I'm just going to kick this off by professing my immense love for bartering. Now, I'll keep this post to the purely trading/bartering and stay away from the topic of the "sharing economy/collaborative consumption" - not because I don't want to talk about those things, but because I have too many feelings about them for one post (ie I LOVE THE SHARING ECONOMY, and am a complete geek about it). So, I'll stick to pure and simple trading of things for things/ things for services where there's no money at all involved.
Like many things in my life, my first experience with trading came as a result of my creepin' around on Instagram, checking out (read: stalking) folks that seem rad. Well, actually, to give myself a little credit for being a little less creepy, it was actually the other person who found me and suggested a trade. She saw a hat I made in my instagram feed and commented "love this hat - would love to trade for it", and I of course, immediately went to her website, found her email and sent this whole long thing that was like "um, hell yes, you're an awesome lady who works with leather, I like leather and supporting small batch makers, and I think I love you" (well I left out the love you part, but I think it was implied).
So, how did we do it? It basically looked like this:
- We figured out what we both needed/wanted from each other, and worked out whether those things were within the scope for each of us to design (or modify) and create
- We did a rough cost mock-up to see what would be of similar/equal value for trading. We put a price on our labour ($20/hr for both of us), just to make things simple.
- We tweaked our materials, designs and overall products until we were happy with the value of the work we were doing for trade.
What did it look like in the end?
- I made Brittany two hats, she made me 3 little knitting supply pouches and a handbag - all from lovely leather.
I think what made this trade feel so right and special was not that I particularly needed those leather pieces right away. I could live without a leather bag and knitting supply holders, but they were things I had been eyeing from afar for a long time, wishing that I felt financially able to splurge on those things. So it was this nice thing that popped up for me that enabled me to have those sweet and lovely things in my life without spending money on them. Instead, I got to spend my time lovingly creating these hats for her. And I spend pretty much all my time knitting anyway, so this was such a joy!
I'm finding that the more I knit, the more I run out of things I actually need (like how many more beanies does one chick need?) It is so liberating and fun to work on a piece of knitting for someone who is excited about it, someone you know will like it, and who will appreciate how much work went into it. That is a truly gratifying experience.
Now, I hope I haven't bored you too much with my love note to bartering, and what I really hope is that you'll get in touch to work out a trade. I'm especially keen to trade for: podcast audio editing skills (this one is a big one for me right now!), ceramic cups, leatherwork (would shoes be too much to ask?), fermented foods, lessons in fermenting foods for that matter, meals, vegetables, rides (in a car) around Tasmania, borrowing of said car, linen clothes, handmade underwear and bras (!), lessons in crochet or sewing, lessons in bicycle maintenance, and many many other things I'm sure I don't even know I need yet.
I can offer for trade: custom knits of all sorts - you do the dreaming, I'll do the doing, knitting lessons, yarn from my stash (maybe - depends on if I can part with it), a song for you (I like to sing), yogurt and granola making, and probably other things that I can't think of right now.
Get in touch - I'm presently working on a trade for a special lady artist friend, and the very thought of getting to create more special things for more special people in exchange for a little bit of their love in the form of their work makes my heart sing. You can find me at hello [at] closeknit.com.au, on instagram, and in person in Hobart (and sometimes Sydney, and rarely, the USA). I promise, I'm a nice lady.