Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Thoughts: How to Price Your Work

An interesting blog post over at Little Bluebell caught my eye today, especially since I just started taking custom quilt orders and opened my etsy store. She determined that, according to this post on ink and spindle, a baby quilt she made to sell would have to be priced at around $600 dollars to accurately reflect the hours worked and materials used. Some of the comments disagree with using the post on ink and spindle. I don't know what to think!

Recently, a family friend asked how much I would charge her to make a t-shirt quilt. I told her $30-40. I knew this was a very low price, but she doesn't want interfacing, and I would only have to buy the batting and backing (and put the hours in). She told me she would give me $75, and then said she wanted me to make TWO, each for that amount. I can't wait to start - and it made me realize that I really need to start taking my hours into account and charge for the quality of my work, which I think is pretty good, after a year and a half of making quilts and fabric-related items. Pricing on etsy is hard too - once I start making tote bags and purses and clutches and things, I'm going to have to think hard about how to price them.

What do you think?

Also, don't forget to enter my giveaway - ends on Friday! I love reading your comments and have replied to all, unless you were a no-reply!



  1. I would recommend letting your friend know that you're giving her "the kitchen table discount." That way, if she recommends your work to a friend of hers who you doesn't know as well, they won't expect a similar rock-bottom price. Pricing work is tricky, and I don't think there's a simple formula that applies to all handmade goods. Good luck on your t-shirt quilt!!

  2. I saw Adrianne's post and thought about it some. That is why I do Etsy for fun and anything I make from a quilt,wallet,etc. I use for fun. i.e. dinner,fabric,movies etc.

    Quilt pricing IS tricky,but I think the best way to price a quilt is from what you would pay for it and after a few sales then raise your prices a bit. Couple more sales raise a bit again maybe. Someone is going to buy it once they see the sales in your shop blossoming.

    Commissions are thriving for me currently though. You just don't know what will work I think until you try.

  3. Pricing handmade goods is always going to be tricky. If I charged for the hours to knit even a simple beanie (hat) it would cost about $350 and obviously no one is going to pay that! It's not that I am a slow knitter, it's just that I have a very high hourly rate as a (casual) professional!

    In the end, we need enough for people to respect that handmade doesn't equal cheap and inferior - we will never be paid for our time in terms of "normal" labour costs!

  4. Yeah - it's super tricky. Time is money, after all. I stopped doing commission work because I found it just was not worth it for me. I simply didn't have enough hours in the day to do enough work to make a substantial amount of extra income. I'd much rather spend my free hours doing things for me (especially when I am working a full-time job as well).

  5. I agree that pricing is tricky. I used to make a lot of centerpieces, runner and wall-hangings. They were fast and easy to make and I did well with them. Commissioned work is a lot tougher. I would definitely let your fried know that was a "friend" price. Good luck1
    Quilting by the River

  6. I hate trying to price stuff! I think it's the hardest part! I always want to give everyone the oportunity to afford what I make, while still getting paid for my work. Also, it's very difficult when you are using materials most people aren't used to buying. They may not realize how much paper or fabric costs when you are buying it in large amounts.

    I love your work and think you should definitely be getting paid for your work.

  7. Aadoria - I'm replying on here because I can't email you back, as a no-reply blogger. Thank you so much! I really appreciate your compliment :) I agree with you - you make a good point that people don't realize how much those things cost. Which is fine. Since I started commissions I try to detail everything out so they know exactly how much they are paying and for what. Something nice that happened, with the family friend mentioned above, is that she even gave me a nice tip (after paying 75 for each) so that was really sweet. Not everyone is going to be like that. But oh well :) commissions work for me, sometimes. sometimes not. Good luck!


Let's start a conversation! I love comments and I'd be happy to reply to all who have an email address accessible. Thanks for commenting!


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