Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Some Shop News

Hey there! I hope you are all doing well. I just wanted to take a sewing break to tell you that you may see some changes on my website. Mostly the ones that are important to you are the price changes. I have not increased my bag prices since 2007. It is high time I did that. All the materials I but in my bags have increased in price, so I have to raise my bottom line as well. My quilt prices were hilariously low, so those have been increased to cover my cost and actually pay me a bit to make them. So, my prices now reflect real life instead of my sweet fantasy world.

I know it is always tricky for an artist to price their work. I find that one of the hardest things I do. I have friends and acquaintances come up to me all the time announcing that they want me to make them a quilt. No problem. I would love to do that. But after hearing what they want (a king size quilt, preferable with hand quilting) and I rattle off a ball park price they look at me like I have sprouted a second head. Their faces crumble and they mutter something about hoping to pay about $250.  I know how much the materials cost that I put into a quilt or a bag, but sometimes I don't think anyone else does. How do you price your items that you make and sell?

I found a quilt forum and says you should charge $15 to $20 a square foot for a quilt you make from start to finish. If the customer provides the fabric it is a bit less. I think that sounds pretty good. So that is what I am doing. I would LOVE to make you a quilt. Really I would.

What do you charge to make a quilt for someone? What do you charge to make a bag? Do you only cover your supplies or do you actually pay yourself a bit? I do not actually pay myself. All my money goes back into my little business. Every bit of it goes back into buying batting, thread and the occasional stack of fabric. Lately a good bit has gone into machine maintenance. I put my machines through their paces, and frankly I think Bernina should pay me to field test their machines (wouldn't that be a dream come true?).

So, to make this interesting...I have a little treat to give away. The fabric from my scrap drawer! Hot dog. There is about a 2 gallon zipper bag worth of fabulous scraps in this drawer. I have tons of scraps upstairs as well if you had prefer a certain color.

Anyway, let me know what you charge for your hand made items and WHY you charge that. And I will pick a winner on Sunday (the 11th).

Good Luck

22 comments:

LJ said...

I need scraps like I need a hole in my sewing foot but I wanted to answer your question and maybe teeny tiny me wants to try to win something in the process. I know for a fact I under charge my things because I just want to make something for someone to make them happy. The payment is chumpchange. Also most of the time i pay half of what you do in terms of fabric costs. I do get quality quilting cottons at a surplus and salvage store with an awesome fabric section. I have found Kaffee for 1.99 a yard. I'm a frugal quilter for the most part. I think it's important to charge what you think you're stuff is worth.

Brenda said...

I'm all for fair payment for handmade items, but I admit it is hard to get it. I've heard artists charging $30 to $50 a square foot, depending on technique (machine vs. hand quilting). I always joke I have two prices for my stuff: free or four figures. So far no one has paid me the second price, although a hand appliqued quilt my mom and I made raised $5200 in a raffle. I'd love to win your scraps!

The Army of Four said...

I've actually stopped selling my things because
1/ I couldn't keep up with the orders
2/ I was way under-priced.
Those two probably go hand-in-hand. I now will make a bag or a quilt for a friend or family member or fund-raiser for free - and I'm much happier that way. Sometimes they'll send the fabric, which is nice. And a dear friend sent me a gift cert. to the Fat Quarter Shop, which was awesome "payment".
KZK

Head Øv Metal said...

When I made a few camp shirts years ago, I think I charged $50 total, but most of that cost went to the Japanese fabric or coconut buttons.

Your scraps sound lovely!

Isisjem said...

I would love to make and sell items - bags maybe. I have resisted doing so for exactly the reason you mention. People often want hand made stuff but they want it at mass produced prices. I'm always being asked when I'll sell my bags but when I mention the materials alone for something simple might run to £20 and then I'd have to add my time on top - their face says it all. They equate home made with being cheaper because it's not mass produced!

Having said that often I'd not want to pay the prices that some people charge for the stuff they make and I know how much fabric costs! So it's a very difficult subject.

mindingmomma said...

I charge 25 for a baby size quilt.
I think it is a fair price and not too high for people not to want to order one.
I would love the bag of scraps! Thanks for the chance to win!

Dee said...

I have never sold anything that I have made because
1) I don't think I am good enough
2) I can see all the mistakes that no one else can
3) I would feel guilty charging someone for my costs let alone making any profit

On the one occasion that price entered into a conversation there was shock displayed

Hoola Tallulah said...

I have never sold anything I made, but if I did, I would charge for my time, and as a buyer of handmade, I expect to be charged for the makers time. Sometimes my pockets are not deep enough, but if they were, I understand the value of handmade and would not be shocked to be charged $1000+ for a really beautiful quilt. A bag od scraps is like my dream giveaway!

