Tag Archives: virginia

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.




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


-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?





7 Jul

For our anniversary this year Husband and I did two things:

– We took a food tour of Old Town Alexandria, VA

– We test drove a BMW


Please enjoy the plethora of pictures I took of our test driving experience:

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Kay.  Now, check out the cool photos from our food tour!

Food Tour First Stop: Bilbo Baggins Inn/The Green Dragon Pub


If you think Hobbits and signs that say "Hippies Use the Back Door" are romantic, then this is the place for you!

If you think Hobbits and signs that say "Hippies Use the Back Door" are romantic, then this is the place for you!


We nommed a delicious mushroomy appetizer topped with a balsamic drizzle, a sun dried tomato, and a breaded bit of deeeeelicious cheese.  They also gave us a hobbit sized taste of beer. The guy across from me drank four of them.

In a thinly veiled attempt to hide our geekery, Husband and I pretended not to notice that whoever painted the Hobbity mural had CLEARLY never read the books:

WTH? Gandalf is wearing BROWN? And why is the door handle not in the middle of the door??? FAIL mural is fail.

Stop Two: Union Street Pub, some icky poo poo gazpacho soup, and the most delicious chicken salad sandwich I’ve ever eaten:

Stop Three: The Columbia Firehouse (which actually used to be a firehouse).


Water, anyone?


Scallops, risotto with pesto, and more sun dried tomatoes

(I may have nommed this a bit before I remembered to take a photo- it was quite yummy).


The final stop on our food tour was Husband and I’s favorite place in all of Alexandria — Old Town Coffee Tea and Spice (which we visit as often as possible, and which did not allow photographs). We had a delicious slice of jelly cake (Alexandria’s…erm…national dessert), bought some awesome coffee, and congratulated ourselves for already knowing about “the best kept secret in Old Town.”

Then we went home, took a nap, and played Minecraft. The End.

Who *is* this guy?!?