some stuff from places like Etsy or from local artisans. I buy some stuff that is pretty high-end, simply because I want whatever it and don’t mind paying extra to get it (for example: I have one of the nicest grain grinders made – I could have gotten a cheaper type, but I wanted the good one).  And most of the stuff I buy is in the middle of the road.

To get my dollars, you have to convince me that what you’ve got is worth what you’re asking for it.  Do that, and we’ll do business. Fail to do that, and I will go elsewhere.

I thought Joe and Nicole were all about the free market?


16 thoughts on “Homemade Sin”

  1. Brilliant post! This blog is fast becoming a fav!! Thought provoking posts, intelligent comments and discussions. And even learning new things on a variety of topics. Keep them coming, Blessed Little Blog!


  2. What a ridiculous cartoon meme. Patently untrue. A well made handmade item can be very expensive. Many of my friends are artisans and their goods do not go cheaply. There have been and continue to be many “cottage industries” whose sole purpose is to make handmade items. Ever owned lace made by French nuns or a handmade leather saddle? Most high quality items that I choose to spend my money on are handmade. That is my preference. Just because it is handmade, however, doesn’t mean it is of quality or is something the market desires. There are manufactured items that are cheap and manufactured items that are expensive. Designer goods are status symbols for some. It is a matter of supply and demand. Free market, and all that jazz.


  3. Thirty five dollars, at least where I live, is a very low price for something handmade— at least if it is quality, and people know that. And they pay for handmade things they like, are unique and will last. Handmade sweaters go into the hundreds of dollars, Amish quilts, linens, high quality glass objects and ceramics.
    If Nicole is talking about the unfired ceramics that her kids are painting, no, that is not quality handmade. Those are cheap ceramics made from molds. While the kids enjoy painting them, the end result does not compete against quality handmade items, but are things that parents and relatives enjoy and bring the child pride to see displayed.

    Regarding $700 purses: yes, they are very expensive, but may be a bargain to someone used to paying a few thousand on a handbag. It’s all relative to your wealth or need for status. That said, there is no question that factory made Louis Vuittons are of impeccable quality. Most items like purses and shoes, watches, cars and perfumes—-one you pass a certain price point—are without comparison.

    The comparison between handmade and factory made is absurd. I have bought handmade items that were exquisite, and those that were dreck. Same with factory made UNDER a certain dollar amount. If Nicole feels people don’t appreciate and want her $35 handmade whatchamathingies, perhaps she needs to assess whether a) consumers like that item at all (taste), b) whether is it made well (quality), c) whether the price was justified.

    I’d buy a couple of bows for my kids or animals. Not sure I’d spend $35.00 on them though.


  4. If you really want to sell your stuff for big bucks, perhaps displaying it with a pregnancy test result on it (which involves urine) is not the best strategy.


  5. One of the aspects of buying some things, is people buy based on emotion…and the perception of how does it make you feel. Think about all the marketing techniques. For instance, Super Bowl commercials. The thing with handmade items and price, I am more inclined to want to buy handmade and expect to pay more when it is unique, personable, quality craftsmanship. Something that I cannot buy from a mass produced outlet. For example, handmade soaps. Where I can choose ingredients, scents and so on, personable to me. You know what, I like designer purses. Because of how it makes me feel to have one. But I shop for designer purses at consignment stores. And makes me feel even better! lol. But as for a handmade craftsman, just need to develop your “branding”. Find a price point your potential customers will pay. And know the best outlet to make your item available to your potential customers. And most likely, they will come! On another note, getting rather amused at the memes she posts. For an introverted person, seems rather guaranteed to light some debating discussion. hee hee!!


  6. Not everything that is handmade is worth as much as $35, nor is everything that is handmade worth $5000.

    I should know. I have a County Despri saddle that retailed for over $3000 but I purchased it for $500 at a saddle shop that sold used goods on consignment. I won’t part with it until someone pries it from my cold dead hands. The quality of the leather and workmanship is fantastic.

    Sometimes, things are worth what they’re worth. Anyone can market their item for whatever they wish.

    As an example of marketing overcoming availability, the artist who successfully marketed used SALT LICKS for thousands of dollars apiece made myself and everyone else who has horses, cattle, goats, sheep, etc. wanting to hit ourselves on the head with ball peen hammers. Those aren’t $20 mineral salt blocks that are soon in need of being replaced. Nope, those are little gold mines. But they aren’t because we haven’t made the connections and put in the time to make people BELIEVE they’re worth thousands of dollars.

