Tuesday, 23 March 2010

"I could make that"

Without doubt, the single most infuriating thing to hear when working at a craft fair. That or "I made one like that and it didn't cost anywhere near that much".

Of course it doesn't cost that much to make yourself - you probably aren't counting your time or making a profit in order to grow your business/feed your kids/pay bills/etc.

But even if none of that matters to you, and you could make it yourself, would you? Would you be able to make it to the same standard as someone who does this day in, day out, who is practiced at what they do and who has skills (and possibly tools) that you don't?

Take, for example, this wonderous shop of delight: Tea Loves Cake on Etsy

I bake. I'm not a bad baker but I don't massively enjoy it and I tend to have more near-misses than genuine hits. Best summed up in that phrase 'good, plain baking'. Fruitcakes, gingerbread, the occasional muffin. Could I make cupcakes like these? Possibly. Am I going to? Highly unlikely!

Leaving aside the impressive vegan credentials, this is just beautiful. My icing never looks that smooth and as for making handmade flowers to decorate it? I've never done it, never wanted to do it and I know my skills well enough to know just how long it would take for me to get them looking that good. Being honest here, it would never actually cross my mind to do it!

For selling, particuarly online, is all about buyer's perception and seller's presentation. When I came across Tea Loves Cake I sat there, mouth open. The cakes are beautiful. We all know that they are not a useful* purchase, in fact the recommendation to "Once you receive your cupcakes remove them from their recyclable box and store them in an airtight container at room temp. until you are ready to eat them." made me laugh because I know, in this house, that they wouldn't even make it into that box!

To sell, successfully, you have to have either something people need or something you can make people think they need. Not conning or scamming, I don't mean that, but presenting in such away that anyone who sets eyes on your wares instantly thinks "GIMME"

*in the way of wellies or a loaf of bread. Of course, whimsy, beauty and frippery do fall into the 'necessities' category, unless we're all doomed to uniformity.

So next time you think "I could make that" be honest enough to ask youself if you really would. Or whether you should treat yourself to a little bit of beauty and reward someone else for their creations?


  1. Excellent points! More people should realise this.

  2. awesome... nommy! i agree with you... i could make that is the most annoying phrase in the world!

  3. This reminds me a need to treat myself to a cupcake and soon :))))

    Fabulous thoughts, which i wholeheartedly agree with:)

  4. In total agreement here...

    And that cake looks nommie!

  5. Pfft. I could've written this.

  6. Or my other favourite . . . "You can get these for 2 quid on the market." That chocolate cake looks fabulous. I *know* I couldn't do it, nor would even try. Mmmmmm . . . chocolate.

  7. In agreement.

    I love those cakes.