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I've created a line of wooden peg looms to make potholders and projects of other sizes. Read the story behind the looms and check out my etsy shop.

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Dish scrubbies & the fair pricing debate

One of the best parts of my job is the interesting people I meet. Earlier this month I had a delightful conversation with Grand Rapids knitter, Virginia Loukus, who happened to be sporting a hat embellished with a knitted dish scrubbie when she stopped by my booth at the Fulton Street Artisans Market.

As a big fan of unconventional fashion statements, I was amused and intrigued by Virginia’s headwear. I jotted down a few notes and followed up with a phone interview. Turns out Virginia really likes to knit scrubbies to use herself and sell to others. You can read the column I wrote about her and find her scrubbie pattern in the Home section of Sunday’s edition of The Grand Rapids Press. You can read the electronic version here.

Virginia inspired me to use up some of the nylon netting I had left over from a tutu project that ended in disaster and whip up a few dish scrubbies. I demonstrated how to make them (with Virginia’s blessing) this morning on WZZM Channel 13’s “Take Five” show this morning. I invite you to knit one yourself and then weigh in on the fair pricing debate. What is a fair price for a dish scrubbie? How much would you charge? How much would you be willing to pay?
Thanks for sharing your story, Virginia!

Comments

Comment from fun4Tracey
Time: June 24, 2012, 11:16 am

Having done no market research whatsoever, I would think it would be hard to get more then $2.50 for each scrubbie – maybe 3 for $5. While the scrubbies are adorable and handmade, utilitarian items just can’t be priced like baby items, wearables, or even decorative pieces at craft/art shows (in my experience).

Thanks Jennifer for your continuing good work in the arts & crafts area. I’m a big fan!

Comment from jennifer
Time: June 24, 2012, 1:34 pm

Thanks for weighing in. It’s true that people often don’t want to pay very much for cleaning supplies. I just feel uncomfortable about paying someone too little for their handwork. This then raises the question: Is this a craft worth making to sell? I personally would not be willing to make scrubbies and sell them for $2.50 each. However, I’m at a different place in my life than Virginia. My perspective may change when I reach my 70s. If the seller is content, does that make it okay to underpay for an item?

Comment from Carolyn
Time: June 24, 2012, 6:31 pm

I agree with both you and Tracey–if I were making them I would want something on the range of $3-4 for each one but as a buyer I might balk at $4, particuarly if I wasn’t crafty and didn’t know how much work went into them. But OTOH, you need to make a living, and if you can make 3 per hour, at $3 each that’s a salary of $9/hour.

Comment from jen
Time: June 24, 2012, 6:35 pm

i’d be willing to pay $4 for a scrubbie, probably more if there was something really special about it (fiber content, some tiny embellishment, etc). i realize the work involved, and that it’s made by hand instead of something rolled out by the millions in a factory in china.

items that are crafted well last longer. maybe most people don’t think about that. in the long run it’s cheaper to buy handmade, not to mention the ‘specialness’ of an item made by hand. also, when you buy something locally made, you are helping out your neighbor, so to speak, and that helps your community.

Comment from Dulce
Time: September 23, 2012, 10:09 am

Hi. I’m not sure about the pricing. Scrubbies like the ones in the photo are pretty quick to make, but then again… the time it takes you is not the only aspect to take into account. Carolyn points out that “if you can make 3 per hour, at $3 each that’s a salary of $9/hour.” Not quite. You also have to consider the materials involved, which represent a cost to the maker.
Anyway, from my experience of “making”, when you think of a reasonable price for any crafted item, if you think about the time it takes you to make it, you will never get anyone to pay a fair price for it.
The “value” of crafted items can not easily be translated into a corresponding value, in terms of amount of money, in my view.

Comment from jeannie badour
Time: February 18, 2013, 4:01 pm

Will you please post a list of all your local Craft Fairs or Markets. I live in Farwell, Mi. , but I would live to attend some fairs that have a variety of crafts. I would enjoy the road trip. Thank You

Comment from www.criterium-flynn.com
Time: April 19, 2013, 5:11 pm

You truly made a lot of excellent stuff in ur blog post, “CraftSanity – A blog
and podcast for those who love everything handmade

Comment from holdmoon
Time: May 2, 2014, 8:35 pm

One of the best parts of my job is the interesting people, i also love this

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