Advice on how to say no to friends who want me to "whip" up a hat for free?

Since I have started learning millinery I have friends asking me if I can "whip" them up something. (for free). These are not close friend asking

How do you explain you have paid to learn this craft. The time it takes to 'whip' something up with out losing friends?

These are the ones that have sparked the interest.

Blue one was the one I learned to make in a 2 day workshop.

Red one s one I made to donate for a silent auction to support Beyond Blue.

Single flower is one I'm teaching myself to make.

Any advice would be appreiated


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I am no where near your skill level, but I have been approached by someone who wanted me to make her a hat.   She had a hat on that she purchased at Walmart.   I am sorry, but I can't compete with Walmart's prices.   Inquiring minds want to know the answer to this issue!  Thanks, Kath

Hi Kathy. The red crown was only the 2nd one I had made. The blue one I made at a workshop. I'm still very much a beginner. I'm finding friends want them for free.....

I have the same problem. I volunteer for a theater and they think "just decorating 6 hats" is an easy task. Their ace in the whole is the lady who offers to help by using her stapler and hot glue. Needless to say, I end up doing it myself. So, now they know all they have to do is trot her out and I will scream, "OK, OK. I'll do it!". 

It is a lot of hours of work, plus all the running around to find supplies. We don't have a milliner's supply store in our town. So, I have to run around between tailor supply shop, dressmaker supply shop, and floral supply shops to get the simplest of supplies. 

It seems anything to do with costumes is underrated. They always appear desperately in need when they ask you to do it. Then when they get the finished product they just kind of go, "oh that's nice" and take it away without even giving a once over. I guess they think, "I got what I want; I don't have to be nice any more." 

Sorry, I just get frustrated sometimes.

Hello Dear

No, No, No. Repeat in front of the mirror.

I am not sure those are friends.

I will not bargain my work and experience.

In the beginning prices can be reasonable, and you can tell them that, after a while they go slowly up.

Your top flowers are beautiful, you could try to mix colors to add more depth... Kindly, Catherine

Thank you

Love them!! Great job!!

The Red headpiece would have retail value of at least AU$350 - it is very much on trend. Your work is worth $30/hr. You may have spent more hours on this as a starter piece but we do get quicker as we keep at it. I think you need to be direct with friends and say - 'No such thing as 'whip up' a headpiece as this red headpiece took me X hrs to make It is very technical work. So glad you love it & I am selling it for $x if you are interested" In biz it is always difficult to put prices up so do not under price your work. This is a one off piece & no one else will be wearing the same so they need to pay for that exclusive look. Never underprice your ability  xx 

Thanks :)

I would smile sweetly and just say "What price range were you looking for?"  They should get the message but if they don't then say "Just so you know I require 50% down on custom orders."

Your work is too nice to give away unless you want to as a gift or it is for charity.  

Great idea. I have started putting a price on my pictures. No one has asked since.

when people ask me how long it takes me to make a hat I say, four hours and 20 years of instruction..... Adrienne


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