Peggy said...

I charge the following for bags.
The cost of the materials x 2.

Lynn said...

I charge by time rather than size. The more complicated or intricate a design the more I charge per size. I think that the materials cost is minimal compared to the time so I usually go mostly by how long it takes. I should keep more careful track of the time spent. Applique, handwork, smaller piecing, more complicated quilting, and size all factor in to my pricing. I don't really have a formula though, it is more of a "feel" for the quilt and its design.

Jenny said...

really interesting question Tia.
more often than not, i give my hand made items away...honestly, I would rather give it away to someone who i know would love it vs. charge too little for my time and energy. I tried craft shows and never made enough to cover costs and only ended up resenting what i was making. I gift quilts and usually make 4+ as donation a year.

Lori Kay said...

I have made a few commissioned quilts. I charge $30 per labor hour plus materials. I estimate the total number of hours I think it will take me for the project - let's say 10 hours; If it takes me less than 10 hours, I charge them for my actual time. If it takes longer than 10 hours, I charge them no more than $300. So far, the quilts have been pretty basic in design and I haven't gone over my estimate of hours TOO much.

em's scrapbag said...

I feel I can't get enough to justify selling homemade items. I would rather give them away than have such a piddly amount put on my time and effort.

silversmith said...

i've only made quilts for family, so i make sure they cover the cost of materials... only my mother has given me a little extra. but, when i was selling other handmade items (baby stuff, silver jewelry and my prints and illustrations), i'd do cost x 2, plus add a little for my time. how much i added for my time depended on how much detail or work went into that item. a set of simple burp cloths was minimal, but a detailed drawing that took 80-90 hours was the bulk of my price.

my mentor and former metalsmithing professor used to tell us cost x 2 and at least $15-25/hr for our labor (this was 10 years ago). i always had a hard time charging that amount, but i should have.

we always know what goes into such work and what it costs. only do others who craft and create understand the value of our time. we're not free!

NurseBrandy said...

I've only made a couple of small things for people who've given me a few $$ for it. I know all too well that I have not asked for enough when the $ has basically paid for materials, if even that.

ACK!!! I think it's one of the reasons I don't make more for people - I don't want to get ripped off! I'd love to hear what others are saying about how they charge...

:)

Kristin L said...

I price my art quilts at $1 per square inch and then round up or down depending on complexity of the work. I hardly sell anything, but I don't want to devalue my hard work or anyone else's in the business by under-pricing my art just to sell it. I donate one or two small pieces per year to causes I deem worthy and they always fetch a good price. I do not sell bed quilts because people can buy ones made in the Philippines or India for just a few hundred dollars, and mine would be closer to $1000. Rather than undercut my actual expenses, I'd rather give it away for free -- but that's only for close family and friends, or charitable donation -- and for those, I maintain full creative license (ie, I make it for someone because I want to, not because they told me what to do).

Stephanie E. said...

I would love to sell my handmade items but the few times I've tried no one wants to pay the price for even the cost of materials! My friends, my husband have even encouraged me to sell the things I make and it just seems scary! Thanks for the chance!

Stephanie Ellis

Quilt Hollow said...

This is something that I have pondered on with my own quilting business. I am a longarm quilter and know the value of good quality cottons, threads, battings and the time taken to not only piece but quilt a piece....hand or machine. People who are the real deal quilters will know the value and work you put into a piece but those who don't will scuff at the idea of having to pay that kind of cash when they can easily go to a department store and purchase a mass producted item for a tenth of the cost. My minimum fee to quilt anything for a client is $50 alone. I think it is always best to make a "one of" and then take orders from there. What you make on a quilt is what the purchaser is willing to pay. Most quilter's figure they can make their own...and like I said....others think it is ridiculously too much. Best of luck!!!

Quilt Hollow said...

I just left your blog and went to another....here is a perfect example of what happens when you try to sell to a quilter. LOL
http://strawberrypatchquiltworks.blogspot.com/2011/12/hot-gift-idea.html

Rosmarinus Designs said...

I charge $30 per 256 square inches plus fabric cost I came up with this figure when I took my first commission for a t- shirt quilt. It was actually $20/shirt back in the day but I have raised my prices twice due to inflation.

rosmarinus designs said...

$30 for about 256 square inches plus cost of fabric. I developed the price from my t shirt quilts that I have done for others on occasion. I love doing them but they are heavy and put a strain on my machine and my back.

Wonderful blog!

Debbie said...

Hello, I usually request that the customer buy their own supplies for their project. I learned that when they see the actual cost of designer fabric and supplies required they completely understand the cost. I have found that when I do this I average 10.00 to 20.00 per hour depending on the project.

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