…And some shoes!

Shoes

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Small summer dress

Sumer dress in Copenhagen print factory - Apple flower

 

I made this lovely little dress for my  6 month old niece. It might be a little big at the moment, but lets hope she grows in time for summer!

Made in fabric from the new collections by the Copenhagen Print Factory, this design is called Apple Flower.   It is paired with Michael Miller Dumb dot  – Peppermint.

Both fabrics are available from The Purse Works.

Phew..

Well, first of all I suppose I had better apologize for the lack of recent activity.  It has been a hectic few  months leading up to Christmas, with craft fair after craft fair, But I did well getting the Tiny Bag co. name out there, and hopefully there was lots of happy people on Christmas morning.

Since the festive period has finished I have been rather busy planning the new spring and summer ranges that will be on offer, and planning the updated store front for The Tiny Bag Co. website.  Watch this Space!

I am considering offering customers the choice of having bags and purses in any combination of the fabrics I stock in my supplies store. Is this a good idea?  Feedback welcome!

Talking of the supplies store, this has grown fairly considerably over the last few months and I have decided to turn it into it’s own entity known as The Purse Works.  This should make it a lot easier for you to find what you want.

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…How much?

How much?The big question on everyone’s mind when they have spent hours of their time creating exquisite handmade gifts is:

How much do I charge?

This is something that has been holding the top spot in my thoughts for a while now.  There are many different schools of thought on the subject and it is hard to know which one to subscribe to.  Some people will say that you have to include your time in your price or you will be selling yourself short, whilst others will tell you to just put a mark-up on the materials. Either way this still leaves the question of how big a mark-up and how much is your time worth?

What most people fail to realise when buying handmade products is just how long they take to make, how much the “ingredients” cost, and the level of care and attention that goes into each item.  When mass producing goods it is easy to keep material costs down through purchasing large volumes, or to keep production costs low because, for example, they have a cutting machine that can cut out 20 bags a time.  This is where the customers perceived value of the product becomes distorted as they will typically just see a bag, without giving consideration to how that product came to life. More about this later.

Handmade tagFirst of all lets consider the main costs associated with craft products.  You have the obvious costs which are your materials, things like fabric, cotton, glue, etc., but what about the less obvious things such as electricity, heating, maybe water depending on your craft. You then have other overheads depending on how you sell you items.  All of the major internet craft sites will charge a commission, (Etsy, Folksy, Ebay), and on top of that if you use Paypal they will charge as well.  The sum of these fees could be in the region of £3.00 for a £30.00 item, (even higher on Ebay!)  Once you have established your costs it is time to start thinking about how you’re going to make money on them.  It may be that you only craft as a hobby and only want to recover material costs, your time being given for free for “the love of it”, but if you wish to make any kind of income from it you need to get the price right.

Most people selling crafts will probably settle for a good mark-up on their materials as it soon becomes apparent, that when you start adding a wage into the price, unless you are making several items per hour the cost rises very quickly.  Your “real” job might pay £15.00 an hour because that is the going rate for what you do , but apply this to your craft items and you might well end up with a small handbag with a price tag of £45, which is a price the market would not support.  A more realistic hourly rate would be closer to half that, somewhere around £7.00.  Bear in mind that minimum wage is currently £6.31 for over 21’s.  Typically I tend not to charge for my time, but find an 80-100% mark-up on my material costs (many of which are wholesale I must add,)  puts my prices in line with what most other people are charging.

This brings me onto the subject of market research.  It is very important to study the market place you are trying to sell into so as not to price yourself out of the game, and equally so as not to undersell your products.  It is not always the best policy to try and win custom by being the cheapest product on the market.  This could lead to your business becoming unfeasible as you are not taking enough to invest in creating new products/more stock.  Being the cheapest can also have the unwanted effect of people perceiving your crafts as being cheap and low quality.  Remember, you’re making one off, hand crafted gifts.  Everyone in the world would expect to pay more for a handcrafted Rolex watch compared to a Sekonda from the local jewelers, but in reality what is the difference between the two?  Probably a lot less than you might think.  If you are selling at a fair be sure that people know that all of your goods are handmade by YOU, and not bought in.  Likewise if you are selling through an internet based store be sure to complete the “About me” or Biography section to let people know all about what you do and your products.

