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Am I a hobbyist?

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  • Am I a hobbyist?

    I've seen hobbyists mentioned a number of time on the forum now, usually in denigrating terms! So I thought I'd ask, what is a hobbyist?

    Now I considered myself a hobbyist, mainly because I'm very new and a beginner at what I do. I'm still very much learning and enjoying doing that, making mistakes as I go. However I am HMRC registered, test my toys to CE standards (after a meeting with Trading Standards who had a look at what I do), so consider myself a legit hobbyist!

    When it comes to selling what I produce, I charge what I would buy it for myself at a craft fair. I cover my costs and make a little profit on top. I only currently sell locally. I have read that some consider this unprofessional and undercutting, but I would not make any sales at all if I were to sell at the same price as other more experienced sewers who have a large customer fan base and sell internationally. I have to start somewhere.

    So, am I hobbyist, a new business or somewhere between the two?
    Liz aka bigbirdlittlebird

    http://www.facebook.com/BigLittleBird
    https://twitter.com/little_bigbird
    http://www.bigbirdlittlebird.co.uk

  • #2
    You sell so therefore - you are a business

    A hobbyist is some one - like many of our members, who make for fun or family and friends.

    A Grannie who knits for her grandchildren is a hobbyist - but if she sells her knits she is a business

    Sounds like you are someone who has a hobby that you sell:-)

    Jane
    www.just-soaps.com
    Twitter JUSTSOAPS
    FB www.facebook.com/pages/Just-Soaps/258910018463
    Natural Handmade Olive Oil Soaps and Skincare free from SLS, Parabens, and other Nasties

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    • #3
      Originally posted by bigbirdlittlebird View Post
      I charge what I would buy it for myself at a craft fair. I cover my costs and make a little profit on top. I only currently sell locally.
      The question is, the price you would be willing to pay at a craft fair - is that a fair price? The price you should really be charging is the price the item is worth, taking into account materials plus your time. If you aren't doing that, then the price isn't realistic and you are undercutting people who do it for a living and have no other income.

      It makes no difference whether you sell internationally or only locally - a fair price is a fair price.
      Daesul

      http://www.clairemanwani.com
      http://www.folksy.com/shops/clairemanwani
      http://www.etsy.com/uk/shop/ClaireManwaniPottery

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      • #4
        I always think of 'hobbyist' as someone who isn't registered as self employed - they trot out the 'I only do this as a hobby not as a business' to try and justify the fact they haven't registered.

        As someone who is registered AND complying with CE standards I'd say you're definitely a new business as you are ensuring you're doing everything correctly and above board. You're still making a profit on what you sell and personally I think you're justified in not charging as much as the more experienced and skilled sewers (I don't mean that in a mean way) - often in the world of business you do pay extra for experience and reputation....and hopefully it won't be long until you're counting yourself as one of them
        Visit Natty Netty for a huge selection of Iris Folding supplies

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        • #5
          If you are selling you are a business, however, as said you should price correctly as under pricing makes it appear that craft should be cheap plus does not endear you to other crafters at the same fair. Think of it another way would your prices sustain and income if that was all you were earning? If not and you could not live on the profit then yes you are under pricing. When you then need to earn proper money your customers will wonder why your prices have doubled. We may sound mean but when trying to put food on the table and pay bills very hard when sitting next to someone at a fair making and selling as a hobby as customers look at the price not always at the logistics.

          You are registered with the HMRC which means you are a business and you should be proud to state that and charge accordingly

          I agree with Netty when starting out you cannot charge the same as someone with experience but do not undersell yourself too much
          Last edited by Caroleecrafts; 23-01-2013, 01:03 PM.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by Daesul View Post
            The question is, the price you would be willing to pay at a craft fair - is that a fair price? The price you should really be charging is the price the item is worth, taking into account materials plus your time. If you aren't doing that, then the price isn't realistic and you are undercutting people who do it for a living and have no other income.

