Mini Monday Rant

Yesterday, my husband and I went to the mall with our daughter. The plan was to take her to the play area and let her run down some energy so that she would get a decent nap in and be rested for her first trick-or-treat. We decided to enter he mall through Macy's and couldn't help but notice Macy's new G-Shop. Actually, it was kind of hard NOT to notice the shop. Bright, bold colors... right next to the escalators. Macy's definitely wants this new marketing fling to be noticed.

We took a little look around and I found myself standing face to face with these...

Yeah, that's the right price on that little sucker... $10 USD. There were three or four different designs and all were rather shabby -- cheap materials, you could see the stuffing through the stitches, etc. I couldn't see one of these things lasting more than six months for even the most gentle recipient.

So, the rant. I'm still a little singed from an Etsy blog post last week that suggested we use the following formula for pricing our work:

Cost Price (Labor + Materials Cost) x 2 = Your Wholesale Price
Wholesale Price x 2 = Retail Price

Let's do the math from Etsy with one of my Fuzzy Whazzits.
  • Labor: 1.5 hours @ $7.25/hr = $10.875 ($7.25/hr is US minimum wage)
  • Materials: $1.25 (roughly)
( 10.875 + 1.25 ) x 2 = $24.25

$24.25!? And that's WHOLESALE! Yeah. Right. Like I could EVER get $24 for a Fuzzy Whazzit.

I'm lucky if I can get $7.00 each for the little guys. I tried raising the price to $9.00 at one point -- even added in fun stuff like a little care manual and stickers -- and people balked. I sold almost none of them.

So now I see these key chains at Macy's (retail) and they're $10. My stuff is surely better made than those key chains, so I will be interested to see how many are left in the bin at the end of the holiday season.

In the mean time, I just don't know what to think about my pricing. My biggest show of the year is in less than one week. Etsy tells me to charge more than anyone in their right mind is willing to pay. Macy's is charging more than I thought reasonable for way less quality, and I'm busting my fingers for, well... let's do the reverse math...

( X + 1.25 ) x 2 = $7.00
X = $2.25 = Labor



  1. I'm totally with you. Etsy suggests that I charge $200 for a child's cloak and tells me not to balk at the price. That may be fine and well for silver jewelry, but I don't think anyone is going to pay $200 for something that will last a year!

    Once I get a few more sales I will probably up my prices a bit and continue the trend until I can more sanely meet demand, but yeah, their pricing guide is a bit crazy!


  2. Lis -- I just had a look at your stuff and it's adorable!! That swing coat is on my wish list for my daughter for next spring :-)

    Thanks for the sympathy!

  3. I haven't yet made the jump to selling my stuff on etsy, but I do know what you're saying about pricing. My fiance rags on me all the time for selling my stuff way below what he thinks I should be asking. I kind of figure, though, that I'd rather sell my stuff for a little less than some people might think it's worth, than not sell anything at all because people think it's too expensive. I dunno. It's kind of a really crappy situation to be in.

  4. I am totally with you.

    I don't have anything on Etsy at the moment I gave up after there was no interest on the last lot plus postage is so much from Australia.

    I sell my stuff at a little market in the hills near where I live. I price as high as I think I can get away with and it still doesn't come close to covering my time. Part of the problem is that we are outside what I call the irony line - people out here generally don't get the point of collectable toys, or toys that are not made for kids and that impacts pricing. That being said the stall cost is very cheap so no great risk if I do not sell anything.

    I could probably get away with much higher prices at an inner city market but the stall cost would increase exponentially - that is the trade off.

    I don't even take my elaborate crocheted pieces to the market because I know I cannot charge enough for them. On the plus side hopefully I will be having an exhibition next year which means art prices not craft prices and that is where you can actually recoup your time.

    A thing to note about the Etsy pricing guidelines is that they are being driven by people who want to make a living from their chosen craft and who see those who set prices at the level people will buy as undermining the market. I understand this rationale and I have to be careful in the local market community as I have a full time job and use the market stall as a creative outlet, there are others for whom the markets is their primary income, I would not be popular if I undermined their prices.

    The problem is that so much of what we make is a discretionary spend - people don't need it. When money is tight they will not spend the extra on handmade items when mass produced is so much cheaper. I don't know what the solution is - maybe if we all followed the Etsy guidelines people would have to pay a fair amount - or maybe they wouldn't buy anything at all, that is the danger.

    I don't think I have been much help here but at least you know you are not on your own,

  5. Are stores starting to sell amigurumi style products? I have never sold anything that I've crocheted. My friends always say that I should make things and sell them. I tell them they wouldn't be able to afford it! Not good that stores are selling cheap amigurumi knock-offs.

  6. Stay true to yourself. Your skills are valuable. Price your wares so you can enjoy making them and be excited about selling them. Your personal satisfaction should be your guide.

    When I price my creations I know they may not sell but I also know they are worth every penny of my price.

  7. I just seen this havent been online and am in total agreement with you this!!! My dolls I make take me any where from 12- 24 hours I know sad very sad but I put alot of work in to them!! I would never be able to get the price I guess deserve for them no one would pay it!! No one loooks at the hard work you put in to your items and according to them your time is worth nothing i Guess!!! MY biggest worry is getting my designs copied aswell from a large manufacturer MY dolls are unique just like all amigurumi designers there stuff is there stuff and then soem one goes and ripes off there ideas mass produces them crapply and charges for it!!! Ok thats my Rant

  8. oo and I actually seen an Amigurumi Style Small teddy bear in a store around here and the where charging 25$ for it it was around the same size as my LIl gloomies that I cant even sell for 13$!!!! And THe make of it was horid