12/22/2009

13 Hours a Day?

It's totally feeling like Christmas all of a sudden. It got bitterly cold this week and there is that nice stillness on campus right before the holiday break. (Just as I typed that line someone started drilling right outside my window. Irony in action!) The Winter Shimmer scarf above would make the perfect accessory for this time of year. It's a mix of hand spun wool and a super soft acrylic yarn.

I came across a really interesting article on the NYT's Style Page about Etsy and the myth or reality of earning a living with your craft. It's titled "That Hobby Looks Like a Lot of Work" and it describes how some crafters have been able to turn their passions into a full time income through Etsy and other venues.

They featured one knitter who described her day as including 13 hours of knitting and then multiple other hours on-line with buyers and promotional duties. She actually has a wholesale contract with Urban Outfitters to sell her handmade cowls. She claims to be earning $140,000 a year which I wonder is gross or not. But either way I don't think it's worth it. I have spent 13 hours in a row knitting on the weekends before but I honestly can't imagine doing it every day. It would drain the joy out of it real quickly and my hands just couldn't take it. As great as the dream of making a living off my craft sounds, in reality it would likely be a nightmare.

There was another feature in the summer on Slate about the fantasy of making a living and how Etsy "Peddles a False Feminist Fantasy". I was insulted by some of the ideas implied in this article but the reality is much of what she says is true. There was a lot of controversy about this article and if you go back to the first pages of comments you can read some angry reactions from Etsy sellers.

I'm happy with were my business is at the moment. I had a great craft show season and had an increase in sales over last year which not a lot of businesses can say in this economy. I've found my place in the indie shows and my target market. I'm not happy with my Etsy shop but that is a different post. Online sales are just not my priority. I'm glad that I still enjoy my hobby but I'm thankful that I don't have make a living from it.

13 comments:

selahestelle said...

that knitter sounds like her life is too crazy! This whole crafting for dollars thing seems to really be best left for extra cash on the side, whether you are working or not.

Roz said...

I just dropped by to wish you a merry Christmas and every success in the new year!

Lin said...

I've found that any project that I do two or more of just becomes a bore. I can't imagine knitting any project more than twice before I wouldn't want to do it anymore. Imagine 13 hours a day making the same stuff over and over again! I don't care if you are getting paid $250,000, that would stink. Glad it's not me.

Karen said...

Having to make a living from my hobby takes the fun out of it. It is fun to make a sale once in awhile but I never want to HAVE to do it. LOL

Ann said...

Gosh I couldn't imagine knitting for 13 hours straight every day. I think that would definitely take the fun out of it for me.
Wishing you a happy holiday.

WillOaks Studio said...

Very interesting! I would question the money that example is listing as it's more than $400 per day, 24/7/365 and that's pretty unrealistic...and if it's $400 wholesale, what can anyone make in 13 hrs that retails at $800? Hmmmm...But I love your observation basically about finding your niche and your audience...and IMHO, THAT is the meat of the nut!! Merry Christmas (and sorry to hear St. L is cold--it's the "icy" there that used to freak me out!)

Krystal said...

I don't want to do ANYTHING for 13 hours a day. Life is balance and that is whacked.

Lovely scarf too , Paige!

Sinclair said...

I read that article as well, and I KNOW I would never be able to knit for 13 hours every day. My hands wouldn't hold out past day 3, I'm sure. Even if I could do it at my favorite coffee shop, I would need a third hand to even be able to drink the coffee! I would love to make a living from doing what I love, but it would be terrible to have that love for the activity turn to disdain.

Pricilla said...

Merry Christmas.
Enjoy what you do and that's what is important. I sincerely doubt I am going to make my fortune with goat's milk soap but I am having fun....

Kristin at My Art and the Mom in Me said...

I want to wish you a Merry Christmas..now I am off to read those articles you linked to! :)

Thanks!

Hot Rocks said...

Man,... that lady has gotta have blisters on her fingers! I know some people are successful at making a living from their hobbies, but I think most do not make enough to survive solely on the income earned from a hobby. I am not happy with my Etsy shop lately either. The majority of my sales come from shows, and personal contacts, not online. I too am thinking of changes...not sure what yet, but if you have any ideas, I would love to hear them! Have a very Merry Christmas!!

Swapna said...

Merry Christmas :)

Cindy Lietz, Polymer Clay Tutor said...

I can say from experience that making a living from your hobby, is doable but it is way more work than you would think. There is something deeply satisfying about it though. Especially as the hard work begins to pay off and you become a recognized and respected expert in your niche. It is certainly a test of endurance, creativity and bravery that gets you there. Not something for everyone, that's for sure!

 

(c) Lenox Knits, 2009|Created by NSD