Designer and Teacher Compensation

This is an interesting area and when needlecrafters make the leap from Hobby to Business, they do not always think about how their compensation affects their business. And of course, needlearts being warm, fuzzy and cozy we just don’t like to think that way. But we have to. If we want our Local Yarn Stores to survive, they must use good business practices. If we want our favorite Designers to still be designing 5 years down the road, they must use good business practices as well…because the expense to get a well done design into a pattern leaflet is too expensive to do otherwise. You just could not be able to afford to stay in business.

On the end of the consumer, when we are taking classes or purchasing things at our yarn stores and we see coupons we love it. I love it, so does everyone else. If you have a teacher, and whomever is sponsoring the event offers 50% off the class…that can really affect the income of that teacher. I was appalled to read about this on a post at Wheat’s blog. To offer a 50% coupon, and then have that taken out of the compensation of the teacher is just not ethical. Especially since the shop is also making money off of the purchases of the student. When a teacher has their expenses barely covered for getting to a location, and that is it….I’m sorry that doesn’t fit the warm fuzzy cozy bill in needle-arts. Some people care about everyone but the person who is bringing them the class!

Without teachers, where would we be? Granted there are areas where people don’t have classes and they learn through books and the internet. But the ability to go to events or to Local Yarn Stores and attend a class where you are able to learn techniques, styles, types of knitting that you may not otherwise have exposure to is priceless. We should not be greedy but fair. How sick would you feel to find after traveling somewhere to teach a class and after a day of labor (or more) that you ended up working for free? That your travel was covered is customary, but because of discounts offered without talking to you, you were left with little else after paying for your travel.

That is why there are contracts. We yearn for the good old days when knitters just shared knowledge. Yeah, well, they were not flying from other states to do so either, to teach Fairisle or other complex types of knitting. Times are different now than they were 100 years ago too. Knitters didn’t have great yarn stores to congregate in for their classes, either. Those stores have upkeep (lighting, staff, insurance, bookeeping, other utilities). Those knitters didn’t have the selection of yarns available to them either that you have in a yarn store. It takes money to run a business, and if they do not earn a profit they cannot remain healthy and stay open for business. They didn’t have Designers or Teachers who had some credibility traveling to them either to teach them techniques or what have you either. That takes money too. If those individuals do not get compensated for their work, they will have to find work elsewhere. Can any of us afford to work for free? I wish I could, but there just isn’t enough resources in my wallet or strength in my body. I have bills to pay and responsibilities at home to take care of. I have to bring in a certain amount to maintain a level of independence in my business or I cannot do it. I know that is true for others as well. They cannot take food off of their tables or clothes off the backs of their families to feed our passion for our craft.

Peace and Knitting, JoLene Treace

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One Response to “Designer and Teacher Compensation”

  1. KathyB. Says:

    I very much understand and agree especially with your last 6 sentences and say Amen sister! I would also like to ask you if I may quote them in a blog post at some time ? I would let you know when and if on preview you would like me to withdraw the quote I would. I cannot think anything I would write about crafting and expenses should be offensive, but would most certainly honor your request . ( if you allow me to quote you)

    I have a bit of trouble pricing my fiber creations , because I am prone to lower my prices when someone seems outraged or just indignant about my pricing. However, my fiber products and art start with a lamb , the result of my breeding program..and I feed my flock of sheep, care for them, process their wool…and end up with yarn and rugs and weavings..and yet I am a dummy as I sell for very low prices. Well, no more. I have to feed my sheep and my family as well! Very good post.

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