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Selling Products

12 Dec

I’ve been reading online how to price handmade items and each time I finish an article, I am floored, if not more defeated than before I started.
I fully agree with taking in all cost of the product when considering a final price, and as such, adding a few bucks extra as an incentive, but all this doubling to wholesale, then doubling to retail stuff can be one heck of a struggle! Maybe this would work if you expect to sell things full time and are an accomplished crafter; your name is out there, it’s your only paycheck, Ellen Is raving about it and calling you up. When it comes to reality, however, this information can ruin a promising business, on small talk terms.

Take for example, my lightbulb ornaments I have seemed to make into a tradition around this time of year. Following the rules of the things I’ve found online, I’d have to sell each ornament for $50-70 to make a profit. WHAT?!!? No, no, no. Even someone not in this business can purely see that is not the case here. I am in no ways an accomplished artist, and even if I was, if I had to spend that much money on a simple lightbulb with some paint slapped on it to make a cheery looking snowman, I’d turn right around and walk out without a purchase.
True, hard work does go into it, but it’s a given with any handmade gift. Even simple little earrings, or a small doodle shouldn’t go for more than someone is willing to pay for it.
When I started selling my knitted hand warmers in a consignment shop, I decided on a price of $25. It’s a modest price for an item that only cost me less than $10 to make, and from that single skein of yarn, I could make 2 and a half pairs of them. Using the foundations I have come across, that price would be too low. Let me explain:
The yarn I was using cost roughly $8. I could make two sets of gloves, so it would come out to $4.00/pair. $2 for a new set of knitting needles would bring it up to $6.00. Now they’re telling me that I should make my labor costs around $10/hour. It takes approximately 4 hours to make a pair, so that would be $40 in labor. Total cost so far is $46. Now I would have to double that to come to my wholesale price…$92. Now I’d have to double that again to come to my retail price…$182.00.

One pair of handmade knitted warmers would cost you, as my buyer, $182.00 if you were buying from me.

That’s quite absurd. Even using the formula I found on another site, the retail price of a pair of my gloves should be $101.00.

If that’s the case, I better have made my gloves out of the hair of a unicorn from the mountains of Tibet!

As such, I just wanted to share my way of pricing items that I hope would give others in this romp of decisions a way to ease their mind. Using my lightbulb ornaments, I shall explain to you my pricing scale.
I utilize the dollar store. It’s a crafters best friend. I can buy a 3 pack of lightbulbs for $1. That’s .33 cents each, and what I will base my price off of. A packet of ornament hooks for a dollar, we’ll say about 10 to a pack. .10 cents each. We’re up to .43 cents. Glue sticks are a pack of 20, .05 cents each, and I can make about 5 ornaments with one stick: .44 cents.
Each ornament takes about 4 hours to make. With labor charges, I’d already be pushing $40 here, so I’m going to drop it down to $3/hour. Total cost so far? $4.44. Paint I already have on hand, but all of the product I bought together cost about $15. I’ll just say I use about .05 cents of paint for each ornament: $4.49. Paintbrushes I already have, so that’s free for me. New ones for this kind of project can be found at a dollar store: $5.49.

That’s all I have to consider for my material/labor cost. $5.49. Now to get my wholesale cost, I’ll double that to a nice even $12.00. For a little extra profit, I’m rounding it up to $15.00/ornament. That’s doubling my price for one ornament! Because of the product, I’ll still have enough paint and other supplies to last for dozens of ornaments more. If I sell all 3 lightbulbs, I’d have made $45.00. Minus $3 to replenish my lightbulbs, that’s $42.00. That’s a hefty $36 profit.

Now, this is only taking the lightbulbs into consideration. I do use this way of pricing for everything else I do as well, and guess what? My items always sell. The consignment shop I sold at had asked me if I wanted to stick with my price and not raise it. I’m sure I could try a game of roulette and raise my prices until no one buys anymore, but why do that when the price I have is already reasonable and brings in a few extra dollars in pocket cash?

My advice is to add up your products, do the tedious math on figuring out how much is used on one item, and raise it from there using your gut instinct. Don’t undersell yourself, but don’t oversell yourself either. Take your product to family and friends and ask them to honestly tell you what they’d feel comfortable paying for it. Use your own judgement on your work; you know that wonky, splotchy painting would never sell for $100, but maybe for $20 someone would buy it. That scarf has holes, dropped stitches and a few wrong color additions, it definitely isn’t worth $30, so maybe add it to a clearance special and sell it for $5.

It’s a bit of a struggle to get it right, but you’ll never know unless you just throw it out there for the world to decide.

Merry Christmas!


Snow Berries!

24 Feb

Its been too long. I apologize. I was on a craft block there for a while, but i can feel myself getting over that. Quite fast, actually. My rent is being raised, and though i can still afford an extra $65/month, i fear that in the future, a possible second job may be needed. I don’t want to work in a business of any sort, so i am taking this as a kick in the butt which is propelling me to pick up my needles, dinks, and tape, and craft again. We are under a winter warning here in Denver, a blizzard watch to be honest. So i have taken this snowy morning and decided to throw berries with it. Ha ha, ok, so snow makes me ‘punny’ it seems. From one of my lobby doors, the visibility has been cut to about 1/6th of a mile as the snow is falling. And since i don’t have a view of the sunrise this morning, i have been nestled warm and comfortable on my bed, needles in hand beginning another Half-a-Berry scarf. I have to fight my cat away from the yarn I’m working with, and pluck cat hairs off of my work as i go, but my Catching Fire audiobooks (the second in the Hunger Games series) has my attention, often times making me recount my stitches to make sure the story hasn’t taken off with my concentration. This is my third tike listening to this book, and i can tell you it captures me like the first, every time. By the way, November 22nd, 2013…are ya ready? I am. I have knit the Half-a-Berry scarf before in earlier posts. It’s my take on the Raspberry stitch (i often forget what row i am on, so i cut out row 3 and just stick to the first 2). For those interested: Multiples of 4. Row 1: *(k1, p1, k1) in same stitch, p3tog* across row. Row 2: purl Repeat these two rows for pattern. The bumpy side is the right side, and the side you should purl on when its facing you should you put it down and forget where you were.


I cannot remzmver what brands the yarns are (I’ve had them for too long), but i do believe the colorful one is Yarn Bee and the black one is Red Heart (may be I Love This Yarn, but i don’t feel its soft enough to be such). I hope you all are staying warm, wherever you are!