I Work for Peanuts.

3 Aug

A thing happened this weekend involving a very needy customer, several e-mails, an emergency trip to the craft store, and – you guessed it – a no sale in the end.  I’m in a unique position with my crafting – I really DO do it just for fun (I’m fairly certain I’d never see black if I was trying to run a business) – but the whole situation got me thinking…

 

How Much Money Does a Crafter Really Make?

 

Let’s say you see this little guy, a 3″ ornament sized Charlie Brown doll, for sale at my Etsy shop for $18.00US.

 $18 for a teeny little ornament?  Well, yes.  Check this out:

 

Materials for 3″ Charlie Brown:

– yarn in yellow, skin, black, and brown : The kind of yarn I buy costs around $5/skein, so that’s an initial investment of $20 plus tax.  Let’s say one set of colors will yield about 10 dolls, so we’ll put the total yarn cost at $2.00.

-safety eyes: I purchase my eyes from this Etsy seller, who sells them in sets of 10 for $3.50 + $2.00 shipping.  So, $5.50/5 dolls (cuz I like my dolls to have two eyes, yo) adds another $1.10 to my supply cost.

– fiber fill: You can get about 20oz of this stuff for under $3.00, and as I really don’t measure how much of it I use, I’ll add another $0.05 to my supply cost.

– crochet hooks: You can get a decent set of crochet hooks for about $10, and since I acquired my hooks years ago and have no idea how much I paid for them, I’m going to add only another $0.05 for general wear-and-tear on the hook (yes, they do wear out – sometimes they snap in half. It’s unpleasant).

– pattern: I designed this pattern myself, which I sell for $1.10 at my Etsy shop, and which, all-told, garners me $0.60 profit each time someone buys it.  I don’t pay myself whenever I use this pattern, but let’s pretend I do, because I really ought to.  What’s that rule of owning your own business?  Pay yourself first?  Hmm…  Anyway.

-Etsy fees: Etsy charges me $.20/listing and another $.30 at the time of transaction, so let’s add another $.50 to the cost column. Awesome.

So far the total supply cost for little Charlie is $3.70.

 

Need another shot of Charlie?  I thought so.

 

 

Now let’s talk time.

 

In a perfect world I can make little Charlie here in just under two hours. Let’s assume for the sake of this discussion that I always make Charlie perfectly and never have to stop working.  The current minimum wage in Virginia is $7.25/hr, so my work, for two hours of hookery, should earn me $14.50 (minus taxes, which I’m not even going to get into here).

 

SO. If I already have all of the supplies I need, don’t make any mistakes, and pay myself minimum wage to crochet this ornament, it will cost me $18.20.

 

COST OF CREATING CHARLIE: $18.20

SALE PRICE OF CHARLIE: $18.00

PROFIT: NEGATIVE $.20.  Rad. I have the best business plan EVAR!

THINGS CRAFTERS OFTEN DON’T CHARGE FOR, BUT PROBABLY SHOULD:

-The time it takes to acquire supplies (either driving to the store or purchasing online)

-The time it takes to photograph products and create listings for them

-The time it takes to prepare items for shipping (and the boxes/packing materials)

-The time it takes to actually ship an item (have you ever been to the post office when there wasn’t a line??)

 

Now then.  I don’t mean to be a whiney poo-poo with this post; like I said before, this is not my “for profit” job  (For profit I work HERE – see if you can find my blog posts!).   Often, though, I think about people for whom crafting is their main source of income – people who spend hours and hours making things for us, and for minimal profit.  Well, you might say, crafters like what they do, so they should figure that in to the cost analysis. Oh yeah?  Have you ever had a job, like, EVER that paid you on a sliding scale according to how much you enjoyed the work?  Yeah, uhm, no.

 

YOU: “Hey Boss, I LIKE MY JOB $700./hr-much!”

YOUR BOSS: “Good for you.  Now go chop those onions.”

In the end I suppose this post is about trying to encourage a certain amount of thoughtfulness. When you think about all of the costs that go into creating, say, a graduation quilt, or a hand-painted seascape, or a carved stone bracelet – isn’t part of the item’s value the fact that it was made by two hands instead of a machine? Shouldn’t we “factor in” the value of knowing personally the guy who built our kitchen table? Shouldn’t we crafters charge you a $10 flat fee for “peace of mind” on every item?  (Tee hee – just making sure you were still paying attention).

 

Maybe you disagree, and that’s okay too; here’s something you might be interested in.   See?  I’m a People’s Blogger. *grin*

 

What do you think about the cost of  hand-made items?

 

 

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