WTFact aka FAQ
A smorgasbord of questions/answers... (others might call this a FAQ):
Why does your Katwise-inspired stuff cost so much more than others out there?
Short answer... It's the cost of materials plus time. Mine are machine needle-felted and many have embroidery. More about machine-needle-felting HERE. The ones with the shiny dots you see, those are all sequins sewn on by hand. I use high-quality materials and a lot of attention goes into details that make a big difference in the finished work but also just take more time.
Take this coat, for example:
This lovely thing took 38 labor-hours to make. Shout out to the folks who developed the Timelogger app for iPhone:
So while I understand the sticker-shock at some of the prices some folks may have, most of the coats are almost a week's worth of work for me, not including the cost of materials. Imagine working 38 hours, but only getting paid for ...19 of that. Boooo! 😥
There are a lot of Katwise-inspired artists out there and I don't want all of us to be pitted against each other based on price in some sort of sad race to the bottom. We're not in the Land of Walmart, and all people with artistic skills deserve to be paid a living wage - my "competition" included. 🥰 Cashmere is also a more expensive material to acquire, so my nearly pure cashmere items just have a higher materials cost than merino wool, and merino wool generally costs more than acrylic. I do mix fleece in because that adds a lot of visual flare, plus it helps defray that cost just based on cost-per-yard of material. However, on average it takes ~4 yards of fleece for each coat, so that's $30-40 right there.. plus the cost of the sweaters and it takes on average anywhere from 4-10 sweaters per coat depending on size and the cost of those varies depending on material and where I got it (range generally $5.00-$20.00 per sweater), plus the cost of the thread (overlock seams use a LOT of thread.. like a LOT).. so you can see how the materials cost really adds up! Sometimes the machines need maintenance/cleaning so that adds some overhead cost for me too, although I clean mine religiously myself as best I can.
Really the biggest chunk is the cost of the time, and here we are at the crux of the matter... Unlike most of the other coats I've seen, mine are machine-needle-felted, and Mr. Stabby can only stab so fast! I like to needle-felt the entire bodice, most of the sleeves and some parts of the hood. It just makes a sturdier coat that holds its shape a lot better and is far less prone to distortion. See, the longer the skirt on the coat, the more it pulls on the bodice because it weighs it down. So there's a certain amount of textile engineering that goes into mine.😎 If the bodice isn't thick enough to hold up the skirt section, you end up with a really droopy and distorted coat that doesn't hang as nicely. One of my points of pride is that I can make a coat that looks stunning on a smaller person as well as a coat that looks just as stunning on a larger person. The material still stretches, but it holds its shape a lot better. We've also all had that one sweater that got a moth-hole in it. Because I double the material on the really crucial pieces, you get a coat that really lasts. It also eliminates the feeling you get when the wind blows through the tiny holes in the knitting with an unfelted sweater. My felted works don't have all those little holes. The needle-felting just makes a world of a difference. I know, it's hard to tell that difference looking on a computer monitor, so if you've got doubts, I recommend you just order a cheapie $2.00 sample so you can get a literal feel, for how the material feels. I am warning you, you will likely get hooked on the feel of the felted cashmere in particular. When I sell in person locally, people usually aren't able to handle the cashmere arm-warmers without having at least one pair. 😁
Can't you just wash the sweaters in hot water and felt them that way instead?
Well yes, and I already do... but the whole point of doing the felting by machine as well is that I'm able to use up more of the material for each sweater. It's like baking cookies, where you roll out the cookie dough, cut your cookies, roll it back into a ball, roll it flat and cut again and repeat that process. The machine needle-felting allows me to create new fabric by essentially layering odd-shaped scraps. If you want to see what that looks like, pop over and see my blog post about this.
Can you PLEASE make less expensive coats?
I can try. But they likely won't be needle-felted, won't be made out of as-nice materials, no embroidery, no sequins, shorter skirt-sections/hoods to cut costs.. hey wait a minute, that's all the really good stuff! Are you sure? 🤔
I get it, I feel your pain. But I don't want to sacrifice quality, and I don't want to work for slave wages either. When we buy things we can pay in installments but once I sell my art, that's it, that's all I get for that work. If the coat is still over the top, you can always put together a set of arm-warmers, a hat and some leg-warmers and have ALMOST a coat. 😏 When I have enough materials left over, I try to make a lot of these so you can go for the low-hanging fruit and still have something new to treasure and love.
