What is the cost of handmade?

This is a difficult post to write, because no one really wants to talk about money. Except, the topic keeps coming up and it is one I am struggling with.

Since I am just starting out I have a lot to learn about running my own business and especially about marketing and Etsy. I took a Dabble class (Dabble rocks, check them out here)  about marketing that was taught by Rebecca from purpleandlime. Rebecca is awesome and is a trained Etsy educator and thanks to her I think I finally grasp how to use Twitter. Oh, and I have a better understanding about how to use social media for marketing.

At the end of the training we talked a little bit about pricing. Rebecca said that the wholesale price of an object should be half of your retail costs. She is right, that is the correct pricing structure. Except, today, if I were to try to sell wholesale then I would be making about $5 an hour.

Sewing takes time. Even when I am upcycling an item that is already made I have to source items, wash and iron everything, mend it, cut it up and resew it. Then I have to iron it, take pictures, and write up a listing. Sometimes, not always, upcycing takes more time then just starting from scratch. Yet to me it is worthwhile because it is quite rewarding work.

Handcrafted items are a labor of love. I do not have a factory where I can churn things out- it's just me. I also have not exported labor costs to another country. It's just me sitting here in my apartment in Chicago at the sewing machine. I do my best try to price things so that they are affordable, but also priced to cover the cost of the materials (that means fabric, zippers, thread, upkeep of machines, etc.) and pay myself at least minimum wage. Fluctuations in price for similar things, such as skirts, are based on the cost I paid for the fabric and the amount of time the skirt took to make.

For now, I am not sure what the answer is. Except, I think that the larger question is, would you pay more for something that is handcrafted?

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