For your product, that may work. For mine it wouldn't. So I do not think anyone is really 100% right. Different strokes for different folks right? That makes the world go around. If we all did things the same way, it would be boring. And since this is something
I work to be time efficient where possible but I also work at a pace where I know I won't make mistakes on stitching an item. Of course I also look at market values. As I've said before, my prices match almost all other colleagues in my field on Etsy and most at craft fairs. Only those two times mentioned have I encountered problems.
In sewing, there is no way humanly possible to make a 900% profit unless I have people in a third world country sew my products and pay them next to nothing. That is just not feasible. Kudos to you for getting that profit margin. I don't know anyone here who can do that. Your product is pretty different from any one else I know though and creating it is probably a much different process than mine.
Maybe another reason my way works is that, no offense, I view what I sew as useful. I think people do need them. I need them. I absolutely needed a better diaper bag. So I sewed one. Then I took one to a craft fair and sold custom orders of them. What mama doesn't need a good diaper bag? I needed something so that I wouldn't constantly lose my flashdrive and chapstick. So I designed a cozy for them. It's one of my most popular designs. It's functional. Dogs need dog collars so I sew them. I promote my products as useful things - functional and beautifully crafted. If I went into my craft fairs as nothing I have anyone needs, I wouldn't sell. Again, that isn't meant to be offensive but I could never have that mindset and be successful at what I do. I am glad you can be with a 900% profit margin but I think that is rare for a crafter.
Oh I see what you mean on the craft fairs. No. That $15/hour is strictly crafting time in prep for a fair, or an order, etc. I do not calculate my time at the fair. Then I would really make no money. And I timed myself - no distractions, nothing, what's the quickest I can make this type thing. Does it often take me longer? Oh man yes. But that's the nature of having three children ages 2 and 1/2 and twin 10 month old boys. So I have plenty of distractions when I typically craft. Or I craft while watching TV, because I'm sure like you, I can't just sit and watch TV!
And you are completely right about one thing - even if I wasn't making $15/hour, it would still be worth it. Because now, I don't have to get up at 5 a.m. every day, get all three babies up and out of the house to the sitter and to teaching by 7. Home at 6 and stay up until 1 or 2 a.m. to grade lessons and plan. Oh it's worth it regardless. I am grateful I can make the money I do at home. I don't want to ever go back to a brick/mortar type job - oh unless it's to work in a fabric/craft store. Now that I'd love! Funny enough several crafters I know do just that! They craft and work at our local JoAnns or Hobby Lobby or our other local mom and pop sewing shop.
Actually, I think I'd like going to fairs even if I didn't make money, know what I mean? They are FUN, for me anyway. I LOVE LOVE the people I meet, both customers and crafters. Several of my closest friends are crafters I met. I never would have met them otherwise.
And of course I could never afford to figure in the cost of hosting my own website into my item price. That would be, as my ten year old nephew put it, "insanity in a can." (Gotta love what kids say...)
I read the blog post and comments posted. Good insight. Here are my thoughts:
I'm still not going to change how I do things. I have never once lost money at a craft fair and I include cost of booth rent and gas in my involved cost. I always triple to quadruple my craft fair fee at small events and make way more than that at larger more prominent fairs that carry more traffic. I also have garnered quite a group of customers who pretty much look me up at every event I do.
My dog collars - $15 - are pretty much priced the way most of my colleagues price them both at fairs and on Etsy. Actually pretty much everything I sell is priced comparably to other sellers in the virtual world and those at craft fairs. I've only had Just this month alone at fairs, on Etsy, and on my own website, I've sold so many dog collars, and other items, that I completely funded Christmas for my three children and gifts for my hubby.
Sure my dog collars and other items that are under $20 sell the best. Do I sell my $40 or $60 purses as often? No - probably ten a year. I'm okay with that. The custom bag I just sewed and sold for $75 - did I really make that much money? No. It was a completely new pattern I drew that I'd never done. But I gained a loyal customer who'd asked many crafters to custom design it for her and all declined. So for me the profit or lack thereof was outweighed by gaining a customer.
I looked at my price sheet on Excel which is a formula that I wrote up to incorporate my costs and time. I took out time and tripled cost like you said - almost everything was the same price I currently sell it for and many things were more expensive. So in the end, I'm not really doing anything wrong in my pricing. I have only had those two comments about two items in an entire year.
I am so happy with what I do. I love every minute of it. It does not feel like a job and it does not stress me. I guess I don't understand the issue but I will read your blog. Like I said, my sister has been doing this for five years - okay not your 25 - and she's very successful in the US and with her international customers. She has plenty of freedom with what she does and I feel like I do as well. Again, I'll read your blog post. Thank you for posting it.
I only figure in my time to craft it and the group of crafters with whom I have a good relationship here all figure in their time. It is both a passion and a source of income. I don't know why either of you feel you cannot incorporate labor costs into your item cost. Further, my sister owns her own business. Five years after starting, she is very successful at it and she incorporates her labor time into cost of the item. People have grown to respect her product and for a good product, they are willing to pay her for her time. After all, isn't your time valuable? I'm sorry if you don't agree but I would pay more for a hand crafted item knowing that my money was helping support an American family.
I did smile and move on. I was just asking about who else had the same experience and what you did. I didn't intend to make myself come across as a money hungry person.
I recently starting sewing the microwaveable potato bags. I bought the batting in bulk - a huge roll to save on cost but had to buy the fabric by the yard. I did just now find a wholesale fabric group on FB so will be able to purchase the fabric at a better price.
When I price an item, I include everything - this is a passion for me and a business - so cost of time, fabric, batting, thread, packing materials, etc, is included in the price.
At a recent craft fair when I first sold the bags, I sold a few, among many other items. But, I received one comment that bothered me. "I bought one similar to yours for $5 at a recent craft fair." She did buy the bag but it still bothered me. I knew who she was talking about too. I have seen the woman selling. She undersells everything. She works at a JoAnns an hour from where I live and she sells every item she makes almost exactly at cost of materials. I cannot do that with three little boys to provide for. I explained to the woman what is included in my cost. Then another lady loved one of my dog collars (a top seller for me at every fair and online - I can barely keep up with making them!) and was preparing to buy it. I guess she did not read the price tag and price sign. When she asked me what she owed and I said $15, she said "WHAT? I would pay five dollars and no more." I was actually offended and did not even bother explaining to her what the price includes. I felt like saying "I don't work in a sweatshop and mass produce in a third world country" but obviously that would not be appropriate and would not be good customer service. I smiled to her and said I'm sorry you are not happy with the price. It is a well made collar and it is worth the cost. I know you would get years of use out of it for your pet. She did not buy it.
$15 includes cost of supplies and my roughly 25 minutes to cut, iron, sew, and iron again. I strive to make $15/hour as a crafter and I think that is completely reasonable. I made much more than that in my previous brick/mortar career and my mother in law who is from Europe thinks I under charge.
Hi everyone! I'm new to the forum though not at all new to sewing.
I just bought a double needle and I know how to install it; that is obviously super easy. But, HOW do you thread it?? I cannot find my manual anywhere. I can't wait to use it because I think it would produce some really pretty double topstitching on my purse lines and other products that I sew.