Zip pouch mania
The past few days, I’ve been busy experimenting with assembly-line-style production of some zip pouches for the Craft Happy inventory. (Incidentally, Angelina‘s been doing the same thing!) Yesterday afternoon I took out the fabrics I’d selected last week, matched them with zippers, and measured, cut, and ironed all the pieces. The exciting thing about these pouches is that I can use my smaller FabMo samples to make them… but this also means I can’t truly assembly-line it, because the different sizes of the samples means all the pouches have slightly different dimensions. I actually think this is a plus, but it does slow things down a bit with the prep work.
I’m getting ever so much better at putting in zippers; last night I actually managed to do all the zipper insertion for these seven pouches! Today, I started on the pouches as soon as I got up, and finished the last pouch around 2:30 PM. By then, I was tired and hungry, and my hands were extremely sore (still are). So I had my lunch and decided I’d take the rest of the day off, avoiding any kind of intensive handwork or close-up visual stuff. Boy, do I not know what to do with myself when I can’t use my eyes or hands! But I really needed the break; I’m even thinking I’m going to have to do some more hand and wrist stretches before bed, otherwise I won’t be able to do any hand sewing tomorrow either. (Note on the pouches: they’re mostly machine-sewn, but there are about 2″ of hand sewing to do on each one. Hence the soreness.)
If you’d like to see all seven pouches in their detailed glory, visit my flickr craft set, or click the image below!
A new take on pricing
I was thinking about pricing yesterday, and I came up with a new “formula” to help me figure out how to price my creations. This method is highly personal and intuitive, which is about the only way I can think of to work out pricing, based on the way I source and create. It involves me looking at each item and asking myself:
- What would I consider a “ridiculous steal” price for this item, if I were buying it at a craft fair?
- What would I consider a “good” price? (Inexpensive, but not so cheap that I would question its quality?)
- What would I consider a “reasonable” price? (Not inexpensive, but fair for the quality and workmanship.)
- What would I consider a “do-able” price? (More than I’d hope to pay, but still well within my range.)
- What would be the high end of my range?
- What’s the “tipping point” where I’d put the item back and say, “No way am I paying that much for this”?
Okay, so this is no formula at all. I realize it’s about as unscientific as it gets. But for whatever reason, having this six-option range of prices really helps me figure out how to price what I make. Pricing has been a struggle for me since I started my shop — and I hear this is pretty much par for the course, for crafters — because Etsy’s competitive marketplace drives prices way under what they’re worth. I’m personally accustomed to paying high prices for things, and I want to price my items accordingly. I don’t shop casually, so when I see something I really love and need, I’m willing to pay for it; that’s the kind of attitude I want from my buyers, too, because I want my creations (which I’ve labored over so painstakingly!) to be loved and treasured the way I cherish and value my own possessions. If that means fewer buyers, fine; I’m not in this for the money. Likewise, my ideal customer appreciates that I have a relationship with everything I create, and that this kind of uniqueness affects the price tag.
I’ve never been able to fit my own methods into any of the pricing formulas I’ve ever seen, since most of those require that I tot up my costs for labor and materials. I can’t do this. My commitment to a light green footprint means I source my supplies from relatively inexpensive places (FabMo, thrift stores, vintage shops), but this also means I invest time and ingenuity rather than dollars, so in the end, supplies and labor bleed into each other. Labor is just impossible for me. How can I put a number on what I pour into my crafting; how can I quantify my aesthetic, my eye, my taste, and my imagination? Even if I were to price labor at the hourly wage I was paid at my literacy job (a modest $32K/year for full-time), my creations would be quite expensive — a zip pouch would be more than $32 even before including the time spent on sourcing. Quite frankly, I’m completely annoyed with all these pricing formulas that promise me it’s super-easy to calculate what my creations are worth. My new “formula” makes more sense to me than any of them, so unless I find a better way someday, I’m sticking with this one.