Technically speaking, the only difference between an amateur and a professional is that the professional gets paid.
But as reader Jim Narbour points out: “Some amateurs working out there are nearly as good as professionals, and often price work at the price of the wood, taking their ‘profit’ as the joy of the making. If a professional is selling a bowl at a price that will cover all expenses and leave a profit for the maker, an amateur can undercut by 50 percent or more for what appears to the buyer to be nearly the same thing."
Anyone who is out there selling cut-rate goods, regardless of quality, is hurting those who are trying to make a living from their work.
The big problem is that the buyer often simply wants the best price and is not concerned with the ethics. We once bought some really good quality feather beds from a guy who was selling them out of the trunk of his car in a grocery store parking lot. He told us he was having "a small cash flow problem," which has become one of our all time favorite comments.
No store markups, no advertising budget, no wonder he could offer such a good price.