All right, dear readers. If you read last Monday’s post, you’ll know I need your help for this one. I’ve chosen a handful of items here from some of my favorite small businesses. I would love for you to take a look at these items and the “value list” I have included with each one. Then, in the comments section, leave an answer to this question: What would you be willing to pay for these items?
I met Rachael, owner of Sellwood Soaps, last summer, in Portland, when we both had a consignment account at the same shop. I immediately loved her products and sustainable business practices, and upon trying her shampoo bars, I was hooked! They make my hair so shiny and smooth. Amazing! Being in the bath & body business, I know how much good quality supplies cost and how much time it takes to make just one small batch of products. I don’t think most people realize that and are reluctant to pay more than $5 for a small product. However, what is more important that what you put on your skin and hair every day? To me, these shampoo bars are worth every penny – I’d even pay $9/bar for them. In fact, I wouldn’t argue a $10 price tag, though I realize that makes it harder for the average customer to afford. Just one of those pricing dilemmas we small businesses face every day!
::packaged in paper, not plastic
::handmade in the USA (Oregon!)
::contain no palm oil
::nourishing to the hair and scalp (containing oils rather than liquid shampoos that are mostly detergents and preservatives)
::much better for the environment (non-polluting when they wash down the drain!)
I love Gaia Conceptions. It’s one of my favorite handmade clothing lines. (Soul Role is the other.) These clothes are top-notch, beautiful, versatile and eco-friendly. I own this skirt in blue (I’m wearing it in the “welcome” picture here on my blog) and I absolutely adore it and yes, I would pay up to $10 more for this skirt. I feel GC clothing has extremely high value and I want to support businesses that are as conscientious about sustainability as this one is.
::handmade (to your specific measurements!) in the USA
::dyed with plant or low-impact dyes
::made with hemp (or NC organic cotton or other sustainable fabrics)
::items come wrapped in tissue and tied with twine and twigs (and mine came with a Gaia Conceptions reusable shopping bag, as well) – it’s literally like getting a present in the mail!
Andrea, owner and designer, also had this to say about what factors go into pricing:
- rent or mortgage for a healthy and satisfying work environment for employees.
– paying everyone from seed to finished garment a living wage – by living wage I mean $15- $25 and hr not minimum wage.
– using ethical materials – not just fabric but paper, packaging, shipping supplies, etc.
– the cost of building sustainable production systems such as green energy and water catchment systems
Yep, I own this one, too! I love this mouse pad. The design is beautiful, but best of all, it is withstanding the test of time far more than I would’ve expected. I’ve had it for almost a year, and you would never know that it wasn’t brand new. The white fabric isn’t getting as dirty as expected, and best of all, the edges haven’t curled up even a little bit. This was very well made and it just makes me smile! I would pay up to $12 for this, knowing how durable it is.
::handmade in the USA
Marcia, the owner, even makes some of these out of old vintage clothing, upcycling the fabric!
I have to admit, I don’t own this item, nor have I ever seen it in person. But I’ve been a fan of Josee’s creations for a long while now. This is one of my favorite products of hers. Here’s the conundrum: I see huge value in handmade dolls like these. But knowing we are giving them to a child to play with and they may end up in a mud puddle… I can see the problem there. However, handmade dolls have been around for a very long time and there’s always been a market for them. I mean, look at Jess Brown, who charges $180+ for her handmade rag dolls. So honestly, I could say that I’d pay up to $55 for this doll (maybe more if I was a doll collector). Here’s some more value that you may not notice just by looking at it:
::handmade in Canada, using Josee’s twist on a Retro Mama design
::made from upcycled fabrics bought from secondhand shops (Josee buys the items that are too damaged to be resold in their original form and turns them into items like this!)
::prewashed in biodegradable soap
::t-shirt remnants are used for the hair and shoes, for their softness, rather than buying brand-new felt fabric
::19 1/2″ tall – this is a big doll!
::double-sewn seams for durability
::hand embroidered details
I don’t own any of Keri’s line (yet), as I just *met* her via my shop a few weeks ago. But you know I love to support my fellow Oregonians, so I asked her if I could include her shop at the last minute. She gave me quite the run-down on how her jewelry is made. I had no idea how time- and labor-intensive the process is! And some of her products, like the ones pictured, sell for a mere $7.50. That’s a lot of time and work for $7.50! I appreciate the competitive pricing, but I would not balk at a $9 or $10 price tag for these little charms.
::handmade in the USA (go, Oregon!)
::lots of time and energy go into these charms! (see the complicated process here)
::durable – well-made jewelry withstands the test of time
::silver is from recycled sources whenever possible
::silver scraps are collected and recycled
::orders are mailed in paper, not plastic and do not include wasteful paper receipts
::expensive fine silver is fused over sterling silver to reduce the number of chemicals used in the jewelry-making process
Thank you, dear readers, for taking the time to look through this very long post! If you have a moment, please leave a comment here about the product that caught your attention. Do you think the price is too high? Too low? What value do you see?