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Topic: pay rates  (Read 2192 times)
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« on: January 27, 2004 11:02:55 AM »

I'm not sure how many of you create for profit- but here's my question-

how much do you pay yourself? How much should a store pay you?

hmm, maybe I should explain. I do alot of sewing- I've been sewing and designing for almost 10 years now. I normally pay myself (when I sell my items) between $20-$25 CAD an hour- after all, I am designing and assembling each peice, and it's fairly labour intensive. Generally this seems to work out well- I'm not rolling in the dough because I'm a poor student and don't have much time to sew, but it does mean that I'm not undervaluing my items (generally my purses end up being about $25 and Skirts and Shirts around $30, wristbands around $10-$15). Recently, I've been approached by a new store that is opening that wants me to be an in-house designer- to design peices under a store 'line' of closthing and the sew them too. However, the owner only wants to pay me around $8 an hour... Am I being unreasonable? I suggested $15 an hour and he just said that there was no way he could afford it. I know starting up a business is expensive.... but $8/hr was my starting wage when I was doing nothing but filing and photocoping! Am I way off?
« Reply #1 on: January 27, 2004 03:16:48 PM »

While the pay rate may not be so good, you can look at the in-tangibles that you could gain from such exposure.  Where is the shop located? what are the rest of their business plans?  What else will they sell in the shop? etc...  If it means that your work will get a lot of exposure, then it may be worth taking a "pay cut" in hopes that down the road bigger and better things are waiting for you.  If the owner doesn't really seem to have a coheisive vision for the shop or you know that it won't be a highly visited one, then you may be better off passing on the idea and keep on working for yourself.  Also ask the owner how much they plan on selling your items for, maybe there could be a profit sharing set up from the sale of each of your items.

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« Reply #2 on: January 27, 2004 06:04:51 PM »

Although I agree with Kamala77 to a point (in terms of exposure, learning the business, etc.) be careful not to sell yourself short - it's a bad precedent to start! I think the prices you are charging now for yourself sound very reasonable - I have a friend who is a seamstress who pays herself $30-$35/hr for any custom work, and flat rates for certain types of work (hemming pants, replacing buttons, etc.)

There are 2 questions you need to answer up front - first,  who will the designs belong to when you leave - them or you? There's a lot to be said of intellectual propery - that is, your thoughts and ideas(designs) have market value, and as such you need to be compensated for them not only when you create them, but if they are used after you are no longer employed. Second, is this someone you know well? If, after 3 months, you want to walk away, is it going to ruin a friendship or possible future business relationship? Because if that is true, then it doesn't seem worth a pay rate of $8/hr.

Perhaps you could work out some other arrangement for them - you design a few things for them, they sell them on consignment for you - if it goes well, then you could talk about next steps - and by then, maybe they would be willing to pay you what you are really worth!

Good luck - let us know how you make out!

"Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work."  - Thomas Edison
« Reply #3 on: January 27, 2004 11:55:33 PM »

DO NOT sell your time short. find a pay rate you are comfortable with and stick with it. I pay myself minimum wage, but it gets worked into my base cost and gets marked up before I wholesale.
« Reply #4 on: January 28, 2004 12:21:21 AM »

is it full time?

i work on weekends for 10 bucks an hour in a pharmacy, and it's nice to have a bit of a steady cash flow even though i can sell handmade items for over 150 a piece because of time constraints for making those items (ie i'm a student!)

would you make more than what you'd normally earn in a week working for the place?

« Reply #5 on: January 28, 2004 07:18:33 AM »

I agree with miss_mom.  If you do decide to go into this, make sure it's agreed to upfront (best in writing) who owns the designs. Usually, when you work for a company and design or invent anything, the company owns it. So if one of your designs is a hit under the store label, are you free to sell it under your own label to another store in the same city? In another city?  On your website? You want to retain the rights to your designs.

Could you negotiate a base rate plus a commission of sales? Maybe once your  designs hit, let's say, $500 or 1000/month in sales, then a commission kicks in for you on all sales over this amount.

And as another poster noted, is it worth biting the bullet on this venture and see where it leads to? Do you get the sense that this is going to be a popular store and a lot of people are going to see your stuff? Or is it someone trying to get stuff as cheap as possible? Only you can get a sense of this based on the owners' experience and the store location.

If you do decide to take an hourly wage for this, make sure it's established upfront (in writing) that they are responsible for all expenses. If not, that 8 bucks will not go as far!

I mean all expenses - from supplies to gas for your car or bus fare, % of utility bills for operating equipment out of your residence, meals if you are grabbing something to eat while working.
« Reply #6 on: January 28, 2004 08:04:36 AM »

The store owners approach is a little unusual from my experince in the apparel biz. Typically a store that wants private label, doesn't keep track of a vendors time (which is what you are). They would simply give you an idea of the design info, maybe show you sketches or magazine clilps, discuss who is supplying ands paying for fabric (very important), discuss a delivery date, and then you negotiate a sales price (wholesale). If your price is too high, he either doesn't buy or you find a way to make the item cheaper which in most cases involoves compomises on both sides. Maybe the design needs to be modified, maybe you can compromise a little on your costs, maybe both. He shouldn't care how long it takes you to make it or have any interests in how you make that happen. In turn you shouldn't care how much of a mark up he takes to sell at retail. It sounds more like he wants to hire a seamstress. Are you working in his facility? Do you have to make the pattern? Are you paid seperately for that? If not then the pattern should be yours to keep and do what you like with. I think you have lots of questions here to work through. Could be a good source of income but unless you get name recognition in some way or a commission, this sounds like is a sewing job for income and the pay he's suggesting is pretty close to what an industrial seamstress makes as a starting point. I'm not necessarily suggesting that you take a pass, just know everything you can. It would give you something on a resume, hopefully sketches for your portfolio, and an inside peak at the business.

Good luck,

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