Letters from Lucy: August 2019Master Saddler Suzie Fletcher on BBC's The Repair Shop.
I wonder have you ever seen an episode of BBCs “The Repair Shop”. If you haven’t, I highly suggest you do. A team of experts (and yes there’s a master saddler!), restore and refurbish treasured items. Not only will you pick up lots of tricks and tips (trust me you will) but you’ll also be reminded about the value of things.
Most of the items would mean nothing to you or me: a rusted pair of wire cutters, a bedraggled toy tiger or a beat-up old clock, they’d most likely have been chucked into the bin and never thought of again. But, during the big reveal of the refurbished item, everyone ends up on the verge of tears (and some even do have a good old sob) because to these people- these items are precious. Their value far outweighs their worth.
You’ll see many people asking “how much should I charge for this” and the usual comments section of “Wow that’s way too much no one will buy that” followed closely by “you’ll never make any money at that don’t even bother”. Other advice is the cost of materials plus your hourly rate, but then how do you work out your hourly rate and it all gets very confusing after a while.
The material cost is always an easy sum- it’s what someone’s charged you before you even start- but when it comes to charging for your time, we all tend to let hard lines blur. As makers it’s best to remember not only do the things you make have value, but your time is the most valuable thing you’ve got. Once it’s gone, it’s gone: so, value it!
No matter how many sums you do I think many of us still have a lingering doubt on what the price should be, especially when you’ve poured your heart and soul into an item (and your bank balance is crying). I’d love to say I’ve got the ultimate formula, but I haven’t- I’m muddling around like many of you. So, with time being so precious, don’t waste too much on worrying who charges what compared to you. There will be many valuable clients walking through the door who will value you and your work and that’s what really matters.Till next time