This fall I had a studio helper.
My dear young friend Elsa was between high school and a travel adventure.
I lived with Elsa and took care of her when she was two. This is a picture she drew of me some time in Elementary school. I am knitting.
Elsa asked if I had any yard work or babysitting for her while she was in Bellingham before her trip.
I thought it would be more fun to practice being a boss.
Naturally Elsa is someone I want to continue nurturing. So I offered her a fair wage for some odd studio helper jobs a couple hours a week while she was in town.
When I broke down my solitary creative process into repeatable tasks and teachable skills I had to acknowledge all the little steps that go into the animals and hats. I usually think of the time it takes to make something only as the time I am sewing at my machine. The sewing time is perhaps only half of the time it takes to make an item.
For example, it takes me a few minutes to cut a brim for a hat. I think nothing of it. But when I had Elsa cut all the brims at once, it took a couple hours.
It was really nice to have someone work with me, to chat a little and ease the strain and boredom of some of those repetitive tasks. I still have a lot to learn about being a boss. But after letting someone into my private work space and trying to explain how to help, I feel closer to providing a meaningful job in my community.
I want to treat anyone who works for moth and squirrel with the same respect and fairness that I would show Elsa. I realized at my current prices, I couldn't actually hire an employee and provide tools they would need to use like scissors and a second sewing machine. And I really wouldn't be able to give them a paid vacation or sick days or health insurance. I certainly don't provide any of that for myself right now.
So I looked at what I make and a closer version of the true time cost to make it. I need to raise the prices of my stuffed animals.
Starting in November baby whales will be $25, small animals will be $35 and larger ones will be $45.
Come by the Farmer's Market this Saturday to grab a few for the holidays at "October Prices." Or Click over to etsy for baby birds and whales. And thank you for your support as I grow into a truly sustainable business.