Yeah about installments... Why don't you have other installment plans like Sezzle, Afterpay, Shopify Shop Pay Installments, etc?
I realize those services are cool in that they let you break down big purchases into 4-6 smaller, more manageable chunks. Rest assured, I agonized over Shopify's new "Shop Pay Installments" a LOT. My problem with these services is that they shift the cost of financing over onto me, and I'm an artisan, not a bank. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ In order to make this financially workable for me, I would have to raise ALL of my prices by about 6% to cover the fees they charge me to provide you with that sort of financing... And I feel that's not fair to folks who just pay in full at the time of purchase. I just can't get behind financing that pushes more of the cost onto the merchant. My profit is already razor-thin and I just can't make that work right now. Besides, the short payment terms just don't make sense to me. If I can't afford something now, I really can't afford it in 6 weeks either. If buying from me means borrowing from your food bill or not paying the babysitter a living wage, I can't feel good about that. If you can't afford my work, you shouldn't skimp on food or other necessities. I'm not famous like Katwise, my items don't sell out immediately, so just don't stress about it. If you have the funds, you can treat yourself to something magical. If you don't, you and I are both better off if this is something you save up for. The rush to buy on really-short-term credit, meh. The buyer buys above their means, the cost gets pushed onto the merchant, it's just bad juju, IMHO. All so some big corporation can get 6% of my work. I detest "loan sharks". It a lose-lose all around. 😒
But you DO take Paypal Credit, so what gives?
Here's the difference - they check your credit, and you bear the cost of the financing. That's it. Their payment terms are longer, it's more like an actual credit card. That makes more sense to me. If the short term "loan sharks" (sorry I'm going to call them that) had longer terms that made things make more sense to me, then I would be more motivated to find a feasible way to provide those. I'm no financial expert by any means, but I've had undergrad and grad courses in accounting and finance and I'm just not willing to subscribe to the merchant-bears-the-financing-cost model. Just nope. Not a bank. Definitely not a car dealership either.... and on that topic, I drive an older totaled hail-damaged Subaru that is paid off because I am not rich, it makes good financial sense, and Subaru is like the unofficial "State Car" for Colorado. But I digress.... Even Paypal is greedy, but they are the one outside-of-your-credit-card payment option I begrudingly make an exception for. Besides, I don't want you to buy my stuff because of gimmicky short-term financing. Buy it because it really rocks, and has superior craftsmanship. I destroy and remake textiles like Deadpool, with maximum effort. 😈
Do you have an Etsy?
As of right this moment, no. I found that Etsy was too crowded and I don't want to be limited by some giant for-profit corporation whose coffers I would be stuck paying into. I wanted to be able to have a blog, to have polls, to sort/categorize items better so that people can find what they are actually looking for (because I want you to value my time, it's only fair to value yours in return!). I'm so happy you're here but I also recognize you don't have all day to try to hunt down what you're looking for. If you want to wander and you actually read all this - yay and oooo how I love you! However, if you are more a hunter and less of a gatherer, that works too. I've tried to make my site reasonably easy to navigate, with stuff for everyone. Yay stuff! But yeah, as of right now, no Etsy.
That said, if you are a regular Etsy shopper, I'm going to ask you to take a look at Go Imagine. They are a relatively new startup and IMHO, a better alternative to Etsy. Instead of enriching a bunch of C-suite execs, they donate 100% of their profits to charity. That is AWESOME! So not only are you supporting an artisan of handmade goods, but you're legit donating to charity while you do it. Please check them out some time. I am not on GoImagine (*YET) as I haven't had time to learn their system but I'm definitely interested and you may see me there in the future:
Do you do custom work?
Sort of. I'm like Katwise on this one. I don't want to try to match an exact idea in someone's head that I can't see. That sounds like too much of a recipe for disappointment. Plus, I don't always have sweaters in the right texture/size/color that I might need in order to produce something exactly to someone's specifications. It just feels too constraining. I can't guarantee that I'll perfectly match what you're envisioning, and I don't want you to have to settle on something that just wasn't what you imagined. Somewhere in the middle, there is a happy medium. My fun alternative to this is Fashion By Demand... and it is super fun. You get to put in requests with a general description, and watch those items magically appear, and then you can pounce when you see something that really speaks to you.
