Monday, 17 November 2014

After four days of

standing on my rear paws I am, once again, in awe of those who do selling for a living.
If people want to buy something and I am there to do the job of taking their money then I will, of course, do it. But, unlike my nephews, I am not a natural salesperson.
I have one nephew of the "could sell sand to the Arabs and ice to Eskimos" ability. His job involves vast sums of money in anyone's terms - other people's money. I could not handle that. Another nephew is also good at selling if he has to but it is not his job to do that. They have peculiarly modern skills when doing these things.
I am happy to offer help rather than advice. There is a difference I think. I can help by explaining what a certain sort of yarn is and what the properties are, what it is normally used for and why. I am happy, as an example, to explain why sock yarn normally has nylon in it.
The friend I help also does a lot of that. We also had someone come looking for a certain type of yarn to make hats for a children's charity. My friend sells yarn which would be suitable but it is expensive and really intended for another purpose. We looked at each other and then at the would-be customer and gave her the name of a very well known on-line company here in Australia. They make a product which is half the price and will be ideal for her purpose. It didn't make my friend a sale but perhaps it bought her goodwill. Other people might hear about her attitude. I hope they do.
There were several people who mentioned they had come simply to come to the stand I was working on. I can understand why. It's a brilliantly coloured display of very high quality yarn unobtainable anywhere else - not even in the few specialty shops left interstate. Yes, it tends to be expensive - until you consider the hours of entertainment a project might give you.
One woman brought her project from last year so we could see it. She had bought a skein of lace-weight silk. It is very fine. It is smooth. It is slippery. It has hand dyed. It is very expensive. 
This woman bought it not to knit with but to embroider with. I thought she was setting herself a huge challenge. Yes, she was. She rose to the challenge and showed us what she had done. It is exquisite work.
"I know it seemed like a lot to pay but, so far, I have been entertaining myself for about fifty cents an hour and that will drop even further when I finish the skein."
Looked at in those terms it is cheap entertainment and, unlike some other forms of entertainment, she will have something of lasting value to show for her pleasure as well.
A teenager happened to be there while we were looking at this woman's work and she admired it too.
"It's not my thing but I'm learning to crochet and so far it has been a heap more fun than a rock concert. A whole lot of us are teaching ourselves and helping each other. We still go out and stuff but we take stuff with us to do. It's awesome because you can hang out and still do things."
Not the most elegant way of describing it but I am more than happy to sell her the pleasure of making her own.


Sara said...

Your suggestion that we think of the cost of knitting yarns and other handicraft materials in terms of hourly entertainment was a new and interesting insight for me - I have enjoyed sewing, embroidery and knitting, making both my own clothes and gifts for others, ever since I was a child . Every so often someone expresses surprise that I "still " do this now that I have a demanding and well-paid professional career; to be honest, I never considered stopping , any more than I would stop cooking for my family. For me , the joy of having some disposable income was the ability to buy really luxurious natural fibres to work with (silk, cashmere,alpaca - it's all wonderful!), instead of having to waste energy and time sewing or knitting with fibres that fit my budget but did not give me pleasure. Thanks for making me think of my addiction to the pleasure of making things with my hands in a new light !

catdownunder said...

You're welcome Sara - I like the idea as well. I don't have a big disposable income but a nice skein of lace weight can give many hours of pleasure!