Worthsy: How much is handmade really worth?

Jessika Hepburn, the new owner of Canadian blog, ohmyhandmade.com along with Zoe of A Quick Study are launching Worthsy today, as stated on their site, "it's a response to sites like Heartsy and Groupon that encourage purchasing handmade at low prices. There are so many opinions and questions in the handmade community about pricing and discounts of these sites, and they wanted to find out more". So they created Worthsy as an experiment to see. Each week they will feature one carefully curated, one of a kind, handmade item up for bidding with bids starting at wholesale price. Make the highest bid and it's yours! Click here to find out more!

Jan Halvarson


Anonymous said...

How does Groupon encourage buying handmade at low prices? I've been using Groupon for a long time and have yet to see this.

Jessika (Oh My! Handmade) said...

Thank you so much for sharing Worthsy here on Poppytalk Jan! I've been so inspired by your ethics and creativity, this is an honour.

@anon Groupon deals work similarly for indie businesses or artists as Heartsy deals do. The seller offers a discount of between 30-60% or more off in exchange for the chance to reach a larger market. With Groupon the seller also pays a percentage to Groupon for each deal sold. In many of the stories/experiences I've researched the seller typically ends up loosing money and not gaining customers willing to pay full value for their work. They often end up putting out a lot of work + time for little value.

Here's a couple posts about Groupon deals/creative business:


Anonymous said...

I understand how Groupon works, but I failed (still do) to see how it is the cause of sellers losing money. It's not Groupon that's encouraging this - it's crafters who are using the wrong approach that are shooting themselves in the foot. Obviously Groupon wasn't made for these kinds of things. Maybe that's what you guys mean, in which case the statement, "sites like Heartsy and Groupon that encourage purchasing handmade at low prices" should be reworded. When embarking in this kind of marketing, it is the seller's responsibility to research what is to be gained/lost. The photographer's situation in your second link has nothing to do with Groupon - he made a dumb mistake by giving an 86% (?!?) discount. This is pretty much what indie consignment shops force artists to do if they want their items in their shop.

That said, I do think this is an interesting project and am looking forward to witnessing how it goes. I just think that sometimes the handmade-sphere needs to be objective and not always ardently side with the crafter/indie business and automatically hiss at the big corps. Between this and the Truche debacle, I think it's important to do your research.

candice said...

because of Groupon I buy from places I didn't before, and when I like them I continue to purchase from them and at their full price. if the product is worth it, people will buy it. I don't see a problem with a little marketing. besides, when it comes to handmade there's an increasing number of us out there that see something and say "I can make that myself" and refuse to pay outrageous prices. so should the people offering free patterns and crafting skills be put down for informing too many people of how to diy, since knowledge drives down the demand for some-one-else-made?

Mod Nest said...

Love this! What a great idea. This "experiment" is going to be wildly successful!

It's about time the tables were turned on this subject!

Jan Halvarson said...

Anon - Whenever we have opposing anonymous views, we question their origins - if someone is invested enough to write, then please own the comment.

There isn't anything worded wrongly here - What we're saying is "There are so many opinions and questions in the handmade community about pricing and discounts + the ethics of these sites, and they wanted to find out more".

In referencing the UO debaucle - as we already mentioned in our UO post and comments, we did do our research. It was our opinion with the subject, just as you have your opinion.

But please own your opinion.

Anonymous said...

You're questioning my origin? Let me just say that I don't work for Groupon or Heartsy (which I've never heard of), nor am I a "troll." If you don't value anonymous comments then there is a choice of removing the option or not publishing them. Despite being free to have my own opinion, I'm not going to risk my name and character being tainted because others can't handle opposition. I've seen it happen to other artists who leave comments that, while respectful, don't favor the side crafters are "supposed" to be on and get attacked. There's no reason to invalidate my comments just because I'm anon - it's very fallacious (and easy) to claim I'm hiding behind my anonymity because I have an agenda other than presenting another sincere viewpoint. If all I said was how great this project is (which I do believe), would my position still be questioned? I'm not being disrespectful.