Do be aware that because my polls here on my site are anonymous, there's no "Hey so-and-so, the earthtone coat you were looking for, it's a-done!" So if you want to come visit me every day, WOW! I raise my coffee in a toast to your dedication and enthusiasm.😁☕ More likely you have a life though (and I really want you to have a life and an awesome one at that), so the best way to get a heads up is to just follow me on Facebook or Instagram, where I typically make these announcements. I also usually finish items a lot faster than I can get photos, that's my bad, I'll own that, so it's also okay if you want to bug me via email too. I am a Gen Xer and I still haven't gotten over my excitement from when they invented email. 😊📧
What is that silly little giftbox floating over the page? [Mobile users]
My darling visitor, glad you asked! That's my rewards program. See, I suspect you could use a reward more than Google, Facebook, Instagram or Pinterest. I sort of loathe the idea of paying into giant corporation advertising coffers and I'm trying really hard not to go down that road, so if you're willing to spread the word about me, why not send the love your way instead? More on that here.
What is that ridiculous little S with the shopping bag I see down in the corner ? [Desktop users]
Full disclosure, that's Shopify. I own my own domain yes, but I am not a software engineer, and it was quicker to use their platform as it met most of my requirements. So yeah, I'm sort of paying into corporate coffers.
But isn't Shopify full of scammers?
I can't answer for everyone else here. There are bad apples on eBay no doubt, and likely some bad apples on Etsy too. It happens. Some people have lousy service on purpose, some have it on accident. I'm a one-person show but I do care about my patrons, even on a personal level. My parents were small business owners for 30 years and depended on great customer relationships. I'm actually friends with many of their former employees, and a few of their customers. I am that type that the line between customer and friend ends up pretty blurred. I can't just not care. It's sort of built into who I am. Here is my LinkedIn profile, if you're curious you can snoop a little, it's okay, I don't mind:
The upside of buying electronically (meaning not in cash) is that typically you have additional purchase protection here with me and everywhere else you shop online. One layer of protection is your credit card company. If you use Paypal in conjunction with your credit card company, that adds an additional layer. It's like Shrek, it's got layers!😮 Oh wait... let me stop myself before I get carried away.😉 Anyway, all merchants who receive payments have to abide by dispute resolution processes set forth by the payment processor. That said, if you buy something and want me to ship it to some crazy address, I am probably going to decline that request - and that's to protect both of us. If someone stole your credit card I have precisely zero interest in that person trying to buy from me at your expense. I don't want minors using mom and dad's credit card either - sorry kiddos! I have worked for both a county sheriff as well as a credit card company and credit card fraud hurts everyone and I've seen that firsthand, so I am appropriately careful. More on all of this under my legal terms section.
How on earth do you make this stuff?
Very carefully, and with oodles of time and many pricked fingers, and the occasional curse word. Really my patchwork sweatercoats, hats and arm-warmers are inspired by Katwise, and I can't feel good about showing folks for free, how to make the goodies that she sells her tutorial for. That's just not right. If you love these that much but would rather try to make one yourself, please just buy her tutorial. Even if you never make one, it's really an enjoyable read and you won't be disappointed: https://www.etsy.com/shop/katwise
Did ya see my denim skirts too? I've had people ask me for a pattern on those and I don't have one for sale right now. I just make them, each one, individually. Furthermore, they are each adjusted to the size of the pants I make them from, and the pièce de résistance is really all the metallic thread and embroidery and the sequins sewn on by hand which take hours, upon hours, upon hours. Maybe at some point I'll make a tutorial for those and sell that, but they are super time-consuming and most of the real art is in all the details and in the color choices. If you are here looking for ideas on things to make and sell yourself🤔, my Pinterest is probably a better source of inspiration and I include things from many places.
So while copycats are sort of the best form of flattery and I'm happy to "talk shop" at great lengths (I type quick and tend to ramble, can you tell???), at the end of the day all artisans want to be paid for things that take up big chunks of our time so we can keep the lights on and a roof over our head. I left a corporate job to do this and thus have taken a bit of a voluntary vow of poverty, but I have to have at least some level of fiscal responsibility for my very hard-working spouse. So if we've exchanged 10 pages of emails, consider throwing me a bone and buying a pair of arm-warmers for yourself or you can buy me a coffee (more likely a bag o sparkles) instead, and I appreciate the support.🥰💕
Where on earth do you GET all these sweaters?
