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Amy

Getting Fair Prices for Your Crocheted Items

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QUESTION: When real crocheted garments are sold at mass retail at prices that pay third-world workers pennies an hour, how does that affect a crocheter's ability to charge fair prices for his or her crocheted products?

 

QVC is selling a gorgeous crocheted sweater made from fine gauge yarn for only $60 in sizes from XXS to 3X.

 

From the perspective of a consumer who just wants a pretty sweater, sounds like a great price, right?

 

From the perspective of the third-world crocheter who probably spent at least 60 hours making a large-size sweater and may have made no more than 25 cents an hour, it doesn't seem so great, does it?

 

From the perspective of a crocheter who wants to make a living selling crocheted items, it makes it even harder to convince customers why she needs to charge a price that adequately compensates her for the time involved, even at a minimu wage rate.

 

Read my latest blog post. Let me know what you think. Share your thoughts here, on the blog, and/or on our Facebook page.

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First you have to find a market that can afford hand made items be they toys or clothes and that is a challenge for many people that make hand made items of all kinds.  You aren't going to compete in a market where people are looking for bargain prices, that just doesn't happen.  When people only have limited amounts to pay, they tend to go for the cheaper Chinese product even when the quality product is better made, will last longer, and in some cases can be passed down to the next generation in the case of wooden toys, etc.

 

You aren't going to change the mind of the consumer who will stretch to buy the cheaper "brand name" Chinese items.  However, with the right marketing you can find a market with consumers who will buy locally, if they recognize the value in it.  There is a whole green movement built around buying from local merchants rather than importing clothing, food, etc.  That is a market that is ripe to be explored and educated about why local costs are higher.

Edited by Bailey4

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Wow, interesting blog post,Amy

This reminds me of the discussion we were having in the Mastermind group.  Those workers are getting so little for all the time that goes into the garments.  That's a really pretty design and the buttons would probably cost at least $4-$5 dollars for 10 buttons.  As an individual crocheter, I would consider $60 to be on the low side for a garment- QVC is buying from a distibutor who is buying from the group who is doing the actual crochet.  That person is making much less than I would make selling a similar item for that price- if I'm making it I'm not paying a distributor,and someone to sell it for me.  Of course, I would have to consider the cost of the yarn, the buttons, and the time to make it. I would probably charge more for a larger size too.

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I am not a clothing manufacturer, but I would be very surprised to find that the Chinese companies are paying $4-5 for 10 buttons.    I wouldn't be surprised to find they have found a way to cheaply mass produce them as well as a way to bring down the cost of the yarn by purchasing it in large quantities, if it is not a yarn they make themselves.  The button workers are likely making nothing in wages either, but that is what probably helps bring the product in at that cost.

 

That is another issue many individual crochet clothing makers have.  Even if they don't have to buy retail, they still can't buy in the quantities that manufacturers do to bring down the costs per item to a more manageable price.  It still doesn't account for their incredibly cheap labor, but it does account for some of the cost.

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I meant that if I were making a similar garment, I would pay $4-$5 for the buttons.  Of course a manufacturer would be able to get a better price.

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I was just commenting on Amy's calculation of the cost of the garment that was sold.  The Chinese get their labor and materials across the board cheaper, therefore the price to market is always going to be cheaper.  However, for those that want quality, quality matters.  You have to find a market that will pay for quality and appreciate the value of it.

 

I mentioned those who have a individual business of crocheting are at a real disadvantage because even if they aren't buying retail, most can't buy in bulk and even before labor costs, their cost of materials is always going to be higher.  Add in the low cost of Chinese goods available for Chinese manufacturing and the depressed prices are even more difficult to compete with for individual crochet businesses.

 

For those of us who appreciate crochet goods, many of us have learned to crochet so we can have the kinds of goods we want at prices we can afford.  Then we are negotiating for types of yarns we can afford, patterns, materials, etc. because we know we couldn't pay someone the price for the labor.  At best we might be able to barter for equal skills in terms of labor if we want to consider marketing the goods vs. those who are just generous with their time and talent.  Realistically for many the price of paying for finished crochet goods is just not realistic. 

 

In order to make a living at selling the finished products, you really do need a market that has the financial will to pay not just the cost of materials, but labor.

Edited by Bailey4

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