I feel lucky every time someone orders one of my sloths on Etsy. When a friend suggested I put some of my holiday ornaments on Etsy in December, I never expected people to buy them, especially since there are already a gazillion super cute items there. I’ve been giving my ornaments away for more than 10 years, and hadn’t considered selling them, but my friend’s idea presented a way for me to share my joy with more people, year round.
Without giving it much thought, I set my prices low. Afterall, I was used to just giving them away. When some well-meaning friends saw my prices, they immediately calculated the amount of money I was making per hour and insisted I raise them. “Your time and talent are worth more than $4 an hour!!” They were horrified. I tried to explain that my reward doesn’t come from the money. It comes from knowing that these customers found my sloths on Etsy and want one. It comes from sharing my work with people I wouldn’t come in contact with otherwise.
These friends also said, “If you hire people to sew for you, you could sell a lot more.” How could I get them to understand that selling “a lot more” is not necessarily a good thing. Don’t get me wrong, my heart sings every time I get an order, and I hope they keep flowing in, but too many sales would ruin the whole experience, and if I hired people to make them for me, they wouldn’t be “handsewn by me.”
Why do people want to monetize my creativity? Why do they assume I want my sloths to go viral so I can make gobs of money? Is bad that I want to keep things simple, and share my joy without making a big buck?
For a few hours each afternoon I sit on the couch and sew my sloths. Sitting right by my side is Henry, my service dog. Since we are both dealing with health challenges, this is the perfect activity for us. I feel fulfilled and productive as I dream up new sloth ideas and sew, and Henry gets to do his job. Why would I want to disrupt or incentivize my peaceful little world by amplifying my brand? Maybe my friends are just looking out for me. Or maybe I’m a dunderhead.