I've heard some complaints and comments lately about how expensive handmade children's clothing is.
Honestly, before I started sewing, I thought the same thing. Now, I realize that most seamstresses are actually underselling their creations.
Let's figure out why handmade clothing is priced as high as it is.
Here's a dress I made last summer:
The materials that went into it are: 2 buttons, heat n' bond for the applique, thread, and approximately 2 yards of fabric. The fabric I buy for my products averages out at $10-$11 a yard. Yes, I could just go to Walmart and buy $6 a yard fabric, but I take pride in the quality of my product. From my experience, you get what you pay for with fabric. So, the cost of materials for the dress are $1.50 (buttons), $0.25 (heat n' bond), $0.15 (thread), and $20 (fabric) making the total cost for materials add up to $21.90.
Okay, now add in the time it took to make the dress...I spent approximately 2 1/2 hours from start to finish. My time is valuable, and I deserve to be paid for it just like anyone else who has a job. Let's say that I pay myself $10 an hour. (Note: Can you live on $10 an hour? Not very comfortably!) That makes the total for labor costs $25.
$21.90 + $25 = $46.90
But we're not done yet! This figure doesn't include all the hidden costs of business such as buying patterns and business cards, internet costs, time spent promoting the business and
updating listings online, sewing machine maintenance, packaging
supplies, Etsy and Paypal fees, time to take and edit pictures of the product, camera batteries, electricity to run the computer and sewing machine, etc. To figure all that in, add at least $5 to the total above.
$46.90 + $5 = $51.90
Want to know how much I'm selling this dress for?
Still think it's overpriced? When you take away the cost of materials, I'm not even making minimum wage.
Many of my friends and family assume that, because I'm a seamstress, I save money by sewing all of my kids' clothes instead of buying them at a store. They're always surprised when I tell them that it's much cheaper and faster for me to buy clothes at Target or Old Navy than to make them myself.
So, if I make so little money sewing and selling children's clothing, why do I do it?
Because I love it. There's no way I could put this much time and energy into something that pays so little if I didn't love it.
So the next time you're browsing a craft show or Etsy and find yourself thinking that a designer is charging too much, please remember what goes into each handmade craft and piece of clothing.
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