"There are so many opinions and questions in the handmade community about pricing and discounts + the ethics of these sites, and they wanted to find out more". See, this I completely agree with, but that's not the same as claiming Hearsy and Groupon are encouraging buying handmade at very low prices. They simply offer a marketing service for businesses and it's up to the sellers to figure out whether or not it will be worth offering something through Groupon. I'm a crafter and I would never use it for my business because I know I would get the short end of the deal. There are much better ways to market for an indie business and quite frankly I don't think that Groupon goes with the handmade ethos anyway. But again, it's the seller that's encouraging others to buy his/her work at cheap prices, not the service administering the discount.

I'm not going to keep beating a dead horse, but there where a lot of gray areas in regards to Truche/UO that I think were not addressed. For the record, I haven't shopped at UO since way before all of that happened because there are plenty of reasons that go beyond them ripping off artists to boycott them. Anyway, I don't mean to come across as defending Groupon, but imo it's more effective to address why indie businesses feel the need to use those types of marketing approaches rather than making faulty claims that it's the service causing sellers to get duped. Worthsy is definitely going to be interesting and I love its premise.

Erin Dollar said...

I think Anon is missing the point somewhat. Obviously, it is each seller/organizations right to put their work up on sites like Groupon and Heartsy, even if the result is less than profitable. The problem is that sites like that can often promote the idea of never paying full price for things you want, even if you respect the artist and love the product.

Many artisans in the handmade community believe they have to compete with larger companies who can frequently discount their wares. Shoppers see handmade items that they love, but are used to the constant sale cycles of big box chains, and have unrealistic expectations for what they should pay for handmade. Hopefully a site like Worthsy can help people to reevaluate why it's OK to pay full price for the things we love, and more fully support the handmade movement.

lesley [smidgebox] said...

i love the Worthsy idea, i think it is fabulous. i am not going to weigh in here about the copying/uo debate, and am not going to make a big statement about heartsy/groupon, but what i do think is that handmade is still often SO undervalued. too many crafters and artists aren't charging what they're worth, and yes, while that can be seen as "their problem", it is also a huge fear-point for many artists, when pricing, wondering where the tipping point is that they can still make a living, attract buyers and have people follow through with purchasing items at a fair price. If they go too high, will they risk losing buyers, and too low, so they won't make a living?

I still always toil over pricing, and I know I am not the only one. I applaud jessika for striking out to see what handmade can be worth, and having people see exactly how much time/money/heart is involved in a one-of-a-kind piece.
and to jan + earl, who always support and shout out for handmade, thanks for posting about worthsy! can't wait to watch it unfold.

Jan Halvarson said...

Anon - I never said your point isn't worthy. All points are - and another reason I'm publishing this. I just am surprised that with such a strong viewpoint you would want to stand behind it and feel proud to.

We are proud to stand behind ours.

I should also note, I never said anything about all handmade people are right - just as not all large corporations are.

And maybe you're right, I should change the wording in the post, as the post is not necessarily our viewpoint but the viewpoint of Worthsy's.

Anonymous said...

Erin - I'm not missing the point at all. If so, I wouldn't understand why something like Worthsy will be a valuable project for the handmade community. "The problem is that sites like that can often promote the idea of never paying full price for things you want, even if you respect the artist and love the product." What are you basing this on? This just sounds like a generalizing to me. Who are the people you are referring to? Low income, wealthy, middle class? Some people need services like Groupon to help get things they want, and others can always afford handmade, which usually comes at a steeper price. There is the issue of affordability.

Crafters can (and often do) have sales. There is no need to feel like there is competition with big box companies because that's a whole other realm. I always thought that one of the special things about crafters/indie businesses is that even the marketing was done from the heart. Anyway, it seems like this discussing has evolved quite a bit and I don't want to keep prying if at the very least no one can see why we need to talk about these kinds of things rather than just push the monetary value of handmade.

Jan - Believe me, I would reveal myself but I have a feeling that I would get heavily criticized by the handmade is better brigade. I've had my business for years and don't want to risk losing support over this.

Worthsy - I didn't mean to detract from your wonderful efforts. I will be following the progression of this project and I'm excited to see where it goes and its findings.