I received a message recently from someone asking for lower prices on teaching fees, again. To be specific material fees that in this case are already half the price of retail. Doesn’t hurt to ask right? Maybe.

I was however made privy of back channel conversations about my fees and I can tell you that it left me feeling a little less valued in what I have chosen for work. Happens every time I get this “push back” on my fees. Which aren’t the highest and not the lowest because I try to keep it fair. I don’t undercut my peers and I don’t gouge my contracts. My materials fees are wholesale or below when it’s feasible to do so and I try to do so for guilds. For shops, if I know the product and it fits, sometimes they provide the materials. There are all kinds of ways I try to help those I’m working for.

Fair Fiber Wage??

This is why the discussion was started in the first place even if it has dissipated now. The issue hasn’t been solved. Sure there was the one big issue of the one company that had made a mess of their contract that was less than fair to a whole group of people. They fixed the problem in a very lovely way and the discussion slowly died out. Truth is though, we get these little one at a time conversations that devalue our work. This has been ongoing and I don’t know that I see an end.

Teachers just aren’t valued. All kinds of teachers in a bunch of different industries.
We’re accused of gouging or being unfair to everyone else. Few think about the service we provide, the hours we put in, the work that we do that no one sees. The teaching event isn’t just that 3 or 6 hour event. It’s hours before that. It’s hours to get there and it’s always a couple of hours after to finish up and tidy or even back at the studio or shop to get all the gear back in.

I love teaching. I just wish my work was universally valued and I didn’t have to justify my prices to so many places. Don’t let #FairFiberWage fade out. All you teachers out there, I hope you keep fighting for what’s fair.

Before I leave though, I want to point out that there are places that get it right. It’s not always a struggle. I work with so many more places that are very fair in compensation and are right there willing to help a teacher out with every thing they need. Big kudos to you places that make it a joy to be working in this industry.

Let’s go spin something, it’s getting chilly out there.

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2 Responses to Value…

  1. Sharon says:

    It is sad that there is this sad idea passed around that anyone can teach. Not so…it takes a special person with a passion for what she does to pass on her/his knowledge to others. Part of the teaching process is the passing on of the passion…I know if I want to have something that was made with dignity from start to finish I need to respect the people who made it possible. Taking a lesson in anything is always there, you can grow or not. I try to do my part by telling people why hand made is a whole experience.

  2. Susan says:

    People seem to have an idea that you can either produce materials or buy them wholesale for next to nothing, when that isn’t the case. It’s the Amazon mentality, and it just doesn’t apply to small business owners. I had a customer complain about my shipping, so o showed her the cost of postage to ship something to her, without factoring in shipping materials or labor, and I was not making any money, none. Still, she felt I was asking her to pay an “exhorbitant” fee for postage. This is what we did to ourselves when we put mom and pop shops out of business in favor of big box stores and internet giants. And it’s sad because small businesses really have so much to offer.

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