What am I babbling about? Well I’ll try to give you the short version but I’ve been obsessing about this for the last 3 days so this post may go on for hours.
I want a button/badge maker. Yes, one of those machines that makes the pinback buttons. I know what you’re envisioning – you’ve just conjured a mental image of a cheap and cheesy happy face button, and I used to be just like you.
I mean why would anyone want to make those things? Who would wear them unless they’re running for office or are a member of the band booster club? I don’t even like those photo buttons people get of their kids for soccer or baseball. Don’t get me wrong I’ll take any opportunity to show off my kids but pinning a picture of them to my breast is not my idea of fashion.
But then I started thinking outside the box and I started seeing some really cool small buttons that I loved. I realized that I could make the little 1” buttons with cool retro clipart and funny little sayings. I could make buttons out of vintage cards and other ephemera because the beauty of these astound me so much that I would love to wear them on my coat or attach them to my purse. They would be as beautiful as a $50 brooch to me. I could make them into magnets – the possibilities really would be endless!!
See these fabulous buttons from kitsch and curious and you'll get an idea of my vision:
The best part is that I could whip out hundreds of these things in no time! Don’t get me wrong I love every aspect of crafting but when it takes me 2 months to knit a scarf I wonder how I’ll ever find the time to make any inventory for my budding business. And why does it take me 2 months? Because the only time I have to knit is after the kids are asleep, or on road trips, or when I’m stuck in the bathroom after an ill advised trip to Taco John’s (Oh don’t pretend to be all grossed out– my bathroom is clean, don’t tell me you’ve never knitted while sitting on the porcelain chair-it's called "multi-tasking"!)
Whereas the button maker is called “Badge-a-minit” which despite their atrocious spelling – implies that you can churn these babies out in no time and I’d have so much inventory that I could swim in it! I could take them to craft sales in 5 gallon buckets and just dump them on the table and wait for the people to flock over!
I started researching these badge making machines and I was astounded. It was like a slap in the face. Do you know that some of these things range in price from $200 to over $1,000. You’re talking to the gal who walks through the dollar store and says, “you’ve got to be kidding me, I’m not going to pay a dollar for that!” Yes, I’m that cheap.
However, I realize that this is a machine that needs to be sturdy and functional and I thought I could get sturdy and functional for $25 - $50. Well I was dreaming. Now I did find one on ebay one day and let me tell you – my fingers were inching towards the Discover. It was a 3 in 1 (makes 3 diff. sizes of badges) a wonderful deal really. It had been gently used and was practically brand new and at the time had a bid of $165. Unfortunately I don’t have $165 lying around and then my friend forced me to crunch the numbers and figure out how many badge/buttons I’d have to sell to pay for the machine and well if I figured $1.00 per button I’d have to sell approximately 270 of them to earn what the machine cost me and well that seemed like a pretty daunting task unless I was whipping them out for the Obama campaign or something.
So long story short, I don’t have a badge/button maker and I’m a sad, sad, sad gal. I’m trying to let it go, trying to convince myself that it’s not profitable and that I’ll regret it, but it’s still there on the edge of my creative mind, taunting me with project ideas. Winking at me with its shiny metal parts, shaking its buttons at me seductively. What’s a girl to do? I think if I kept looking on ebay and other places I could probably find a 1 or 1 ¼ inch badge maker for around $50 - $75, but even then when you factor in material cost I’m afraid it would take me forever to earn enough off of it to justify its purchase.
I'd be like that guy at the craft sale with a table full of $2 decoupaged lightswitch covers and people wonder how he even covers the booth fee with the sales he gets. I don't want to be the light switch cover guy - I don't like Elvis or Betty Boop! Does my desire for it alone justify buying it. Do you think I could pull in a profit on buttons?