{by Katherine Elizabeth on flickr}

I don’t know about you, but I’m an avid reader of Seth Godin’s blog.

Today’s post hit me hard… he elucidated the idea that there are two recessions – the cyclical ones (like that of last year) and the ‘forever’ recession – brought on by the ongoing globalisation of production.

Here’s an excerpt.

“The other one, I fear, is here forever. This is the recession of the industrial age, the receding wave of bounty that workers and businesses got as a result of rising productivity but imperfect market communication.

In short: if you’re local, we need to buy from you. If you work in town, we need to hire you. If you can do a craft, we can’t replace you with a machine.

No longer.

The lowest price for any good worth pricing is now available to anyone, anywhere. Which makes the market for boring stuff a lot more perfect than it used to be. (emphasis mine)

Since the ‘factory’ work we did is now being mechanized, outsourced or eliminated, it’s hard to pay extra for it. And since buyers have so many choices (and much more perfect information about pricing and availability) it’s hard to charge extra.”

He goes on to state that there is opportunity there, but:

“Fast, smart and flexible are embraced by the network. Linchpin behavior. People and companies we can’t live without (because if I can live without you, I’m sure going to try if the alternative is to save money).” (emphasis mine)

This last bit is what we – as makers of boutique, handcrafted goods – need to pay attention to.

Why would people pay 2-3 times (or more) for your work than what they could get from (to use a frequent Americanism, even though I’m Aussie) Walmart?

We are the re-emerging class of makers – we’ve seen a space for ourselves brought on by the internet shopping revolution – but we still have to make ourselves stand out.

Why should people buy from you?

Why should they pay more (and if you’re paying yourself right for your work, they will be paying more – you and I can’t comptete with 3rd-world labour costs).

These are questions you need to answer in your mind – and in the mind of your customers.

What are you doing so that people can’t live without you?