Well, a lot of places. Yes, while the big truck backing up my driveway with 542 pounds of cashmere SWEATERZILLA is a fun adventure and an exciting story, how can I say this gently... My warm apologies to those who've reached out to ask, but there's just no state secret there to share.. it was a complete fluke windfall... (seriously don't envy me... my beloved cat got some super rare cancer and that completely wiped out the aforementioned windfall!) and anyway, I'd really rather be in my studio sewing. I do have worthy establishments I like to get other things like thread and needles from, and I wrote a blog post for that over here for you.
Side story about SWEATERZILLA:
For those who missed my funny Facebook posts, SWEATERZILLA was 542 pounds of cashmere, which came in a box taller than I am. The truck backed up to the house with a liftgate. I'm not kidding! All the jokes about the fabric truck backing up to the house, yep that actually happened. It was a monster, so the easiest way to sort everything was to put on clean socks, toss the shoes aside and just climb inside to conquer the thing. Hey... all good things start from within, amirite??😉 Once I reached the bottom, I was stuck and required a rescue. You know it's true love when he not only didn't have a heart attack upon seeing this giant box of sweaters, but he rescued me too.🥰 I really won the husband lottery, I truly did. Ladies, if you also sew and if by some horrible luck I meet an early demise, you should seriously marry my husband. He is THE nicest man, I don't ever want him to be lonely (it would be a serious travesty for such a sweet man to be stuck by himself), and if I croak he is not going to know what to do with all the fabric. God help him. 🤣 If I live to a ripe old age though, you are totally on your own, because I am keeping him!! 😍
(Resting after defeating SWEATERZILLA. Either that or doing my best Oscar the Grouch impression.)
Can I use the photos on this site?
If you want to save my photos, that's fine - all I ask is that you do not use them to try to sell something. They are all watermarked for that reason. I've seen knock-off websites re-use artists' photos to try to sell imitation mass-produced stuff and that is so very NOT cool. If you see my photos being misused that way, please let me know, and I will reward you handsomely for the intel. It's not just about me - it's about you as well, because when companies make cheap knock-offs using stolen photos, the buyer ends up with something that does not at all look like the beautiful photo. It just irks me when knock-off companies do that because it really erodes trust in people buying online. No one wins. May the fleas of a thousand camels infest the armpits of companies stealing artists' photos.
I'm not a professional photographer, but all my photos are original, so the item that you buy is the same item in the photograph. If you save them for inspiration later, I'm totally okay with that too. Again, that's why they are watermarked, and done so in such a way that my watermark cannot be cropped out of the photo without it looking just weird. But yeah - no using my photos to sell copycat items, and no cropping my photos to re-use without the watermark. That includes screenshots. If you save the photo, regardless of how you do so, please save the entire photo, watermark intact. It's just civilized. 😊 If you bought something from me in the past and you want to sell that, just email me. I probably still have the original photos and I'll send them to you.
If you want to pin my photos on Pinterest, ooooooo! Thank you!!! Please do! 😍🥰😁 On all the item pages, you should see a little Pin button for that. If you are sending me referrals and out there singing my praises, please send me an email so I can thank you and find some way to reward you.💕
How come you never answer your phone?
I am a real person with a real contact number, I swear. I would just rather be in my studio working. Random phone calls are disruptive and I'm also socially awkward and have ADD, so I prefer email, or you can reach out on social media. All lovenotes and hatemail should be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org. And if you do receive a phone call with my listed number, I assure you, it is likely not me and more likely someone who is spoofing my number... which is beyond my control and I am SO sorry, please know that it drives me nuts when people spoof numbers but there's no way to stop them that I know of. My publicly listed number is a Google Voice number, so if I return your call, you have my private cell number for all eternity. Please guard it carefully. The person who had my cell number before me didn't pay their bills and I spent 10 years fielding calls from her creditors, so I ain't changin' it now!
How come you didn't accept my Facebook friend request?
Do you really want your newsfeed to be full of cat and garden photos? 😉
Really, I want to be friends with the entire world, and I love you all, but my family likes to have just a little bit of privacy, and sometimes I'm just obnoxious with the humor. Besides, all the really good stuff is on my Facebook business page and Instagram pages and I'm happy to interact with you there. And you've already got my email, what more could you possibly desire?
(And if you know Greek mythology and that Persephone was the goddess of spring as well as the wife of the lord of the underworld, super massive bonus points for understanding why I had to go there with the Lucifer Morningstar reference... both as a lover of Greek mythology, as well as an avid fan of author Neil Gaiman.)