    Pity. I can really use the money and would use it wisely. Or at least be more generous with the largesse than either Joe or Nicole have been with their windfall.


  7. Salt lick art! Who knew? And, Tekla, I’m guessing that you already share your paycheck and other resources with your family. You are very welcome to go buy some bows tho, if you want to spread your wealth around more. I know where you can get some!

    You say you would use money wisely, and I’m not challenging you in a fb war, but, if you were to set up a gofundme scam…just how wisely WOULD you spend any donations? Just what is your plan? How would we know you were accountable? Would you share info with the donors? Really? It would probably make them feel all warm and ready to contribute more if they believed you made good use of their $$. Right now, I’m kind of wondering just what do you mean by “wisely”? You might have some ‘splaining to do about that hypothetical gfm. Lololol!!

    BTW, The N’s are choosing their lifestyle, as is their inalienable right, so don’t go criticizing how they spent that gfm$$$ windfall, ok? Hater.


  8. All kidding aside… one of my jobs in a previous job was to research, write, win and monitor grant funding. Competition was always stiff and the application/evaluation process tedious. A $45,000 grant award would have been appreciated by my organization.


  9. Hi Bill – I know about grant-grubbing myself and the headaches that go along with writing them. In my little world, most of them are awarded to people who use them wisely and well. Every so often though, someone in the field is awarded a grant and no one can figure out how they accomplished it. I figure that every so often a committee is caught on a weak day, or someone mistook one grant for another and then approved its award to the wrong party.

    Naw…I don’t do GFM. Every so often I waste a few dollars purchasing a lottery ticket. Then I can spend a pleasant evening or two planning how to take the money (cash, up front), then hiring a friend of mine I’ve known since kindergarten who happens to be an attorney to help set up a trust, then represent it to collect the cash (and how much money he would be paid annually to administer the trust), what would be done immediately with some portion of the money and the 5-, 10- and 25- year plans for the money. How much would go to charities or private foundations and which ones (my money, I would get to pick), how to invest it so that hopefully the principal would never be tapped but it would grow at a moderate pace, etc.

    I love playing those games. Then I go about investing in my retirement account, putting a couple of coppers aside into savings, paying my bills and generally making a nuisance of myself with the family (turn that off – energy isn’t free; if you’re cold put on a sweater; if you’re hot, go in the basement – no, you may NOT touch that dial!). I pay the electricity bill, it’s in my name, so I’m Keeper of the Thermostat.

    No, I don’t purchase bows to adorn my animals or my children (even when they were little rather than less than a semester away from earning their Master’s degree), nor would I purchase clumsily painted roadside quality czaczka even if they are being sold by sad-eyed orphans wearing rags and standing in the snow. Sorry Naugler parents, I may have just blown your 2016 plans for a roadside stand.


  10. Happy new year! I’m enjoying this blog. Incisive writing and commentaries.

    In Tekla’s post above, I think he/she meant “tchotchkes”? (pronounced TCHOCH-KEEES). Yiddish for: “small piece of worthless crap, a decorative knick knack with little or no purpose”


  11. Hey Tekla, I hope you win the lottery! Your plan looks solid 🙂 Congrats on those college kids! You did good!

    [Admin: Sorry. I know there is some interest in all this, but Nicole’s business is off limits here as subject matter.]

    Lots of speculation in my numbers, so I could be way off, but where I live, that income would not be sufficient for housing, clothing, feeding, educating, transportation/insurance and providing medical/dental care for 13 people. There would be no money left for developing a homestead.

    I believe that the gfm $$$ is gone. They need more money.


  12. “tchotchkes” derives from an older Polish word – Yiddish tshatshke, from Polish dialectal czaczka

    I figured it would be fun to mix it up a little. Linguists are sprinkled throughout the family and sometimes these things stick.

    No, $45,000 (net) wouldn’t be sufficient to take care of 13 people unless the home was owned free & clear, in addition to having a well-planned garden with a really good year, etc. Even doing things on the inexpensive side doesn’t mean things don’t break down and no, good mechanics don’t barter expensive work for food. They have overhead to pay too, insurance, wages, taxes – all sorts of stuff.

    I would be surprised if another GFM campaign would result in as much money being given to the family. Of course, now that people are simply sending money to the POB and presumably cashed at a bank branch and not deposited directly into a Naugler account. If that’s the case, it’s a shadow economy. I still don’t think it’s nearly as much, but who knows.


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