A couple of thoughts on being self-employed, work and prices

I didn’t know where this journey would take me, when I started the project Kinky Vegan about three years ago. My goal was to make high quality sex toys that are good for everyone: Good for the animals, because the toys are not made of leather; good for you, because they don’t contain toxic chemicals and good for as many people as possible and not just a couple of privileged few, who can afford expensive toys (though I’m aware of course, that even with the prices I set back then, I would exclude a lot of folks who couldn’t afford it anyway). Another important aspect for me is that being self-employed allows me to have a little more control over my life, than if I would work a “normal” day job, where I would work to generate profit for somebody else. Not having a boss also means for me not having to finance a boss, but to just make enough money to sustain my life.
During the last years I worked really hard to make this dream come true and sacrificed a lot of my social life as well as almost all of my political activism along the way. I mean I knew beforehand that being self-employed is hard work and I’m not going to get rich and that wasn’t my intention anyway. I live in a rather cheap shared community house, do a lot of dumpster diving and try to not need a whole lot in general and live simple, but I came to a point now where I just can’t go on like that. It doesn’t feel right that there’s so little time for friends or anything else beyond work. I felt kinda trapped in a treadmill, not going anywhere, not making any progress. Even though being self-employed prevents you from being exploited by others, there’s a good chance that one ends up exploiting one-self (especially when you’re very enthusiastic about your work). That’s certainly one of the mistakes I made and I had to learn it the hard way (which is not sexy).
It’s time for a change and the next step for this Kinky Vegan project would be for me to turn it into a collective. The chances to find someone here in Dresden (or anywhere at all really), who shares the values and ideas I connect with Kinky Vegan, who wants to work in a collective with me, and would be willing to do all that with a payment significantly below the minimum wage, are quite probably close to zero. The only way out is for me to raise my prices. Be sure that I’m not taking this step lightly; there’s been a lot of contemplation on my side whether and how I’m gonna do that and if there’s any way to avoid that. As I outlined above I really want everyone to be able to get the toys the want. Still I would think my prices are moderate, considering that my products are made to last. You can pass them on to your grandchildren!
I’m still committed to making great toys available to everyone, so if you really can’t afford  something that you want, write me and we’ll figure something out!

What are your thoughts about that? Write a comment or send me an email at kinky[dot]vegan[ät!]gmail[dot]com!
Martin

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