Self Promotion or Self-Aggrandizement?

I decided, after several suggestions from friends, to start an Etsy shop.  It isn’t a big deal–I just listed a few extra knit items I have and the lip balm I make.  I’m really not convinced my stuff is actually good enough to charge people money for it.  When friends and family say they like my things, I always assume they are just being nice.

I have trouble setting prices.  As anyone who knits knows, if I actually charged for my time and materials, no one would  buy my knits due to the cost.  I recently listed a baby tunic in my store.  This one piece took me two years to complete because I struggled with the lace pattern, the small needles and the lightweight yarn–it wasn’t something I could do with other people in the room, or with regular interruptions–I had to count stitches! I kept putting it aside and coming back to it.  I probably made and remade the thing 6 separate times.  If I used minimum wage to determine the price, not even including materials, the cost would be in the hundreds.

fiona

The million dollar baby tunic

Last week  I was asked specifically to make something for a friend, and I did–so why did I feel ashamed specifying a price?  She didn’t seem to think what I asked was too much.  Other items are relatively easy to make, so I feel stupid charging people because they could seriously make them themselves.  Yet my sister-in-law says that even if they could, not everyone would, which is why a pair of boot cuffs (that take about 2 hours to make) sell for $20-30…and people actually pay that.

I had a conversation with a friend this weekend about how hard it is for me (and her) to self-promote.  She has to as part of her job, so she’s learned, as she says, “to fake it to make it”.  However, I am definitely passive aggressive in my approach (writing a blog post about it? Soooo passive aggressive!).  I’m confident in other areas of my life, so why am I having such a hard time with this?  Other people sell their crafts regularly, and I don’t think anything of it, so why do I care so much?  Is it a Midwest thing to feel like promoting myself is actually self-aggrandizement?  (By the way, I would never mark my own post as “super-awesome”–why is this even an option, WordPress?) Since I am trying to work through this,  I am going to go ahead and link this post to my Etsy store, SixthStreetKnits.  And blush while I do it.

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Who else struggles with this?

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4 thoughts on “Self Promotion or Self-Aggrandizement?

  1. Two thoughts, Jenny. Keep promoting yourself! I struggle with it, too. And-I’m so glad you are blogging again-I love reading your writing. Oh, yeah, one more thought–keep being inspiring, you etsy city counciling community garden teacher bad-ass!

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  2. i wouldn’t buy it if I didn’t like it. nor would I blow smoke up your ass. as for what to charge, at MINIMUM, you need to cover your material costs. beyond that, it’s a passion for you. what the harm in just putting it out there. see if someone bites! I LOVE YOUR STUFF. and your passion and love shines through in your products. be proud of it. xoxo

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