            It makes no difference whether you sell internationally or only locally - a fair price is a fair price.
            If I was to charge min wage for my time as well as the costs on top I would never sell anything and that would be the end of my business.
            Liz aka bigbirdlittlebird

            http://www.facebook.com/BigLittleBird
            https://twitter.com/little_bigbird
            http://www.bigbirdlittlebird.co.uk

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            • #7
              Originally posted by bigbirdlittlebird View Post
              If I was to charge min wage for my time as well as the costs on top I would never sell anything and that would be the end of my business.
              Exactly! That's why undercharging gets up the nose of people who actually do it for a living.
              Hobbyists per se are not denigrated here.
              www.steampunkkaleidoscopes.com
              www.steampunkrelics.co.uk
              If you think you can do a thing or if you think you can't you will be right. Henry Ford

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              • #8
                Originally posted by bigbirdlittlebird View Post
                If I was to charge min wage for my time as well as the costs on top I would never sell anything and that would be the end of my business.
                If we did not factor in time how do you expect us to earn a living? How do you know you would not sell? How do you think the rest of us get on? If I did not factor in my time when costing, I could not afford to live what is the difference?

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                • #9
                  Are you saying I should just end my business then?
                  Liz aka bigbirdlittlebird

                  http://www.facebook.com/BigLittleBird
                  https://twitter.com/little_bigbird
                  http://www.bigbirdlittlebird.co.uk

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                  • #10
                    To me a hobbyist is someone who makes things to sell and uses the label to try to justify not registering as self employed paying tax NI, product insurance etc. If you are doing all that and are prepared to work for little or nothing then you are running a business albeit not a very profitable one. There will still be those who will be critical as you will do it cheaper than them but that is and has been a constant argument for ages ( many moons ago men criticised women in work as they did it cheaper for pin money,even these days the Eastern Europeans are denigrated for working here as they are perceived to do something cheaper than the indigenous population
                    Pat Murphy


                    http://www.gladturnings.co.uk
                    https://www.facebook.com/GladTurnings.Woodturning

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                    • #11
                      I have just posted a comment on the other 'hobbyist' thread which could just as easily have been attached to this one. Here is the link http://www.craftsforum.co.uk/showthr...d=1#post562156
                      Carol
                      God helps them that help themselves.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Caroleecrafts View Post
                        If we did not factor in time how do you expect us to earn a living? How do you know you would not sell? How do you think the rest of us get on? If I did not factor in my time when costing, I could not afford to live what is the difference?
                        To be honest I'm not concerned with you earning a living (sorry). I don't do this to earn a living, I do it for enjoyment, to learn a new skill and to raise funds for charity that is close to my heart. I know I would not sell as I know who my customers are locally. If I were to venture online and sell internationally, I would then reconsider my prices, but locally no-one is going to pay what some others have charged online. I would love it if people did pay more as it would raise more funds! But I have to balance what I do against what people will pay.
                        Liz aka bigbirdlittlebird

                        http://www.facebook.com/BigLittleBird
                        https://twitter.com/little_bigbird
                        http://www.bigbirdlittlebird.co.uk

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                        • #13
                          Thank you Critchley that's a very interesting post.
                          Liz aka bigbirdlittlebird

                          http://www.facebook.com/BigLittleBird
                          https://twitter.com/little_bigbird
                          http://www.bigbirdlittlebird.co.uk

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                          • #14
                            Exactly Pat. A friend of a friend makes similar dolls to me and sells them just at cost, so is cheaper than me. I just feel good luck to her really.
                            Liz aka bigbirdlittlebird

                            http://www.facebook.com/BigLittleBird
                            https://twitter.com/little_bigbird
                            http://www.bigbirdlittlebird.co.uk

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by bigbirdlittlebird View Post
                              To be honest I'm not concerned with you earning a living.
                              Nice.
                              And you wonder why people who do crafts to pay their mortgages and bills are disparaging towards hobbyists?

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