Thursday, March 27, 2014

Why does that cost so much?!?!

I often get inquiries about a dress, give a price quote, and then never hear from the potential customer again.  Sometimes I hear that the price is too high or someone will ask if I am willing to make it for less etc.  So I thought I should explain my pricing so you all know exactly what you are paying for!
Since the casual princess dresses are pretty popular right now, I'm going to use one of them for my price break down.

I'll use the Aurora dress since it is one of the simpler dresses.  The picture is of a size 6 dress.
I followed the pricing tutorial posted by Create Kids Couture here.

Fabric required 1 3/4 yards at $8 yard on average = $14
Ribbon - 1 yard at $1 per yard on average = $1
Thread - it's hard to estimate how much thread is used per dress.  I only use high quality thread for both my sewing machine and serger.  Each spool of thread usually costs me around $3 and I estimate that I probably use around 1/4 of a spool per dress so thread = $0.75
Elastic - 10 inches = $0.30
So total for all materials is $16.05

Packaging costs
Poly mailer = $0.10
Business card = $0.03
Label = $0.05
Ink = $0.05
Packaging total is $0.23

Labor - this is probably the hardest to put an accurate number on.  Initially I was really just sewing for family and friends and didn't pay myself for my labor.  As I began sewing for others it became evident that I needed to reimburse myself for the hours of time that I devote to each piece.  I've been sewing for most of my life.  I have developed quite a bit of skill and feel that I should be reimbursed for that.  So I decided to work for no less than $12 an hour.  That's probably really low, but my primary purpose for sewing isn't for monetary gain.  I have a full time job that I love.  In that job I am paid more for what I know than for what I can physically do.  The bulk of my salary is based on my education and skill I possess.  With sewing I feel that the opposite is true.  I get paid more for the product that I produce than the skill I possess (although the only reason I can produce a quality product is because of the skill I possess so I guess it's a catch 22!)  All of that to say, I'm paying myself $12 an hour.

$12 per hour x 1.5 hours = $18
Packaging hours x 15 minutes = $2 (This includes the time it takes to photograph each item, package, weigh, the package, print off the label, drive to the post office, etc.)
Labor total = $20

At cost total $36.28
Wholesale price (2x cost) $54.56
Retail price (2x wholesale) $91.12

Right now I charge $45 a dress.......according to these calculations I'm losing $9 per dress....hmmmm.

Things that aren't included in the cost:
Machine maintenance costs - I just had all of my machines (1 sewing machine, 1 embroidery module, 1 serger) serviced and with just TLC care and some minor repairs I ended up paying close to $700.  Sound high?  Yup, it is, but I have high quality machines that require service from a technician who is trained to work on my machines, so I have to fork over the money in order to ensure that they are properly serviced.
Power to run the machines- I don't even know how I would try to calculate this!
Cost of pattern - this pattern cost $8
Advertising - I pay to advertise on various blogs and occasionally have a print ad in some sewing magazines.  That cost can vary but averages around $250 per year
Professional photos - I try to just trade out for services as much as possible, but if I have something specific that I want photographed - like a whole line for summer or winter - then I usually end up paying a photographer which averages $300.
Last but certainly not least - cost of time picking out fabrics, hunting down specific fabrics for custom orders, prewashing all fabrics to get rid of the nasty chemicals used during production, prevent shrinking, and color bleeding, etc. 

Boutique clothing is expensive.  Handmade clothing is expensive. You definitely get what you pay for.  Can you purchase clothing for cheaper elsewhere?  Of course!  I completely understand that sometimes the price of items can be prohibitive, but that doesn't mean that I should charge less.  Remember that when you buy something from a small boutique you are paying for boutique quality not mass produced pricing.

So, could I reduce my prices, yes.  Will I, no.  In all honesty if anything my prices will increase.  I'm worth it, my time is worth it.  It is time that I start respecting my time and talent enough to insist on being paid what I am worth!

Friday, March 14, 2014

Sewing Room makeover!

I've been looking forward to setting my sewing room up since I moved into my house in October and this week that time finally came!
So off to Ikea I went and got everything I needed to make these tables!  The pink legs were on sale which sweetened the deal. My best friend helped me out by drilling the holes to drop my plugs down through and fastening the table tops together. 
The thread storage I got at both Joanns and Hobby Lobby. I love color and rainbows so was excited to see how all my thread was going to look on display!  Just in case you're wondering the thread is mostly Guterman with some Mueller and an occasional Coats and Clark. 
The ironing board cover I made about a year ago and love it!  The cabinet is filled with dozens and dozens of patterns 😁
The hanger on the wall is old thread spools and I found it at Rod Works!
I've never met a glass jar I didn't like and save just about every jar that enters my home!  The jars make the perfect spot to store buttons, ribbon, tape measures, extra scissors, and labels!
The cute little shelf was a Hobby Lobby find and is the perfect scissor hanger!  The little yellow thing on top was given to me by a friend in Mississippi and has a little smiley face on it, it always makes me happy when I look at it 😊.  The silver scissors are old Ginghers that my Mamo used to make quilts. The still cut like new and I love using them. The hanging mason jars I found at Target and adore them!  They are the perfect spot to store random sewing things. 
I always have an over abundance of fabric scraps and finally have a pretty way to store them. These cute wire baskets I picked up at Hobby Lobby. 
I made the fabric storage unit out of 12x12 wire storage things I found at Bed Bath and Beyond. It's perfect for my stash. Inside the armoire I have my mandatory tv....I mean who doesn't like to watch tv while crafting? I also have tons of scrap booking stuff in there. 
Phew!  I think that's it! I have lots more planned so stay tuned for updates!