Skip to main content

Banner Sponsors

Teddy Bear Academy - Online teddy bear making classes
Johnna's Mohair Store - Specializing in hand dyed mohair and alpaca

Carolynn Teenytinyteddybears
Posts: 444

A funny thing happened yesterday and I was wondering if it ever occurred..... And I am not getting at anyone, just ME.

I have been making a little bear for a friend. She is not a collector or anything and I think that is where my problem comes in. This has happened before and I dismissed it. Now it is worrying me.

Ok, so back to the bear. He is about 2 inches tall and is turning out very well (I thought). Redesigned his face and was happy.

THEN... My hubby and I got identical netbook bags so I thought I would hang a teddy on mine, I don't want to use one I have spent hours making. I found a whole bunch of mass produced key chain bears for $0.70. Ok they are thread jointed and stitching not that wonderful. But now I am wondering why I go to all the trouble.....

Also want to start selling and how do I justify the amount I want to charge, which will be over $0.70.

I suppose one answer would be not to give a hand made bear to someone who possibly wont appreciate it.... but now I am really feeling down.

desertmountainbear desertmountainbear
Bloomsburg, PA
Posts: 5,399

Dear Carolyn,  How does any artisan compete in a mass produced world?  I am a collector of fine crafts, I have been for many years. I can certainly spot a beautifully made basket, made by a master craftsman among the mass produced ones, and I will pay for that craftsmanship.   Your little keychain was most likely mass produced in some factory on an assembly line.  It can not compare to one person pouring their talent into a bear one at a time.   There are many collectors who cannot make their own bears, that want handmade bears, that will pay for them.

I rarely give a bear to anyone.  I have an aunt who bids on every bear I list on ebay.  She has bears I made back in the '80's.  I give her a bear every year for Christmas, because she is a collector.

I make bears because I love to.  When I sell them I do not think about the time I spent making them, if I did no one could afford them.  I think about the quality of the work I put into them, that I think can be seen.  That is what people will pay for.  When I purchase handmade items that is what I look for and will pay for.


Carolynn Teenytinyteddybears
Posts: 444

Thank you Joanne. I have been thinking about this so much. Perhaps I should stop the giving away thing too... perhaps that is (to me) what is undervaluing my bears.

I do understand what you are saying about paying for craftsmanship, and I would certainly never argue that everyone deserves to be paid for their talent. Perhaps my problem is trying to get appreciation out of someone who just does not understand.

tuppies teddies Tuppies Teddies
Lindenow, Central Gippsland
Posts: 1,969

I am of the same mould as Joanne, I create and make bears because I just love to.
Each bear I create is like a journey as he or she starts to evolve.

I do not have in my mind " I wonder how much this little one will fetch".
If someone purchases a bear of mine it does a lot for my self esteme and I am happy that the bear collecter will have a little bear that no one else has got.

If I get enough money to buy more bear stuff, ie  fur, eyes, etc I am stoked.

I don't take into consideration  my time when I price them and this is my choice..

Carolynn Teenytinyteddybears
Posts: 444

Denise, I had been feeling the same. I also love getting home made gifts. To me it means so much more than someone nipping out to buy something. But when what you have created can be compared to a key chain????? I thought I was doing something really special, and now just feel flat.

Us Bears Pennsylvania
Posts: 1,479

Rule #1:

Any job worth doing is worth doing well and a job well-done is its own reward.  If a job isn't rewarding, then it's not worth doing.

Rule #2:

People value most those things that come at a cost.


I do graphics and video work on the side.  I've got a very good computer setup at home.  It cost me a lot of money but is a fast computer with all software I need.  One reason I take on odd jobs like this is because I want to recoup part of the cost of the computer.  I don't make a lot of money doing it because I don't intend to make this my main occupation.  Not, now, at least.

The second reason I do it is because it is an extension of my real job.  I am the technical manager for a theater.  I operate and maintain all the projection, sound, lights and computers.  I oversee the creation of graphics and video for the theater's advertising department.  This is something I enjoy doing.  As, I said above, any job worth doing is a job worth doing well.  The rewards for me come from doing a job well.

I often do work for free.  Friends and family members call me up, sometimes daily, for help with little jobs on their computers.  I am glad to help when I can.  We're sort of obliged to help family and close friends for free.  But it was a few years ago when I stopped working for other people unless I was paid.  There has to be an exchange of money or something valued.

If you give something away for free, people will not value your work.  But, the very same work becomes valuable to a person when he has to pay for it.

Your friends and family should get things on special occasions but other people should pay, even if it is only a little.

So, why should you make expensive Bears when others make them cheap?

