First, it was the handmade cards, now it’s the mixed media panels and altered art. People insist on telling me that I could sell the things I make. I know it’s meant as a compliment — they’re just saying they think the things I make are good enough that people would pay for them — but…
The problem is that most people have no idea how much time goes into creating things. I can easily spend an hour to an hour and a half just colouring the image for a card like the cupcake dragon or the Easter flowers and then there’s the time to come up with the design in the first place, make any additional elements (stencilled backgrounds, die-cuts, stamping), and assemble it all.
I always take my time with projects — I make mistakes when I don’t — the idea of creating a card from scratch in ten minutes sounds like a recipe for disaster (or at least a card I wouldn’t want to give to anyone). And more to the point, I like spending time on them.
And that’s the main thing: I do this as a hobby. I do it because I enjoy it. Colouring, especially with Copics, is relaxing and satisfying. I like creating things. I like trying new things. And of course it’s nice when other people like them too.
Because I make cards for fun and not just when I need them, my stash currently has more than 150 finished cards in it; some of them get used when I’m busy or feeling otherwise uninspired, but most are just surplus. I’ve had my fun making them and I would love to sell them but…
The problem is one of value. No-one wants to pay enough for a card to actually compensate for the time it takes to make it. When my neighbour asked if I had “any cards I didn’t want”, she made a point of saying how she could pick up cards for a pound each. People generally don’t differentiate between mass-produced factory-made printed cards and handmade one-of-a-kind cards, at least not when it comes to paying for them. It’s just a card.
If I were to make cards to sell, I wouldn’t make the cards I do. I wouldn’t spend hours colouring. I would come up with simpler designs that could be made in batches with slight variations. I would make cards that I wouldn’t resent selling cheaply. And I wouldn’t enjoy it.
I will never make cards to sell. And I wouldn’t make mixed media pieces to sell. But I would happily sell the things I make.
The problem is pricing. Trying to come up with a price that people will pay and that I’m happy to sell at is a hard balancing act. (Especially when you hate asking people for money at all!) And don’t get me started on shipping costs and worrying about things getting lost in the post.
So, yes, I could sell the things I make, but I probably won’t.