Wednesday, June 3, 2015

"Are you going to sell these on Etsy?"

I often get asked for a business card or if I'm selling when Madeleine is out and about in one of her dresses.

I always thank the person and tell them no, but for the few that push why not, here's why.

Let's look at an example.

Madeleine's little Star Wars dress

1 yard of material cost me $10 at Joann's
Button $0.50
Thread $2 for a spool

We are up to $12.50

It took me 45 minutes to make the pattern.
Then 10 minutes to cut it out.
And about an hour to sew it all together.
20 minutes to drive to the post office.

At $10 an hour that about $25 worth of labor.

The dress would currently be priced at $37.50.

You might be thinking "Eh, that's a little high, but I would still totally pay that much for a cool dress."

If I did this as a job (and I know since I technically have my own business), taxes would take close to 25%  (self employed people have to pay double social security and medicaid) of that. And etsy takes an additional 3.5%

That puts it at $48.18 and with shipping this dress would be around $50.

Most people don't want to pay $50 for a dress, even if it's a really cool Star Wars dress.

At $10 an hour, I'm getting paid around the same amount for a lot of unskilled labor. I want to remind people that sewing is a skill. It takes lots of practice and it's hard work. At $10 an hour, I could barely support my family on my own income, if I had enough sales to work full time. I should honestly be closer to $12-$15 based on my skill level. A master seamstress should be much higher than that.

The thing is many people don't see it that way. They see it as me ripping them off. Walmart and Old Navy sell dresses for less than $10 a dress. They think my prices should be closer to those stores. The truth is that those clothes are not made by people making a living wage. They are also people that are trying to live in America on American prices. They need $120 a month to live in a 3rd world country and they are not even being paid that.

I cannot live off of $120 a month. I cannot and will not try to compete with those wages. The things I make are not in the same class. They are unique, fair trade, and produced in a 1st word country. They are not mass produced, with unsafe, unpaid labor in a 3rd world country. To ask me to work at 3rd world country prices isn't worth my time. 

At the moment, I rather make milkshakes or work at Anthropologie.

The truth is homemade is no longer the "cheaper" option if you are not doing the work yourself.

Having a friend do it for you for a discounted rate is something you should be very grateful for and hopefully you realize just how much money they are saving you. It's the ultimate employee discount. The main reason it is cheaper is that you are getting free labor instead of very cheap labor plus a bit of a mark up. Free labor isn't free to the person that it doing this for you. Economic teach us that no matter what time is a limiting factor. That friend is giving the limited hours of their life to help you with a project for free or pretty close to it. Be grateful for it.

For more reading of other crafters on this subject, you can read here from a knitter (I actually really love this one)  and here about a doll maker.

Anyway, that's why in general I don't sell to people that I don't feel like crafting for. If you're my friend, you might one day find a message from me asking if I can send you something.  And if you don't receive that message, I would be more than happy to make something for you, just make sure you are willing to pay me a fair price.

**By the way, I fully aware that I could streamline the process of creating a dress. I just also realize that I would have other cost that I didn't factor in (like marketing, driving to the post office, buying another sewing machine etc.). The price would probably only go down a bit.**

1 comment:

  1. Homemade things are seriously treasures. My mom makes all of our kitchen towels, she made a rug for Caroline's room, and all of Caroline's blankets, bibs, and burps. She's saved us A LOT of money by simply hand making them...and those things are more meaningful too. Adorable little dress (we are quite the Star Wars fans too) and I wish I had your sewing skills!