Please don't tell me to open an Etsy shop

Credit: Cole Skuse/Editor-in-Chief Credit: Cole Skuse/Editor-in-Chief
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As someone who crochets, one of the most frustrating things I hear on a semi-regularly basis is, “You should sell those!” Yeah, sure, let me get right on that. I’ll open an Etsy shop and send you the link, and you’ll proceed to buy nothing. I know how it goes. So please, stop telling me to monetize my hobbies.

I should preface this with the fact that I have a number of craft-related hobbies: mainly crochet, but I also do some embroidery and a smidge of knitting. These hobbies are one of the main ways I fill my time, and I really enjoy what I do (hence why I do it). I’m not doing it to turn a profit; I like gifting what I make to my friends and family, and I don’t expect anything in return.

I think part of my problem is also knowing that if I priced what I made at a “reasonable” level, then the people that are telling me to sell what I make would be second-guessing what they were saying. For instance, I crocheted the “Harry Styles cardigan” for one of my friends; it was the first “wearable” that I had made and oh boy did it take much longer than I expected. I probably spent about 50-60 hours on it in total.

Pricing it is the hard part, though. You have to take into account the cost of materials and labor. Though the yarn I used cost roughly $30 in total, I would price the cost of labor to be about $500 to $600 ($10 an hour), which is what is going to drive people away. That’s completely fair; I wouldn’t pay that much for a cardigan either! If I can get a flannel for five dollars at Goodwill, no matter how much I like Harry Styles (he’s mid), you’ll catch me wearing the flannel.

I think what really bugs me is how ignorant some people can be about how much time and effort is put into crafts. Believe me, if I could crank out a blanket or a cardigan in less than 10 hours, I would be in debt due to yarn purchases. But alas, that is not how it works. I, thankfully, don’t have people in my life that ask me, “Can you make me one of those?” because if I did, I would be that much closer to having a breakdown.

But realistically, even if I hated myself enough to open an Etsy shop and price stuff much cheaper than I should, one of my biggest fears would be burning out. I honestly love crochet and crafts as a whole; it’s one of my favorite ways to spend my free time and I’m worried that if I make a “job” out of it, I’m not going to love it nearly as much as I do now. I know it’s cliche, but to me, crochet is very much about the journey (even though the destination is also very rewarding).

Also, I’m a college student. I struggle to find free time as it is. When I’m not working or in classes, the honest reality is that half the time, I don’t want to do anything. While I enjoy my hobbies, there’s just something so rewarding about doing nothing as well. I don’t want to have to spend every second of my free time crocheting or thinking about crocheting; that’s no longer free time. As much as I would love to be a trophy husband who doesn’t need to work and can just crochet all day, that’s not going to be my future.

So, please, the next time you hear someone does some sort of craft, don’t tell them that they should open an Etsy shop; if they wanted to, they already would have.