Shopping and Selling Handmade

by - July 31, 2015

Hello everyone!
For those of you who may not know, I have a crochet shop that I started about a year ago. Thimble & Hook, just to name drop ;) Its still a baby and its still growing. But Ive come across a few issues along the way and also recently about the concept of when youre shopping or selling handmade. Theres a few misunderstandings that I would like to clear up and I hope this post helps some of you sellers and/or buyers.

Its really hard to choose the order of importance for these topics so Im just going to jump right into them.

"Your stuff/items/shop is expensive!"
When you sell handmade, sometimes you get a comment from friends or family or even strangers, along the lines of this. When you shop handmade, you are not just paying for the supplies or shopping at a general store. No. Youre also paying for the labor. And not to mention the sellers artwork. Or the cost and time of running a site, social media, marketing, design, and everything else that goes into running a business. We sometimes dont have anyone else doing that for us.
 Its a custom item that even though you might see somewhere else, it is the work of that specific seller and there will never be another just like that one. Ever. 
Yes, you can just go to the store and buy something relatively similar for maybe half the cost. However, if it falls apart after a couple uses, you know why. You get what you paid for.
 Yes, sometimes supplies arent that expensive (sometimes they are). But would you rather have quantity or quality.
We are not sweatshops. We are individuals who sometimes solely work on these items.

If its handmade, its easy to make.
Do you want to know how long it takes me to crochet a hat? IF I were to sit down, and not do anything else, but make this ONE hat. It takes me anywhere between 30 minutes to 4 hours. Thats IF I were to just sit down and do nothing else. But life doesnt work that way. My body doesnt work that way. My hands started hurting after about an hour. So I take a break. After two hours, they start hurting more so I take another break. After 3 hours, its too painful and sometimes stop for the rest of the day. This does not include each time I have to stop to be human and spend time with my little girl.

"Family Discount"
Keeping the two other subjects in mind, try to understand the frustration when we are asked for a "Family/Friends Discount". Please just dont. We hate saying "no" because 99% of the time, we love what we do. But this is my business. and its disrespectful when my time and effort is not taken into consideration. Yes, it is really easy for me to give you a discount. But if I dont respect and value my shop, others wont either. 
Just because youre a friend or family member, does not automatically mean whatever I make is for you. Unless I offer a discount or a free item, youre expected to pay just like everyone else. I wouldnt go into the place where you work and ask for free services or a discount because I know you.
For one thing, I have my own child. And anything I make, she gets the first of. No questions asked. As far as my prototypes go, just because theyre a rough draft, does not mean theyre value is any less. If anything, theyre worth more. Writing a pattern is not easy. It takes ALOT of trial and error and its not something I can just be like "yeah you can have it". The rough draft always takes 2 or 3 times as long to do.

This is the chart I like to use to get an idea of what my items will be priced. Adjustments are made depending on each item.
But just for the sake of knowledge and to give you an estimate....
(I did not make this formula.)
A skein/ball of yarn costs anywhere between $3-8. not including the one pounders.
A basic adult hat uses about half a skein.
Lets do this the cheapest possible way.
2.5(Time) + $1.50(Materials) = 4
$4(Cost) x 2 = $8 (Wholesale)
$8 x 2 = $16 (Retail)
This is the cost for a basic hat.
Now something more intricate like a character hat. Lets do this one for a child.
Most of the time you use multiple skeins for different colors. But you dont use all of it.
3.5(Time) + $3(Materials) = 6.5
$6.5(Cost) x 2 = $13(Wholesale)
$13 x 2 = $26 (Retail)
I dont use this formula to the "T" but it does help get an idea of what my items are actually worth.
So please respect your handmade sellers and their shops. We turned our hobbies into small businesses but doesnt mean theyre valued any less.

Thank you for letting me vent. And have a good day! :)


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  1. I know this is an old post but I've just started making items to sell, and wondering how much I'll be able to charge. I make unusual and complicated items, fun hats and scarves and I will charge for the work that goes in to them! Thanks for this article. Handmade is so much more personal and unique than a mass produced item that thousands will be wearing.