Perceived value is likely to be one of the key factors in determining your final price, even after taking into consideration your mark-up or hourly rate.  As incongruous as I may seem, the perceived value of your crafts will change depending on where, and how, you are selling them.  For example, you are likely to achieve a far higher price when selling at a country market held at a stately home, think National trust, than you would at a craft fair held in a village hall.  Another thing that affects peoples perception of a product is its presentation.  Photo’s of products sold online should either have a neutral white background, or be positioned in a setting that compliments the gifts and oozes “High class quality”.  Natural settings are very good for this, stone, wood, or pebbles.  The same could be applied to a craft stall.  Ensure that the layout and stands compliment you wares and don’t look too cheap in themselves.  A simple coat of the right coloured paint on your display can make all the difference between tackiness and elegance!

Handmade wallet

So, in summary, the key points to consider are:

– Total overheads – Materials, utilities, and selling costs.
– Market value – Do your research!
– How much do you want/need to make from your business?
– Where are you selling? – What factors will alter the perceived value of your crafts?

I hope this rather long post has been of some help to you, and given an insight into some (not all) of the things that I found need to be considered when pricing your fabulous hand crafted wares!  All told there is no magic formula that can be applied, as everyone’s crafts are different, have different overheads, and are sold in different market places.   If you take into account all of the things I have mentioned, hopefully you won’t go too far wrong.  I would love to hear your experiences, and views on the matter as pricing is something I know many people struggle with.

Back to reality…

The last couple of weeks have been spent in a state of semi relaxation whilst enjoying the family holiday.  Long days lying in the sun, sipping on cocktails, whilst the kids see how many different ways they can invent to jump into a swimming pool.  My favorite this year was what they called the “Pencil jump”, which basically involved staying as straight as they could whilst stepping off the edge!  Simple things….

Anyway, all too soon its back to the daily grind.  I have finished Lottie’s school lunch bag which I was making from the tutorial I linked to in my last post, so here are a few pictures:

As some of my creations are heading to the high street I thought I had better have a go at making some labels/tags to go on them. I’ve had my rubber stamp made, and got some nice crimson ink so that it matches the logo on the web site but I’m not too sure what size label to use yet, let the experiments prevail!

Rubber stamp

If you are local don’t forget that on the 14th September we will be at the Frome show (Somerset), so pop along for a great day out.  Also I now have all of my first fabric orders and bag/purse making bits available at http://www.thetinybagco.co.uk . Although the range is quite small at the moment I am constantly stocking new products, so before long we should have a comprehensive range for all of your needs. Watch this space!

Heeere’s Michael!

Finally my new season Michael Miller fabric arrived last week, which, at last, means that I can get on and start making some new bags and purses.  If you like what you see why not head on over to my website and bag yourself some. (Sorry for the bad pun!)

Tiny bag co.

Park Slope collection

I have been trying my hand at few new projects in the last few weeks.  The first was a lunch bag for my daughter who starts school in September, and the other was some bright and fun glasses cases.  I made the lunch bag using an excellent tutorial from Pink Penguin, which can be found here.  I will post some photos a soon as it is finished, just need to fit the draw cord!

Experimental glasses case using Clarke & Clarke retro floral fabric

Experimental glasses case using Clarke & Clarke retro floral fabric

Glasses case

Experimental glasses case using Clarke & Clarke retro floral fabric

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The tutorials promised in my earlier post are still a work in progress due to the immense amount of time that the children seem to be absorbing at the moment, a situation I can’t see improving with the start of the summer holidays today!