Top 5 Questions You Never Ask Artists, Makers, & Designers by Genevieve Tucci

Are you guilty of asking one of these questions at a craft show, on Etsy or to a creative acquaintance? You may think nothing of it but trust me, it made an impression.

Where do you buy your supplies?

It can take years to find a good supplier or that tiny company with the good stuff. Unless you are close friends with the artist/maker, they are not going to let you in on the secret and it hurts our soul a little each time you ask.

How much did it cost to make?

While you think you are being sneaky, we know you are trying to figure out how much we are making off each piece. Would you tell a complete stranger your yearly salary? I think not.

There is a very large consumer base that believes if you pay for more than the cost of materials, then you are getting screwed over. If you want cheap, go to Walmart. If you want original & handmade then pay the asking price. It is probably priced too low already.

How long did this take you to make?

This is potentially an innocent question but more often than not, it’s used to gauge how much the item is really worth.

Less time ≠ less expensive. It may have only taken 30 minutes to make that ring but it took years of practice and probably weeks of research to figure out a new technique making that ring stand out from others.

Can you copy this for cheaper?

No, no, no, no, no.

Not only is it ethically wrong to copy another person’s design but it is hurtful that you even asked when we have worked hard to develop our own style. Anyone who agrees to copy another person’s work is a fraud and should be burned at the stake. (Can you sense my hatred for copy cats?) A true designer will send you on your way back to the original designer and then try to burn a hole in the back of your head with their eyes.

I LOVE your painting/wreath/photography!!! You know if you sold it for half the price, I could afford it and you would sell a lot more. (Technically not a question but I am still including it.)

Ladies and gentlemen, I am going let you in on a little secret. Everyone can not afford everything. I know. Crazy. But really, this should never ever come out of your mouth much less typed out and sent through text or email.

Makers, artisans, photographers, designers, etc. What question drives you crazy? I’d love to hear in the comments!

Genevieve Tucci Raised in Baton Rouge as part of an entrepreneurial and artistic family, my passion for creating began at a very early age in my mother’s art studio where I would sit every evening watching her paint, sculpt and design. I was extremely fortunate to attend Baton Rouge Magnet High School which offered stagecraft as an elective. Mrs. Ory, a saint in her own right, gave me confidence and the foundation to safely use powerful saws and tools while my mother gave me the confidence to learn any skill. After graduating LSU with a degree in Arts Administration, I strived for daily creative outlets in order the escape the 9-to-5 and this was also the time my husband and I bought our first home. It meant all the home projects I had been looking forward to could finally happen! It also meant my husband could get me power tools for Christmas, and I would be okay with it.

Visit Genevieve online at her blog or Etsy shop:

10 Responses to “Top 5 Questions You Never Ask Artists, Makers, & Designers by Genevieve Tucci”

  1. Kathleen

    I sell my jewelry at a lot of art fairs. It is hard to get used to customers asking if they pay me in cash, could I not charge the sales tax. I always tell them no, that I still have to pay the sales tax. Sometimes people expect you to be dishonest, since it’s just a few dollars, or since it’s “only the government” that you are cheating.

  2. I make a bracelet to sell on my site. I’m constantly getting questions about the focal piece of the bracelet, people asking if they can just purchase the “charm” and how much would that be. I tell them it is the same price as the bracelet, since it is the focal piece of the bracelet, most time intensive to hand make and most costly material wise on the entire piece. They usually continue to try to barter, “well what if I bought a few of them”? So, in other words, you want the piece I designed to use in some jewelry item you are making, and then tell people you made it. Hmm, what is wrong with this picture.

  3. One of the things I used to really enjoy about doing craft shows was collecting the outrageous comments. One of my favorites was the woman who said “You want $10 for that? You’ve got *your* nerve!!!” I just smiled and thought, but didn’t say, “Actually, I’m pretty sure you got my full allotment.” For a question I was always rather taken with “Where did you get the kit?”

  4. “What’s your final price on this?” Because of course, everyone assumes that at the end of the day/show/sale/year, artists will be willing to discount their work since, “I’m sure you’d rather sell it than have to pack it up and take it home.” Nope. The price you see on my clearly illustrated wall tag is the price. Period. ESPECIALLY if you ask me to “do better on the price” without even engaging in conversation about the work. Now, this is not to say that I won’t give my collectors a discount, or add a small gift in with a purchase, but the key is “with a purchase”.

    Thanks for the post, and Happy New Year!

  5. Hi . I’m a veteran secondary language teacher and a current elementary teacher and your cousin ! This is my opinion on creativity, art, and teaching. As I worked my way through 30+ years as a teacher and now as an elementary teacher, I find our society to be selfish in regards to sharing and uplifting one another, I don’t know why but I have always shared my creations while the majority of teachers have been selfish with their creations, lesson plans, etc. and not willing to share; keeping to themselves any lesson plans that would ultimately help teach and benefit children. You may not think that art creation is the same as a beautifully constructed lesson plan but it is. I have seen teachers keep and hide from others and yes. money is involved in the sale of teaching ideas. I wish that artists in all domains would want to uplift the people around them and not feel threatened by someone’s success above them. There are teachers and artists and creators who feel comfortable within themselves to help others get better. That is the kind of world I promise myself to be a part of. I hope whomever reads this understands my opinion. I hope that with each generation we improve as a society in giving back . Thank you.

    • I completely agree, Barbara! I am willing to share my secrets with my creative friends who I can trust to not copy me or spill them to someone else. It’s the random person who emails or approaches you at a show that these questions pertain to. There is an attitude out there that Pinterest, Facebook, and Instagram are catalogs of designs you can steal and make money off of and because of this, I keep my techniques & suppliers very close to the chest. I’ve been approached by very large websites to make video tutorials on how I make my best selling items and I’ve turned them down because I know within a day, someone is going to be on Etsy selling it at cost.

  6. This question was asked of my son. Can you turn A pen how to of deer antler? You can? Good! I’ll pay you for the pen kit. My dad picked up deer antler all the time when walking in the woods. I’ll just give you that if you make me some pens!!!! Sadly enough, my son was only about 13 and tickled to death to be able to practice his craft. He agreed to make the pens for this person. I was very disappointed. She is a lampwork bead artist. I don’t know how she would feel about somebody giving her a couple Rods of glass and asking her to make them beads. Sigh

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