If you are any follower of this blog you’ll know how much I adore Kraken Kreations. I can’t put it down even when I’m on my hols (I’m actually writing this from a static caravan overlooking Cardigan Bay on WiFi so poor I’d be better off sending this blog post to the internet via a crack-snorting pigeon). You’ll also know that I adore my customers because every purchase is like a little moment of loveliness. However, there are times when the wider world and the customers therein make me ever so slightly unhinged. Ok, that’s not fair. I meant ‘utterly and completely’ not ‘slightly’. That’s because the general response to handcrafting is one that can be so misplaced that it makes me wonder whether the world’s collective brain has been lobotomised. So do you want to know what my pet peeves are about some customers? Too late, you’ve come this far…
The Hagglers: These are the customers who think I run a car boot stall rather than a handcrafting business. That’s because they see my prices as a starting point for hours of remorseless bartering whereupon they will attempt to get me to make them fifteen totes for the price of one brooch. It invariably ends with them flouncing off because I am apparently being unreasonable for wanting to make such a tiny profit that I could piss it away on a Mars Bar.
The “I can!” Crowd: Now, before you run at me with a gun this isn’t me railing against crafters. No. It’s me railing against those crafters who look at what I make and don’t buy it because they think, “Oh, I could make that!”. “Really?” I want to ask them. “You could design the pattern, work out the geometry, set the measurements, buy the fabrics, match the fabrics, insert the zips, flatten the darts, set the lining with invisible stitches, add the ease and construct exquisite French seams all for a fair price while presenting it at a craft fair with a smile on your face? Go on then. DO IT.”
The Cheapskates: Yup, I mean those customers who think craft fairs are actually jumble sales, where they can pick up a house-load of cheap cushion covers before complaining to the fair manager because the polystyrene cups of tea on sale in the foyer are ‘steep’ at 50p a pop. These are invariably the customers who spend a thousand years looking at the items I’ve carefully laid out on my stand while whistling through their teeth every time they see a price tag that displays a greater sum than £1.50. More often than not these are the same people as:
The Fingerers: That’s right, the customers who, upon the surface, are so wonderful I want to marry them. Their faces light up when they see my sky pockets, they tell me my work is amazing, they ask me how I became so good at what I do, they tell me that the item they currently have in their hand would perfectly match their home decor and then they… walk away. Without buying anything. It’s like George Clooney offering me a shag only for him to fall asleep before he’s even whipped off his socks.
The High Streeters: They’ve seen four thousand metres of bunting in Tesco for the cost of a pasty and want to know why I can’t make the same amount at exactly the same price. Which is a fair point except for the fact that Idon’t own any factories in China and don’t have access to a workforce that consists entirely of children who have been denied their human rights.
The Copiers: Now, this is a brand of customer that makes me drink rum directly from the bottle. That’s because they gush about my work while digging for my trade secrets. They’ll ask me where I find my fabrics, how I source mybuttons and how many gift tags I sell. God knows, they’ll even ask me if I’ll show them how to make my items so they can start their own business. I shit you not, it’s like an intellectual mugging which is too bad for them because I’ve got a finely honed crafting self defence which involves a punch in the throat.
If you’re looking for a happy ending, though, it is this: 95 per cent of Kraken Kreations’ customers are so wonderful that I’d happily kiss them while clinging to their legs and begging them not to leave me. They are fun, interested, engaged, appreciative of handcrafted work and happy to tell the world about me. Without them I’d not be here to even have to put up with the Cheapskates or the High Streeters so every time I come face to face with a customer who quibbles about a 10p price tag I think of those wonderful creatures who don’t. May they live long and happily and vastly outnumber everyone else on the planet. Kraken lovers, I salute you.