We offer a collection of unique, hand-crafted metal, wire & semi-precious gemstones jewellery created individually in our design studio in Stamford, Lincolnshire. We also cut and polish semi precious stones and other rocks (Lapidary). We accept bespoke Lapidary, Jewellery making & Wire Sculpture Tree commissions. Do Visit our website & Online Showroom: www.shaliniaustin.co.uk

Sunday, 27 November 2011

It's not just a hobby!

It is our Livelihood, it is our Business, it is what helps to pay the bills!

Yes, this one's going to be a bit of a rant!

One of my artisan friends recently mentioned her experience at a (fairly large) Christmas craft market where a lady spent a lot of time looking at her work and then said "Hmmm Nice Hobby" and walked off.

And then I saw this on facebook "Well you must have a lot of time - you obviously don't work!" on a page called Kirsty Elson Designs- another crafter.

Probably not spoken by the same person but  it's this attitude from a lot of people that really gets to me sometimes! It's not just a hobby! In my case it is a part time business, but its a part time business that keeps my dogs fed and pays my monthly utility bills! And occasionally allows me to go to the pub and have a drink with my friends.  I work hard for it and I earn it!... AND pay my taxes on what I earn!
[UPDATE 01 October 2014: It is now my full time job! So along with the dogs and utility bills it now pays my mortgage and ALL my bills.]

For a lot of other crafts people I know Its a Full time job! This is what pays all their bills, the mortgage, buys the food and allows them to live independently and not clog up an already overstretched Job Centre because there aren't that many jobs out there anyway! Is that alright? Or would you prefer us to go on job seekers allowance and be unemployed?

It's called being self employed!

Perhaps this lady would have been happier if my friend had been working in a local factory making the same things at less than minimum wage? And then she would have happily bought it from a big name shop at twice the price my friend was selling it at? Would it then be a job and not a hobby? Would it then be classed as working for a living?

"working at a local factory..." Oh wait there aren't any!
"job..." Yes lots of them about and the streets are paved with gold and pigs have taken to flying!

And anyway we like being self employed, working for ourselves and earning a living from the talent we have. So don't patronise us with this hobby, no work blah blah blah clap trap!

We work hard, hand-make things and sell them so we can earn enough to feed ourselves and keep this economy going. How you ask! By spending that money we work hard to make just as the "Market Forces" demand that we should! Most of us are not rich and some of us fit into the "starving artist" category but you know what? We enjoy what we do!

OK so this post has now reached a stage being a rambling rant... and I have no idea where it will end up or for how long I will keep typing. So I am going to make some jewellery I can sell at my next craft fair!

And just to prove that not everyone is a total moron with the attitude mentioned above by two people, I had a message this morning from a prospective customer (Self employed and an artisan) which restores my faith in people and in my ability

"seriously the work that went into it, and you remembering I needed longer, please list it honest price and I shall buy it! I knew it was for me the second I saw it!"

And that is the reason why I am self employed and so are a lot of other artisans and this is why its not just a hobby!

12 comments:

  1. Good rant. We have all had the comments, and yes they do make us angry, even though we of course have to remain polite at all times, however rude someone is to us grrr.

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  2. Awesome! I completely agree. I had someone ask me why my pieces were so expensive... so I said well you know I charge myself a set fee of £15 per hour for each piece that I create and that £15 includes my time, materials, utilities, petrol, shipping fees... etc... and she freaked out that I was getting £15/hour to which I replied well I have a Bachelors Degree in Fine Arts so I should be atleast making £15/ hour... and she says wow I wish I could make £15 an hour I am a building assistant and made £6/hour... BAH!

    I love your post. I do this full-time and I finally make enough to support myself fully. :)

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  3. Thanks for your comments Sadie and Eve. It's not always easy and its a lot of hard work but hopefully the mind set is going to change.

    It will take time but staying positive! :-)
    Shalini

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  4. So true, your post says it all!!! If it wasn't for my crafting & Vintage fairs, I wouldn't have met the 2 people I work for , and would be unemployed!! I had the choice to become self employed, so I took it : ) x


    Sharonxx

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  5. Great rant, I completely agree and applaud you x

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  6. Thanks for commenting on my blog Sharon & Lissy Lou. Good to know I am not alone in my sentiments. We just have to carry on spreading the hand-made and self employed messages!

    And perhaps also the message that respecting what people do is important!

    Shalini

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  7. *hurrah* well said, dearest Shalini!

    I am so tired of people asking me "so what do you do for a real job?", some 4 years on after making a decision to go self-employed. I've never worked harder in my life!! (and boy, I put in long hours when I worked in the City!) ... and quibbling over prices really winds me up a treat!

    So well done for so eloquently sharing your frustrations, dear heart - carry on with your amazing work (both in the community and in your wonderful business) and shine your light brightly!

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  8. Thank you lovely Callie for your kind words :-)

    If more people just understood the meaning of the word respect I would have no need to ever have a rant I think...

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  9. Well said Shalini, your work is of the highest quality and I am proud to have several pieces in my collection and look forward to having more in the future. I am not creative or an artisan but I do appreciate the hard work and love each and everyone of you put into your work. It would be awful if we didn't have such beautiful hand made pieces to purchase and I for one am a very grateful and a happy customer. Amanda :)

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  10. Thank you Amanda :-)

    You are creative! You always find new ways to help other self employed people like you and you share information. Your support is always appreciated.

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  11. ... and breathe..
    followed a link of Daves, don't let the bastards grind you down! :-)

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  12. Thanks :-)

    Nothing can keep me down for long...

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Thanks! Shalini