I have been quiet as of late on my Etsy and Facebook sites… My sewing mojo had been stymied.
Some may find this rant a little offensive, so please be warned.
So, as I have been surfing around the wonderful world of Etsy.com and Artfire.com looking at all the wonderful handmade items. I have come across another professional pet peeve… selling a PDF list of suppliers as a “tutorial pattern”! The worst part is people have actually been buying it! HELLO! seriously? You will pay $5-8 for a list of suppliers that you can google in 10 minutes or less? Though I applaude the Etsy sellers for banking in on something so simple, they are making a 100% profit, good business sense. but SERIOUSLY?
I can tell you, if you are truly interested in where I get my supplies. Just ask, I’ll tell you… heck I’ll probably even throw in some coupon codes if I happen to have them at the time. Heck, I’ll even happily share where I get my non-homemade patterns!
This brings me to my all time personal pet peeve… the consumer. Yes, this is a broad statement, but true nonetheless. I could go on about personal experiences since becoming a small business owner, but I think I will go with one huge example. A very recent, front page of every major news source example: Target.
Each year this major retailer has decided to pair with a high end fashion designer to offer low budget apparel and housewares. Am I the only one who finds this incredibly demeaning and insulting? Not to mention the fact that the items they offer are considered “low cost” but are still out of the price range of the average american families budget???? So now they are insulting our tastes by offering knock-offs, and demeaning our ability to appreciate quality and uniqueness, but then they have to rub it in that our hard-earned-barely-above-minimum-wage-college-educated-salaries can still not foot the bill?
YET CONSUMERS HAVE FLOCKED TO THE STORE, WAITED IN LINE AROUND THE CORNER, AND SOLD OUT! YES SOLD OUT THESE OVER PRICED KNOCK-OFFS. I Googled how much a pair of womens tights are… $16 for one pair. ONE PAIR of poly-nylon tights! What is even worse… these items are so craved by the american public that people are selling these items on Ebay for up to 10x the retail price. If you are going to pay that kind of money, you can afford the “high fashion” designs!
What is fueling this stupidity? the consumeristic nature that has become 2011. We want what we see those with fame/power have. You know, no one needed a “bump-it” until Snooki was televised… Gone are the days that each person made their own personal twist on something in fashion, now it’s in style one week and off to the thrift store the next.
I guess I can just enjoy seeing everyone walking around in their zig-zag stripes, it will make me feel like I’m at the circus!
I know things come and go in waves, becoming a small time retailer in the last year has shown me this. What the most popular brands/sellers have, every one else is soon to follow. It is truly hard to keep up with the ebb and flow, especially if you have not found your own niche. What makes it even harder is when you are constantly receiving questions like: why should you expect someone to pay $X amount for this item when they can get a similar item at Walmart for less?
So yes, my biggest pet peeve is the consumer. Gone are the days that items are appreciated for the materials, time put into them, construction, and how long they will last. All that is wanted is mass produced, made in China/India/Vietnam crap, for “cheap”. The only problem is, what is considered ‘cheap’ is actually more expensive in the long run… just look at the unemployment rate, food stamps, medicaid, and other government funded public sources that are covering the consumers drive for the ‘cheapest’ price… This drive for the “cheapest” or the best “deal” is what originally drove suppliers, industry, and jobs overseas!
I hope that $3 T-shirt from Walmart, that fell apart in the wash after 5 cycles, was worth the trillions in debt.
I know how much my private sales mean to my family, they have helped fill in the gaps what both our full-time jobs no longer are able to cover. So when ever possible I attempt to play it forward, so to speak, and make ever purchase count.
So no thank you Target, Walmart, or Kmart… I’ll stick with my Etsy designed over pullover hoodie that I purchased using my first sale profits from my Etsy store. Or my awesome feathered headband from another Etsy/Facebook seller who can put food on her table… Or my unique butterfly ear pieces that came all the way from a Canadian Etsy…. or my daughters brand new squeeky shoes from a locally owned boutique that happily sells local designers work… better yet I’ll proudly sport my Oscar De La Renta shirt I happened across at a local Hospice thrift shop… atleast I know the money I dropped there went to help a family through the last days with a beloved family member.
We can’t always afford to buy local, or even american made (american made electronics? hah!), or boutique. But we can decide where our hard earned dollar can do the most good. We can also decide where our influences lie.