Tuesday, November 18, 2014

some thoughts on pricing

I finished my Super Secret Commissioned project
(I'm very pleased with it, and will share it here next year)
and while I was writing up a receipt
(I use that word about as loosely as I use the word 'recipe' ;-)
I thought I'd take a few minutes and talk about how I price my work
('cause you know - I've been doing it soo long. eyeball roll.)

I'll be the very first to admit that when I typed in $175 for my pigeon quilt,
 I cringed.
I would never, ever pay that much for a baby quilt.
But here's the thing:
it is worth it
(if I didn't believe that, I couldn't sell it.)
and I'll tell you why.

For starters, the materials alone in that quilt cost $56.
Now, when I say the materials cost $56,
you need to know that if you, or anyone else wanted to make that exact quilt,
you would have to spend a lot more than $56,
just like I did.

See - I had to buy 1/2 yard cuts of my fabrics, even though I didn't need that much.
Yes, I still have fabrics left for another quilt,
but my up front cost was considerably higher than the $56 material fee
included in the $175 pricetag.
I also lost a few inches to trimming, and I'll just eat  those costs,
because I only charged for fabric used.
And don't forget,
I was able to purchase most of the fabrics on sale,....

I pay less for my batting than most people do, because I buy it by the roll.

I completely forgot to add in the cost of  the 1/3 of a can of basting spray that I used - so that ended up being a freebie ;-)
Again, I buy my basting spray in bulk, so I get better pricing and save on shipping,
but still, I paid $14 a can.

Okay, materials costs are covered, now let's talk about the other $119

Here's the thing,
 not everyone can sew.
And not everyone that can sew,
sews, shall we say, meticulously.

I am, I think, a reasonably skilled seamstress.
There is a lot for me to learn,
but what I do know how to do, I think I do fairly well
and with increasing precision.
(though not perfection)
I think that $10 per hour of skilled labor is quite reasonable.

I recorded 15 hr and 8 minutes of time spent on Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus.
I say 'recorded', because I actually spent more time than that:
I only charged for 2 hours to make the pigeon appliques, because I felt like that was a fair price,
but in reality, I spent more than 3.
I'd spent an hour marking the quilt for quilting
when I discovered that somehow, I'd gotten off on my lines, so I started over.
Because that time didn't really go into the quilt, since I messed up,
I of course, didn't 'bill' (or record) it.

You'll notice that the price didn't include even all of the recorded labor,
because if it had, the quilt would have been priced at $207.30.

Because it is totally not necessary, but I like to add some hand-stitching,
I decided to throw that hour and 45 minutes in for free.
I hand-sewed the binding down, when I could have sewn it down by machine,
so I charged for what it would have taken me to sew it by machine.

Then I just reduced the total a little for a nice even $175.

That 'nice, even, $175' very nearly made me choke.
Could I actually sell something (and a small something at that) that I made for that much?!?
Maybe I should sell it for less, I thought; I'm an unknown nobody in the blogosphere, after all...
But you know what? My work is good.
It's even better than some of the big bloggers out there
who are selling smaller quilts for the same amount.
And more importantly, my time is worth it.
I have a kazillion things (and almost as many people ;-) clamoring for my attention.
As you well know, the choice to do 'X',
means you can't do 'Y'.
So if I'm going to be 'sewing for pay', even if I'm gifting that pay,
especially if I'm gifting that pay,
it needs to be fair wages.

I am so, so blessed to be able to stay home,
to not have to go out and get a job,
or even earn money from home to support our family.
We aren't rolling in dough, but Tyler's job provides for all of our needs
and plenty of our wants.
I have the luxury of using my earnings to help women rescued from slavery,
and they are worth it.

That's what's rolling around in my head.
I kinda feel like I have to defend my prices,
some people think quilting is just sewing a few pieces of fabric together,
but there's a heck of a lot more to it than that.

If you are a maker and seller, I would love to hear your thoughts!
(If you are not a maker and seller, but you're a buyer - I'd like to hear your thoughts, too :-)

1 comment:

  1. I loved the Pigeon on the Bus quilt and if I had had the money I would have paid that for it perhaps even more because to me it was worth every penny for I know the hours that went into it!!! SO I get it COMPLETELY!!! JILL


You're leaving me a comment?? Oh goody! I love comments :-)