10.09.2008


For those of you who know this blog well enough, I'm sure you've noticed my distraction lately. Perhaps what hasn't been apparent, is the reason for distraction. I'm pretty tired, I've been working my health insurance providing full-time job (see bullet point 1), going home and working my full time passion job, keeping my home as a home (which means things more like being loving and communicating rather than cleaning and housekeeping), and generally working my ass off. Let's clarify some key points, shall we?
  • A job without passion is tiring itself. I do that tiring job 30+ hours a week, but let's examine some other things I do, shall we?
  • What sort of art have I been making? Lessee--Peer, Calendars, communicating with consignors, running my etsy shop, etc.
  • As an artist, I have many different aspects to art making. None of them provide me with luxurious living, but everything I work on is meaningful to me. That means I give it proper time and attention, and I don't make crap to make a buck.
  • Making crap to make a buck just adds to the landfill later. Definitely against my better judgment and my philosophy in living. And crap art is easy to part with.
  • Important art is priced accordingly, though barely at an amount that makes significant profit. I don't charge $30 for a mass produced item that originally costs me 19 cents.
There was a guy at Renegade that wanted to haggle with Jess about a price. So consider the fact that here and many places elsewhere in the world, there are strict laws on minimum wage. Assuming my honesty in saying I don't make crap, that means there are stacks and stacks of drawings and images that never make it out into the world for sale. This takes time.

Then there is the actual piece that makes it, that I'm excited about and ready to share.

So it gets scanned, and manipulated until it will make a nice, archival print. Let's not consider the equipment and money I've invested in that equipment to get a nice, archival print.
But there is time and energy making sure I produce work with high-quality inks (no, I can't buy them at Target), I research both the environmental quality and the longevity of the paper (paper is a terrible pollutant), there are proofs and issues worked out once the printing begins, then I have to spread the word about these new pieces available.

I look into fairs and shows to do, I crunch numbers to see which method of sales will be most worthwhile. I research, I brainstorm, I package, I sell.

I am product development, producer, advertising and graphic design, communications coordinator, tech person, marketing department, consignor liaison, shipping and receiving, customer service and more.

And while I love etsy for all it provides for me, it doesn't provide the outlet I seek for a more stable living as an artist, so I pursue that non-moneymaking aspect of art simultaneously. I love it, sometimes I gripe about the process, I'm sure, but if I didn't truly love it I wouldn't do it because I'm damn sure I'm not in it for the money.

When I offer discounts, I do it because of kindness or excitement to share what I do, but I don't do it to promote some crap I've got too much of, like a 5 for a dollar coupon for some generic soup.

I certainly don't go shopping somewhere and ask for the clerk to take a pay cut so I can get those 5 cans of generic soup for 80 cents instead.

So who in their right mind thinks they have the right to ask an artist for a discount? Thank you for being absolutely rude by telling me my time (as well as the 24 other artists who were involved) that your money is more valuable than my time and my (our) talents.

Perhaps if you understood the value of the individual, the local economy and the investments associated with independent sellers, you would understand that you've just emailed me out of the blue to ask for a cut of my livelihood. While you might think it's funny and acceptable, I think you're audacious and infuriating, Ali.

Perhaps you'll read this before you send someone else an email like the one below that you sent me, and it will save you some embarrassment, but I have a feeling you still can't even begin to fathom what's wrong with being cheap and tasteless.
"like the coloring book --- any discounts available -- i collect coloring books -- saw it on notcot......
$50 coloring book --- what economy melt down ? sorry for being smart ass ;))))"

13 comments:

jess gonacha said...

WOW. wow wow wow. This has really got me thinking about, well, everything. (ps- thanks for reminding me about that guy! grrrrr... he was awful!) i'm so sorry you got that email. hopefully the people that appreciate and understand the "$50 coloring book" far outweigh those that don't. I think you rock and are incredible, and don't you forget it!!

sk8ordiehard said...

oops--sorry for the reminder. he was awful. I'm steaming over this guy, too.

modish said...

oh Renee! I have noticed your distraction and was wondering what's wrong, but now I see it's just the daily grind gettin' in the way, along with putzy emails. All I can say is, I know exactly how you feel! And it sucks. And you're a wonderful talent and an inspiring artist- I'm constantly amazed at how you do all that you do, with a full time job too!

sk8ordiehard said...

aw, geepers, you guys are making me blush!

katek said...

Huh. It's funny, I have felt so blessed by Etsy, as a buyer, by my new ability to connect with artists and find (i think) exceptionally reasonably-priced art to fill my home with. I guess I almost see how that e-mail writer thought "coloring book" and then "4.99 at Target" but if they really collect coloring books I'd imagine any worth collecting cost far more? Because they are art books? The book has prints from 25 artists in it! $2 an artist! GAH. I am just amazed by the gall.

And again, I really appreciate that I have gotten to "meet" you and other amazing artists and purchase your lovely work. It is very much appreciated, even more so now that I'm taking a drawing class at the MFA School and am realizing more each day just how hard it is to find a style and voice for your work, etc.

I feel like I'm not expressing myself well. I am sending calming thoughts your way....

misti said...

There was a post on Ravelry a few weeks ago regarding a request on etsy for someone to make a sweater for under $10. Everyone on Rav went nuts and couldn't believe someone would ask such a thing.

I think some people don't know the time and effort that goes into handmade items. I have looked at it in a whole new light. It also depends on the item and what I am going to use it for.

I just can't believe how snotty the person writing you was.

krystyn said...

I hope you didn't waste your energy on a reply. What an idiot. "Yeah, I have a discount I reserve especially for people who like coloring books but don't want to spend $50."

Sigh.

If it makes you feel better, I get emails all the time from people who want me to make websites for free. Luckily, someone also sent me this, so I don't have to think of a nice way to say it.

http://canyoumakeafreewebsiteforme.com/

;)

daisy janie : scoutie girl said...

I have a folder I keep in my inbod entitled "audacious questions" - b/c if someone is jerk enough to ask once, they'll certainly ask twice. I keep track of them and my responses - it has helped in more than one instance (had to get a cease & desist letter involved for some copyright issues....).

People........

Beth H said...

Renee,
Your work is amazing; Ali is an idiot who doesn't know anything about making stuff, obviously. I love what you wrote about the email - Amen, sister!

Ali Kamper said...

ok, my name is Ali, but i'm a chick. what a jerk!! however i am so glad he was so rude as it led to your highly entertaining blog. thanks for the laugh, and i hope his cheap @$$ gets what's coming to him. p.s. found you on "quit your day job - chocolateandsteel

TD wool design said...

i had someone ask me for a discount at a show. actually they asked if i could "do better on the price". i was blown away, at first thinking it was a joke, because i guess i couldn't imagine someone asking that. when i realized they were serious, i could only mutter, "no" and shake my head in disbelief. makes you wonder. yay! for your post.

TD wool design said...

forgot to mention. i purchased Peer. it arrived last week. i don't collect coloring books, i appreciate art.

sandy said...

hi renee - haven't stopped in lately but just read your post about discounts. i can't begin to tell you how many people come in and ask 'how firm are you on your prices (they could go up!), do i get a discount if i buy more than one (maybe if you are buying everything in stock), if i pay cash do i have to pay tax (um - YES),' etc. galleries do sometimes offer a discount to customers buying more than one piece of artwork but that is usually after a long conversation and large dollar signs (such as a gentleman that bought 4 pieces by one artist last month - we gave him a little discount).

in many cases i have noticed that customers wanting a deal don't really need the break and those that can't afford it but love the work are willing to buy it at full price. i believe it all comes down to respect!

another crazy question i get - 'do you make all this?'