How my view on prices of things has changed since I started my business

Last week I was walking Nova with my friend Hanna, and we got into a discussion about sneakers because she needed new ones. I raved about the waterproof sneakers that I was wearing on that walk.

She asked me where they are from and what they cost, I told her they were from a Kickstarter project, Vessi footwear, $130.

To her that sounded crazy – just a small no-name brand shoe that costs that much, it’s not like it’s NIKE!

And I realized, unless you’ve really done the math for a product or for a business, it is easy to think big known brand = can charge more, while small unknown brand = should charge less because they’re not established.

It is *because* it’s a small company that the price has to be high

A small company doesn’t have the ability to divide their costs between hundreds of thousands of shoe sales per year.

Vessi footwear uses environmentally friendly materials (glues etc often include animal products even if the shoe isn’t made out of leather) and use practices that minimize waste, water consumption etc.

They have put together this completely new technology that is waterproof, breathable and light knit, not a coating! – which keeps my feet DRY when I fetch with Nova in the rain or on the freshly watered grass. My $130 Nike running shoes don’t do that. So for me, this price makes perfect sense. Honestly – I would probably pay double for them now that I’ve experienced them and they deliver on their promise.

How my view on pricing has changed

Because I’ve done the math over and over again to make sure I am charging appropriately for my photography, I am very conscious about the things I buy and whether or not their pricing makes sense.

I always wonder whether the person at the other end of a creative job or service job is making a proper living.

I’m more conscious about clothes that I buy – I try to stick to earth friendly brands that are using ethical and sustainable methods to manufacture their clothes. Back Beat Rags, Tradlands and Amour Vert are great! A friend of mine started an ethical clothes brand back in Finland and since my husband went back home recently, I asked him to bring me back one of her jackets.

It is quite eye-opening to see how much clothes, shoes etc *really* should cost in relation to the cheap fast fashion prices that we have gotten used to.

What are the effects of paying more for sustainable?

When we consume cheap things, we tend to not don’t treat them very well, we don’t value them, and we keep buying more. That’s how we feed this cycle of consumption – because we either want to get new stuff every week or we need to replace the falling-apart-clothes often.

If everything cost as much as it needed to to be sustainable and ethical, we would all be buying less things but they would be of higher quality and better for the planet. I bet we would also value them more, and have less clutter in our homes. Maybe we would invest not necessarily even that much money, but time in experiences more than things.

Does this relate to photography somehow?

YES! Math shows that unless an independent family photographer is making a minimum of $1,000 per month, it most likely means at least one (if not all) of the below:

#1 They may not be disclosing the earnings, and thus not paying taxes or business licenses

#2 They may not have insurance – which means that if something happens to the photographer or their gear while photographing in your home, YOU might be liable.

#3 Their other job/their partner’s income is paying for them to photograph your family.

Because there are a lot of photographers out there charging peanuts, it builds up an assumption that the sustainable photography prices are ridiculous.

It is possible to get cheap photos done, but they should not be expected of independent business owners.

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Documentary newborn and family photographer serving San francisco Bay Area, San Jose, Oakland, Berkeley, Santa Cruz and surrounding areas