Because it's a job worth doing well and you deserve to get what you are worth.

Bubble-Up Bears Bubble Up Bears!
Murrieta, California
Posts: 1,804

Dear Carolynn,
I have one of those key chains too. bear_original
The bear is cute but I don't really care if it gets beat up, dropped in my purse or occasionally stepped on. That's why it's on my key chain. I would never hang an artist one of a kind bear from my keys!! One reason being I paid good money for it but another being it is a one of a kind, something possibly I had special made or bought because I wanted it and saw the uniqueness and value in it.
Not everyone sees it this way. I have had family say to me why on earth would you pay hundreds if not thousands of dollars for a bear?!!!! When you can go to Walmart and buy one for less than $15 dollars!!! They honestly do not see the value in it. That's OK. Some can't fathom paying hundreds for a purse or thousands for a pure bred dog but many do. To each his own.
But for all the reasons the artist ladies have posted here you should not feel bad about what you do. For all those out there who do not see the value or point in bear making there are just as many like me that do and will continue to buy your work and give you appreciation for a bear well done. bear_original

Carolynn Teenytinyteddybears
Posts: 444

Us bears. As usual you make good points. Thank you

Cyndee you broke through my "down". Now I get it. The handbag thing.... I see no point in expensive bags. I use a back pack most of the time. All my other girlfriends swoon over a bag....

No more giving bears to people who don't appreciate it, and perhaps they will stop giving me bags :crackup:  :crackup:

Bubble-Up Bears Bubble Up Bears!
Murrieta, California
Posts: 1,804

There you go Carolynn!!!!!!! bear_original

ThomasAdam Thomas Adam
Posts: 310
Carolynn wrote:

Also want to start selling and how do I justify the amount I want to charge, which will be over $0.70.

I suppose one answer would be not to give a hand made bear to someone who possibly wont appreciate it.... but now I am really feeling down.

Well, like anything, people will pay the price for any goods if they themselves appreciate the value in what they're buying.  To some people a bear just being a bear means just that, they won't go out of their way to look for anything that doesn't cost a lot, because the value isn't in things like a person's time and effort, the uniqueness of it, etc., it's the ubiquity which drives them.  It's the same thing with food; some people will spend more money on gastronomy whilst others will go down to KFC (ugh!)

So you will find a niche I am sure for this, and when you do the people who buy them will do so for all the -right- reasons and you then won't need to worry.  :)

-- Thomas Adam

Us Bears Pennsylvania
Posts: 1,479
Ellen Borggreve wrote:

This friend walked up to my cabinet with bears and said things about some of my artist bears, like ''he is ugly'', ''I can't imgaine someone paying for this'' and then she came to my raccoon Aviva and said that she could buy such a thing at the HEMA.

I can't fault a person for not liking every Bear they meet.  Everybody has their own tastes.  It's natural.
I have to be honest.  There are Bears I see on Teddy-Talkers' websites that I'm not taken with.
But it's just plain rude and stupid to say a Bear is ugly!

If you're going to critique a person's artwork, then fine.  Be honest.  Tell them what you like and don't like.
"I think his eyes look droopy."  or  "I like his perky ears."

I was also taught in photography class that every critique must be balanced.  It must contain at least one positive and one negative comment.  And, if your critique is negative, you have to say what you think would improve the work.
For instance, "Make his feet smaller."  etc., etc.

You know, a theater review in the newspaper has to remain fair and balanced, even if it is a negative review.  The reviewer can "savage" a play or movie in his writeup but he can't just dismiss it without reason.  He has to tell what he didn't like and why.

A person who doesn't give a fair and balanced critique of your Bears doesn't deserve recognition.
You have the right to tell them where they can go and you don't have to accept the criticism.   bear_angry

And, if they don't like that, you can tell them that there are 1,000 Bears in this den all flipping them "the paw!"  bear_tongue

matilda Matilda Huggington-beare
Posts: 5,551

And, if they don't like that, you can tell them that there are 1,000 Bears in this den all flipping them "the paw!"

:crackup:  :crackup:  :crackup:

I regularly give my critters away. I swap gift and donate to charity. For me the whole joy is in the creating.
The sales I make are simply to ensure I can carry on creating and pay for all the fees that are associated with the bear world.
Don't underestimate the quality of your creativity Carolynn. Create because you enjoy it, no matter what the future holds for your creation.  And remember........"people don't judge your work the same way you do"

Board footer

Powered by FluxBB

Banner Sponsors

Past Time Bears - Artist bears designed and handcrafted by Sue Ann Holcomb
Shelli Makes - Teddy bears & other cheerful things by Shelli Quinn