How much for a handmade hippo?

I never really felt strongly about hippos.  Over the last few weeks though, one particular hippo has made me terrified, infuriated, frustrated, angry….and now we’re about to part company, I’m just starting to love him.

I was commissioned to crochet a toy.  Stupidly I didn’t ask for the pattern before I agreed and when I received it I had a little panic.  It was far more complex than anything I’d made before – it involved exact counting (something that’s a little fluffy in my crocheting) and joining shapes as you went a long which was as fiddly as I thought it would be.

I wanted to write this blog post for two reasons.  First, I’m actually rather proud of the fact that Hippo does indeed look like a hippo :o)

hippo 2

And second, to explain something about handmade things.

I used to have a business making things.  The biggest problem I had was that I wanted to charge prices I thought people would consider good, and sometimes, with handmade stuff, that’s just not possible.  Let’s play a game:  How much would you pay for hippo for a small person (or even a bigger person) in your life?

hippo 3

Got a number in your head?  OK…

The materials to make Hippo were about £15.

I’ve worked out that Hippo took around 70 hours to make.  If I made a hippo a day, I’d probably get faster as I got used to the pattern, but I’m not exactly slow when it comes to crochet, so I don’t think I’d knock much time off the clock.  So let’s stick with 70 hours and say I pay myself the minimum wage.  For my time, I would be charging £455.  Total cost of Hippo is therefore £470.  (For the record, I only charged this lady cost of the materials.  Mainly because I am an idiot.)

And that’s why I don’t, as some people have very kindly suggested, give up the day job to crochet full time.  People just wouldn’t pay the prices.  I wouldn’t pay the prices!  Remember that figure you considered paying…is it anywhere near the value of Hippo?

But the upside of not doing it for money and making things for people you care about is that every so often you’ll see you’ve made someone happy.  Sister 1 sent me this photo of Little Pea last night.  Every night after bath time they sit and look at the alphabet I crocheted him for Christmas to learn letters and animals:

hippo 1

And that gorgeous thought and picture mean far more to me than money :o)

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12 Responses to How much for a handmade hippo?

  1. Jacqui Fleming says:

    How much would my dragon have cost? I sleep with Drogon under my pillow and the love you put into him is one material you can’t buy, that I can’t reimburse you for. And he’s worth every penny.

    • thepogblog says:

      I love that dragon sleeps under your pillow :o) I think he took about 10 hours to make…maybe a little more. But I dont cost out the things I make for people I care about. x

  2. Paula Harrington says:

    OK, so my emotions are running away with me, but I have tears running down my face at how much love goes into your handcrafted treasures. And I just squeezed the owl standing guard above my laptop. Hope you felt the long-distance hug xx PS: Hot & Handsome Hippo!

  3. daniellajoe says:

    Great post!! That hippo is adorable :-)

  4. Heidi says:

    The Hippo is gorgeous and your words sum up exactly why being creative can sometimes be a curse. “You are so wonderful, I wonder if you could do me a favour?”
    Keep us posted x

    • thepogblog says:

      Thank you – I quite often get ‘could you just….’. I don’t mind at all if I have the time as I’d always rather make something for someone who wants the end product (rather than making something that will be stored at the back of a wardrobe forever), but sometimes I wish people understood that there isn’t really a ‘just’ involved! x

  5. Emma says:

    Yup, money isn’t everything as long as you’ve got a bit for a few treats every now and then! Love the photo x

  6. someseeawish says:

    I’ve seen this pattern and loved the look of the hippo. I also thought, wow, that’s a lot of work. So I have never attempted it. Maybe for my own grandchildren ;)
    Your hippo is wonderful, beautiful, and should be treasured. People who do not make these types of items really have no idea what goes into them.

    • thepogblog says:

      It was a lot of work as you had to join as you go (which I’d never done before) which also means your counting has to be exact….and you have to make sure the right octagon, pentagon and whatever a seven sided thing is called are joined on the right sides which caused me no end of frowning! It’s not one to do in front of the tv but for grandchildren….now that’s a different matter as like with my nephew, you can the reaction of the little person and that makes it all worth it! :o)

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