Tuesday, October 14, 2008

what is it worth?

In the current financial climate, you can't help but think about what your work is worth. Ultimately, I suppose it is only worth what someone is willing to pay for it.
I cost my work based on cost of materials used and time taken (and my hourly rate is really only calculated at minimum wage - because if it was priced any higher then I'm pretty sure I wouldn't sell anything at all). I do also look at similar products on the market just to check that I am in the right kind of price bracket but this is when things become very difficult, because you want to price your products to sell without under valuing your self, but they shouldn't be so highly priced that no one will buy them.
Take this card for instance. I enjoyed making it. All in all it took me an hour - give or take a few minutes. I made it as a commission and sold it for £5.

£5 is quite a lot for a card - it is of course handmade - paper cut, hand stamped and machine stitched. Minimum wage is £5.73 per hour (for workers over 22), so the cost of the card does not cover minimum wage, let alone the cost of the materials - which would be minimal I'm sure, but the real value of this card should really be more like £6.50.
I wonder how easy it would be to make a living if I did this (crafting not card making) full time?

My ultimate goal would be to start slowly - working part time in order to pay my bills each month, until such a point comes where I could work for myself full time and have enough to pay my bills and live comfortably. It seems so ridiculous to even be thinking about this at the moment. I heard today that inflation is at an all time high of 5.2% this year, which is much higher than the national average annual pay rise - a meagre 3%.

Apologies for this gloomy sounding post - just spilling the contents of my head really.

On a much lighter and fluffier note - here are some birds I am currently sewing up:


Gina said...

This is something I have struggled with for a long time. I have found it is nigh on impossible to make money on "craft" type items. My pictures can make a reasonable amount but I could never sell enough to make a living and putting them in galleries doubles the price. So I combine my art and craft with teaching others, which means a lot of my "making" time is spent preparing for classes! But of course the up side is I love what I do so don't mind putting in full time hours for part time wages! Whatever you decide good luck... and I love the fluffy birds by the way!

Kitty said...

Can anyone really making a living from crafting? I'd be surprised. People aren't willing to pay what it *really* costs to make lovely things, are they?

I really love the colours in those fluffy birds - can't wait to see them finished. x

Lucy Locket-Pocket said...

I don't think it is ever possible to make a proper income from crafts - I always feel guilty for what I charge but it is never what it should be - for example, I really struggled to ask for £25 instead of £20 for a bunny with dress and jacket made out of a baby's outfit - even though the clothes alone took me over 7 hours to make - I should think the bunny took as long too. 14 hours work plus materials for £25! No, I'll never be rich!

But I really love your card and the birds are looking fab - can't wait to see them finished!

lucy x

lucykate crafts... said...

i think the people who do actually earn something from a crafting business do so as a result of being at home with children, and crafting part time, but supplementing it with other things, selling patterns, kits, book work, magazine work.

think of your card this way, it took over an hour maybe because you were designing it as you were going along, to recreate it again would be quicker, and therefore more cost effective as you'd still charge the same as for the first. bearing that in mind, you can also charge more again and sell them maybe as a pack of 3?

things are very gloomy economy wise, i live in the hope that the mess that has gone on in the global banking system will result in a slightly less materialistic approach to society which in the long term, will mean a return to the handmade and a more basic value system.

Lesley said...

A great post Monda! You've voiced something that many of us struggle with.
If I calculate my work based on materials and time (v minimum wage!) alone I always seem to end up with a price that seems too much.
Fortunately at the moment I craft because I love it and not because I need to keep the roof over our heads!!

I love those little birds - and the card is gorgeous too!


Kyoko said...

I can only agree everything you have said on this post. I am the same especially with knitting. If I added the time involved in knitting for a garment, for example, it would cost like £100000000!!! (just joking). I see your X'mas socks, and they are great. I can't wait to see your little birds. Have a great week!

dottydesigns said...

As everyone elses comments say, i don't think you ever get back the amount of hours put in, unless you are a painter maybe. I love your birds they are soo cute. x

Helen said...

Pricing your work to sell and pricing it so that you get fair recompense for your work is such a tough balancing act - and one which I struggle with! I'm hoping that as we all tighten our belts, we will become more discerning customers and begin to avoid mass produced bargains and turn to buying handmade instead.
The card and the birds are lovely!

emma lamb said...

Cute birds, i can't wait to see them finished :)

Ooooh, the pricing issue. I suppose a good place to start is to decide how much you would pay for your own work. But you can't under-cut yourself if you want to make a living out of your craft - it's easier to lower prices if need be instead of putting them up :) Tough decisions!

Annie said...

Love your christmas decs - pricing always a tricky issue

nathalie said...

you are so right!!! however i think far too many times, crafters lower their prices as if their time wasn't worth it. an artist can aks thousands for a medirocre painting, but a crafter can't ask their prices for their creations? i price things at what i would pay for it and hoefully kindred spirits will find me. many hugs!

Attic24 said...

I so know what you mean here.

I used to make my (meagre) living from textile arts/crafts, I managed four years before baby arrived.
I made and sold hand made cards (fabric/ stitched) and the answer to the dilemma is sadly to think of yourself like a machine. Design a card with the idea that you will need to produce hundreds/thousands of them :: easy to cut out pieces (limit the colours/cuts), simple stitching, easy assembly. Its so very hard, it is such a huge compromise, but the only way to do it if you want to be in business.

I could go on, I could tell you all sorts, but your comments box probably could not take it!
If you want to email me, please do.