Saturday, August 25, 2012

Pricing Purses?

So, last night I went to my department's picnic. I don't usually relish the idea of forced conviviality, but occasionally these things are required, and I usually end up having a better time than I expect, and last night was the same. It doesn't hurt that it was another in a long line of obscenely gorgeous days we've been having around here.

But I digress. I was talking to the administrative assistant for the grad students in our department, who is completely awesome. I really don't know how she keeps track of all of us and our innumerable forms, deadlines, and requirements (most of which we routinely miss, being irresponsible grad students), but she does and it's terrific. Anyway, I had this bag with me, and she loved it! She wondered if I could make her some for Christmas and what I would charge. I told her I hadn't really thought about it and it would depend on the fabric and such. She said that was fine, but to think about it and tell her a price for making them.

I have no experience with this, so I thought I'd throw it out there because I know that others have: how do you determine what is a fair price for your work?

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  1. Oh it's the age old craft dilemma! How to charge a reasonable price that people will pay, and yet cover your own costs and even make a profit?!

    I usually try to factor how much the fabric would cost and how long it would take me to make the bag and work out an hourly cost. Even then I still sometimes quote less than what I should technically get - mainly because I love sewing and hey any money towards more fabric is a bit of awesome. ;)

    Good luck! It's awesome that someone loves your sewing and wants some of their own! :)

  2. What a timely question!!! I was literally just on etsy looking to list a bag or twoand wondering about price. The above advise is exactly what I would suggest.
    Some people will pay a bit more than others. Some will want you to charge less. I used to sell custom purses/bags/totes a few years back. I needed to price them so that I was happy to make them :)
    If you aren't really sure on a price go a little low and be sure to tell her that the price was just for her so you can adjust it if future orders come in...and they probably will ;D

  3. I'm sorry about the "used"...and other typo's/grammar... it's pretty early here... I should be asleep ;D (good thing I proof read this comment, I had typed HEAR instead of here) SHEESH!
    Happy Sunday! :)

  4. I know personally I double the cost of materials and then add to that. So if you have $10 of materials in each one - you need to charge a minimum of $20 + labor.

    I think for me I make a quilt I want and then try to sell it to recoup the cost of materials (so I can buy more fabric!). Not sure about making an item just to sell :/ So what is your time worth? If someone asked me to make a dresden quilt for them it would be very pricy compared to a large patchwork (since its much less frustrating!).

  5. Everybody makes amazing points! You definitely have to make it worth your time (unlike grad school stipends that do NOT pay you what you're worth). I haven't sold anything of mine (yet!) but I like the guideline of starting at twice the material cost suggested by Jenn.

  6. I did a craft fair last year and spent a long time thinking of how I would price items. Granted, I wasn't looking to actually make it a business, in which case I would have done things a little different. I instead thought about how much I might pay if I was buying the item in a store. Then I considered how much the materials were worth. I never factored in an hourly wage for myself because I figured that people who would be at the fair wouldn't be willing to pay $160 just in labor for a lap quilt [20 hrs at minimum wage]. so for instance for a pillow I came to the conclusion that I'd be willing to pay $40-$50 for a nice pillow in store, and I made it out of scraps that were maybe $10 total, so most of my pillows were priced at around $30-35. These numbers changed slightly based on a few factors: if it was fabric that I went out and purchased specifically for an item, and it wasn't something that I already had on hand then I charged more. So if the lady wants a specific type of fabric that you don't have, or wants any part in the design process, then I'd charge her more.
    If you'd like any more input, feel free to send me an email and I can go a little more in-depth about what I did last year, and what seemed to work when selling things :)