Odds and ends
This morning, when I looked out of my living room window, I saw something quite magical. cascades of leaves were swirling by my 6th floor window. Usually, we are a bit cut off from the wonders of nature. The trees only reach as high as the fourth floor, seeing those dancing leaves just made my day.
Now I’m changing the topic to that of money. Many years ago when I began doing this work, someone who had been in the business of making stuff and charging for it told me that I need to figure out an hourly fee for my time, figure out the cost of the materials used and then double that price to get to a wholesale price. One doubles that price to get to the retail price of an item.
I sort of follow that practice, except that I charge my clients the wholesale price, rather than the retail price for an item. So, yes, I know I undercharge for my work.
Last week I was contacted by a potential client about making a tallit for her daughter. She suggested a price range that I found to be really, really low, even by my standards.
So, I decided to do a bit of sleuthing on the internet. I soon saw that the price this potential client was talking about was the price one would pay for a factory made pseudo- crafted tallit.
Why do I call such tallitot pseudo-crafted??? Because they are churned out by the thousand each one identical to the other. The prototype may have been made by hand, but what you buy from one of the may Judaica outlets on line or in a bricks and mortar store have all been factory made.
I am not going to rail about how crafts have been degraded in the past few years from the category of useable art. to something that just looks like it was made by hand, but is in reality factory made. That degradation of craft makes me quite sad.
The work that I sell has all been made entirely by me, either as a one of a kind piece or part of a micro-batch, and is in fact in the old sense of the word. You won’t see another that is identical to it. The work that I do is the end result of a long conversation with my clients and hours of work on my part.
There is no factory in China. There isn’t a workshop full of assistants. It’s just me working away on your piece, solving problems as I go about my work.
You can certainly buy an attractive ready made tallit for not very much money. For just a bit more money, you could own a piece that is made with thought and with care, for you.