The other day, a friend of mine (an IT expert) said ‘A client of mine recently questioned me charging my minimum 50€ for one hour, because he saw it only took me a few minutes to fix a bug on his website. So I explained, that 1 hour was the minimum charge, because even though it only took me a few minutes….it actually took a university degree + 15 years experience + those few minutes, to be able to fix those bugs effectively and efficiently.’
Which got me thinking, putting a price on one’s process, journey or experience is really difficult.
When I meet people for the first time and they ask me what I do, I am usually asked the following questions in quick succession:
- How did you start making these toys?
- How much do you sell them for?
- How long does it take to make one?
I have the spiel down pat…
Toys were always something I wanted to do, but never had the time to invest in, when I was in Melbourne. That moving to Germany meant I could work full time on my art – which gave me the much needed time and space to experiment.
That they start at 25€ and go up to 50€, but I also have some cheaper options for 10€-15€.
Then I am usually very quick to jump to the fact that the very first monkey took many hours to complete and ended up looking like a Monkey-version of Elephant Man (I should probably frame it!). But that I now have my process down, I can make one in less than a couple of hours – if I need to. Start to finish (including packaging).
Thing is – that’s not how I make them, which is why this question is really hard to answer.
- I usually spend time choosing a bunch of socks for the next ‘batch’….including any custom orders.
- They are then cut to form, ready for the machine sewing to be done.
- I will then machine sew a bunch of new friends all at once, in preparation for stuffing and hand sewing.
- Eyes and complementary embroidery thread is then chosen.
- Then, because I take them home to hand sew in the evenings, I snap a shot of the socks + eyes + thread together on my smartphone, so when I’m home and open my sewing box, I have a visual reference of what I previously chose at the studio (what did we do before smartphones?).
By this stage, I can already see what they will look like finished!
But just so you can see, here are their finished shots….
When one starts producing something they have created – completely from scratch – the hours put into designing the unique product, the trials & errors with materials, stitches & finishing is probably immeasurable. Then after a few days. months or years – this knowledge is neatly rolled into a productive ball, to the point where the music is on and you don’t have to think about it anymore. All the supplies are at your finger tips and you can enjoy the process of combining colours & making new designs, which to me is the best part.
I have always said, no day in the studio is the same as the last – which is why I love my job. Which is why, to date, I have made over 700 monkies alone and still don’t find monkey-making boring. Although I love what I have made once it’s finished – they never cease to put a smile on my face – it’s the process that keeps me going. Maybe one day I’ll write tutorials or run classes, but for now – it’s just me, a few 1000 socks, some colourful eyes & thread – hanging out together in my little studio – making a family.