Just thinking out loud…
Last week I received an email about an Etsy pricing workshop. Normally, I glean some useful info from the business related blog posts and downloads. This was no exception.
I used Etsy’s pricing guide to figure out the *suggested* retail price for a throw size t-shirt quilt that I made for a coworker of mine. Now, I should preface the following discussion with my impression that Etsy’s pricing formula is geared toward production work (e.g., 10 of the same item), not true custom work.
The Dog Rescue Quilt:
*T-shirt quilt finished out at almost 63″ square.
*Required the equivalent of 9 yards of fabric and a twin size piece of cotton batting. Fabrics came from my stash and/or were purchased with a coupon at Joann’s.
*I had to piece 3 shirt graphics to make them the correct size.
*Quilt was machine quilted all over – not tied – and I changed the top thread color to match the t-shirt.
*Binding is attached and finished by machine.
*I add $10 per quilt to cover “studio supplies” (needles, thread, equipment, utilities)
Here’s my math: $75.00 for supplies + $10.00 studio supplies = $85.00 for cost of materials
Labor: 10 hours x $20.00 per hour (includes consultation, design, fabric sourcing, construction, quilting etc.) = $200.00 for labor
Cost: $285.00 = Cost of Goods Sold
Using Etsy’s pricing formula: $285.00 x 2 = $ 570.00.
I don’t have any customers who are willing to pay $570.00 for that size t-shirt quilt. Do you? This is why I honestly don’t think this pricing formula geared toward truly custom work.
Other pricing formulas say to take your cost of materials and multiply by a factor of 3 or 4. That puts me between $235.00 and $310.00 for the quilt. ($75.00 for supplies x 3 or 4 then add $10.00 studio supply fee). I’m okay with this.
Scouting the online competition revealed a $200-$275 range for a similar quilt. A quilter in my general area charges $240.00 for an almost identical quilt. I compare price by finished size of the quilt, not the number of t-shirts used.
Some of the businesses that offer cheaper priced t-shirts quilts either use less expensive materials, polyester batting, don’t use fusible interfacing on the backs of the t-shirts and/or “tie” their quilts.
I could limit the choices on the sashing and border to solids only to save $$, but that takes away some of the fun of personalizing the quilt. Forget the polyester batting – it’s cotton for this quilter, thank you very much. Not skipping the fusible interfacing either. Might tie the quilt if the customer requests it…but it won’t save that much money.
Labor is the only other input I can manipulate. Minimum wage is $7.25 per hour. Are you willing to work for minimum wage? I’m not. Definitely need to figure out how to streamline the process so I can improve profitability while keeping costs reasonable.