Okay, I have to take a minute out from the regularly scheduled program for a bit of a rant. If this is your first time on this blog, forgive me, but this issue has to be addressed. If you’ve been here before, you’ll know this isn’t my normal kind of posting, but again, this issue has to be addressed. Okay, with that disclaimer out of the way, here I go.
Christmas is just around the corner and I know there are a lot of people who have been busy knitting for quite some time now in preparation for this. There are also knitters who are picking up their needles and favorite fiber at this moment in order to cast on stitches that will become lovely scarf, hat, mittens or some other wonderfully warm winter accessory. If you’re making a sweater, this concerns you too, so please read on.
I am pleading with you as a fellow knitter and designer, to NOT devalue the goods you are making and/or about to make by selling them at ridiculously low prices at the local craft fair. Here is an example I found on Craigslist of just that …
The above picture accompanied the following article …
Hand knitted slippers
Adult slippers are $10
Child slippers are $7
baby slippers and booties are $3
Adult Boot Slippers are $15
It had a link to a website and also a Facebook page where you can buy these and other knitted items for Christmas gifts. Okay, now first of all, let me state that I understand the following things …
- Some people ARE retired and don’t mind spending their hours watching television and participating in “mindless knitting”
- Not everyone can afford to buy high quality yarns @ $15+ per ball/skein
- Not everyone is able to market their products in the correct range of value/price that it deserves
- Not everyone realizes the time and skill commitment it takes to learn how and then actually make even the simplest knitted item that would be “sellable”
This being said, I ask that if you are planning on knitting for sale this season (or any other time), consider that even the simplest of items has taken you quite the investment to make. I am not just talking about the yarn and the time spent knitting it, I’m also talking about the time spent learning to knit and honing that craft to a proficient enough level that you can actually manufacture a piece suitable for sale. You also have to consider the quality of the finished product.
If you do this you’ll realize that there is no way possible that you can manufacture and make a pair of adult slippers for $10! I consider myself a fairly fast knitter and if all the conditions are right I can crank out about 90 stitches per minute for about 5 minutes. Even then, it would take me a minimum of 2 hours to knit the simplest adult slipper I can think of. If I wanted to keep costs at a minimum, I would go to Wal-Mart and buy the big 1 pound ball of acrylic yarn for about $7. (Of course, I would have to invest in a good quality hand cream for the damage I’m going to do to my skin by knitting this!) I could probably get quite a few pairs of slippers out of a pound of yarn, so my material costs would be fairly small – let’s say about $.50 per pair.
The time investment I’ve made in kitting is huge and I SHOULDN’T consider making anything for anyone unless I’m selling my time at about $30/hr. I know I’ve caused a few heart attacks here, so let’s drop that down to the minimum wage where I currently reside – $10/hour.
That would mean that the simplest slippers I could make (1 color garter stitch squares that are sewn together in the basic shape of a slipper) should get sold for $20.50! Here they’re being sold for $10. And to make matters worse, when you put items like this up in a Craft Fair, people still haggle with you to reduce the price!! Are you flippin’ kidding me?? You’re already basically paying people to take your goods.
So yeah, I’m asking you to not put your hand knit items on sale at these prices. You’d seriously do much more good donating them to your local charity or Salvation Army. There they will go to someone who needs them. Here they’re being bought by people looking for a gift fr someone they’re obviously not very fond of. Help us all and increase your prices for hand crafted goods – regardless of the craft. Yes, you may sell less, but your margin will be better and you’ll raise awareness for your craft so your next item will come closer to getting sold for it’s real value!
Thanks for reading!