When I first opened my Etsy shop, at the beginning of August 2006, I immediately found the forums (the same day)...and since then usually spend several hours a day, every day, there. This was/is not the only forum I follow regularly, but it was the one that I used to find the most fun and the most helpful. "Used to" being the operative phrase in that sentence.
I still sometimes find out a lot of useful information there...sometimes. And sometimes it is even fun. But lately, more often than not I usually just find myself getting angry and upset by what I read. People really aren't as helpful as what it appears on the surface. Yeah, people are quick to help with basic site navigation issues, and cheer each other on for the most part when something good happens to them, and sympathize with them when times are tough. But there are also an awful lot of times when people can say things that are really hurtful, and they don't even seem to realize that they are doing it.
The topic that usually ends up having me in tears (literally) is the subject of pricing...like the one that is currently an ongoing discussion. This is not the first on the topic, nor will it likely be the last...they seem to appear at least a couple of times a month. And they usually are always insinuating that if a person's work doesn't reflect that they pay themselves at least $10 an hour in labor then their items are low quality, crap and the seller isn't proud of their work. That the seller themselves really shouldn't even bother to try and sell anything because these lower priced items are bringing everyone else's sales down. I don't think these people realize how awful, and hurtful those comments are to the person reading them that doesn't "pay themselves" that rate.
In almost all of the discussions on the topic of late, I try to make the point...without pointing to particular categories....that the buying market will NOT always support that kind of pricing methodology. Jewelry and "Fine" art maybe....but the types of things I make - seriously doubtful. In every one of the threads I've tried to make these points and my points are flat out ignored or countered with comments regarding how worthless the person is who "underprices" is.
Maybe I should try an experiment....maybe I should price all of my items using the formula of #hrs X $10 an hour...plus materials...plus fees...times 2 for retail. I'll put a notice in my shop announcement indicating how my prices are calculated, and then in each item description I'll indicate the materials cost, plus the number of hours each took to complete......that way the cost of $68 for a 5" crocheted teddy bear, and the $22, 3" refrigerator magnet, can be justified. How many of those teddy bears and magnets do you think I'd sell at those prices???? Will the people that put folks down for not pricing "what the seller is worth" buy them? I seriously doubt it!!
Sure...I absolutely want to make money...that's why I'm in business. And yes, I do take pride in my work, I make very good quality products, very much feel that I am worth at least $10 an hour (hell, I make $44 an hour at my RL job) and I am not a worthless piece of crap seller purposely trying to bring down the entire crafting industry because I won't put prices on my items that are totally unreasonable for the type of item that they are. Maybe I should go into the jewelry making business...bet I could create a lot of bracelets, necklaces and earrings in the same amount of time it takes to crochet a teddy bear or a scarf, or to hand-embroider a doll's face. And people are more than willing to pay high prices for jewelry, especially quality made jewelry...that's just a reality...society has placed a higher perceived value on a beautiful necklace than they do on a cute little bear.
So will I continue to read an participate in the forum? Unfortunately, the answer is probably yes...I'll just keep the Advil and Kleenex handy for the headaches and tears.