Tuesday, August 28, 2012

working for free?

Before I opened My Charming Colors I would have people email me and ask me how much I would charge for a custom order hat. After so many requests I decided to open the shop on Etsy so I could keep track of the order requests. At first I was really on the fence on what I should charge for my hats, I asked some of my blogger mom friends and we debated on what I should charge, honestly I was encouraged to charge more for the hats. I love to make them, they bring me so much joy and I get tears when a client emails or texts me a picture of them or their child wearing one of my hats. Its an honor and a joy to make these hats for people. I started charging only $10 a hat. But I realized after spending so much time making each individual hat that $10 wasn't going to cut the costs of making it. I was literally making hats for free, so I bumped up the prices to $12 for children's hats and $15 for adults, with a $3 custom order fee.

Now that its been a year I've been able to tweak my crochet skill and learn different styles of hats. Last week I was excited because I created a hat that no one has made before, the sleepy owl hat. After my first few fox hats I decided to tweak the ears so they have fuzzy tips and so they are more "fox like".

Also in the past I've made a dozen or so Dinosaur hats. To make a hat takes me an two - three hours depending on how much time I have. The additional features of the hats spikes, eyes, ears, bows ect can take me another two hours. Then I spend about an hour carefully sewing on each additional feature. I want to make sure the hat is perfect for the new owner so I pay attention to each little detail. In total I can make maybe a hat and a half a day. If its a good day I can make more. 

Pixie hats can take me a few hours to make since its a  lacy stitch. Then I carefully braid the ties so they match.

With a Hello Kitty hat not only do I have to make the hat, but since I don't like to use buttons on my items (choking hazard) I crochet the eyes, ears, nose and bow. Then I stitch it all together and add the eye lashes. This hat takes me several hours to make.  

I love the elephant hats. Next to the fox and hello kitty hats these are the longest to make. I have to use two different color yarns for the ears and crochet them in a way that they look like elephant ears with the curve at the bottom. I also have to make sure each ear is identical and that they are sewn on in a way that the hat looks good when the child or adult wears it. 

With the slouch hat I use three different sized crochet needles in making the hat. I also have to mentally count each row because if I miss a row I mess up the hat and have to start all over again. 

For each hat I use around $6 worth of yarn. I use more yarn with larger sized hats and I use different types of yarn with each item on the hat. For example the fox ears I use the $3.99 yarn for the actual hat, then I use white yarn for the mouth and ears. I also use the expensive fuzzy yarn for the tips of the ears and another color for the nose. 

Each hat takes me two - three hours to make, sometimes more sometimes less. If I am charging $12 for a children's hat that takes me two - three hours to make with $6 worth of yarn. That means I am making $2 an hour to create a hat. Etsy listing fees are .20 cents and they charge a percentage of the sale. Paypal also charges a percentage of the sale as well. Each hat that is purchased from my shop is beautifully wrapped and is mailed with a delivery confirmation. In reality I'm practically making my hats for free. 

I'm hesitant to raise the prices of my hats in the shop, but I might just have to in the fall if I want to keep the shop open. My goal is to make affordable charming hats for all to enjoy. I love making them just as much as you or your child loves wearing them. I just wanted to write this out because I get the occasional person who keeps saying they want a hat but scoffs at my fees. If I could make free hats for everyone I would. But I'm not a billionaire I do need the money to purchase yarn and to use for advertisement for my shop and or blog.

For now my prices will stay the same. 
$12 Childrens Hats
$15 Adult Hats
(if you would like to place a custom order its $3 extra per hat)

Hopefully this fall I will start to sell some of my baby blankets but haven't decided on a price for those just yet. 

also I post all my deals and new hats on my facebook page first

I also wanted to ask you all a question. What do you think would be a reasonable price for a crochet hat, shoes, scarfs or blankets? I would love to hear your feedback on this. 

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  1. Jess, I struggled with this when it came to putting things in the shop and I still do when it comes to advertising. I am going to email you! xoxo

  2. JESS, CHARGE AT A MINIMUM $15 PLEASE! That's a small increase and you work too hard not to make some profit. I'd love to see you charging $20.

  3. I think your hats are too cute. Your time has to be worth something. Maybe charge $15 to start. All those etsy and PayPal fees add up.

  4. My daughter would go crazy for that hello kitty hat!
    the others are pretty great too. i wish my boy would wear them, but he pulls them off as soon as i try to set them on his head. *sigh*

  5. your hats are amazing Jess, and you should be making money...I would charge $20 at a minimum. Do you have kid's boutiques nearby? Maybe you could try selling at kid's boutiques and charge $25? Your hats are totally worth it and I think you're underselling yourself!

  6. I would say $20. Maybe even more. You can't work for free and with all the time and thought you put in, you're practically giving them away.

    I hope that you do increase the price. Your work is worth it.


  7. I would charge $20 a hat or even $25! The hats I see @ GAP and other stores can easily be that much and are not nearly as unique and detailed as yours. You deserve to make $ for your passion and hard work!

  8. I LOVE these!!! You are so talented!!

  9. Jess, your prices are VERY reasonable, I don't think it's out of the realm of logic to raise them to $20 or $25!

  10. Jess,
    You are so talented. I think you should charge at least 25.00 for those fox hats. I'm just learning how to crochet now, and I now realize the work that goes into these. Yours are beautifully done. I think that is a very realistic price. You are worth it!!

  11. My daughter would love one of those Hello Kitty hats. I think I will be stopping by your shop shortly. :) All of your hats are amazing and not that I want to pay more :), but you could easily charge more for your crocheting skills.

  12. Thanks for commenting on my blog the other day. :) I think your prices are very reasonably, and you do such cute work! I noticed on your profile that your hubby is a worship leader...my hubby is too. It's nice to "meet" you! :)

  13. Just saw this post. I'm with everyone else, I think you are totally justified in raising your prices. I would say $20 for kids and $25 for adults would be a great price. I can't imagine how much work goes into making a hat, (I only know how to do headbands and those take me about 3 hours). Also, look around on Etsy and see what other people are charging, you would be surprised to see that your prices are very low for the quality of work you do! I was looking at blankets when I first found out I was pregnant and noticed that some people charged $80-$100 for smaller sized blankets. Let me know when you decide to list the flower blankets, I would LOVE one for my cousins daughter.

  14. Hi there. I just found your blog through a comment that you left on mine. I am now your new follower, I hope to see you follow me too. I love your crochet hats! How talented are you! I have two little ones, one boy, one girl. My son is 9mos, and my daughter 4. How much is the Hello Kitty hat?

  15. That Elephant hat is amazingly creative and hilarious. I would love to find someone making something like that in the UK but unfortunately everything in the mainstream seems to be plastic rubbish.

  16. Hi Jess!

    This is so belated but I wrote you a little note on my phone and then never actually sent it to you! :p You may have things figured out by now, but I still wanted to let you know…

    I feel you so much on this! I am the worst at pricing my items to sell. It's so hard but you are the only one who knows how much time and heart you put into each and every hat you make. I am definitely for bumping your hats up to $20. And the more time consuming ones I'd say higher still. Your fox hats are SO amazing and I would pay $25 at least for those. The time you put into them is very apparent.

    It's hard sometimes with customers who don't actually make handmade items. Some are under the impression that handmade items should be cheaper but that is absolutely backwards thinking! When you buy handmade you're paying for uniqueness, attention and so much heart that's in that item. I know you understand. :)

    Since beginning to sell in a local shop here and talking to the owner about pricing, I've started to lose some of the guilt I feel over my prices. She encourages me to honor the work I put into each piece, like every artist really should. And I like to set an hourly rate for myself. You are your own employee! Do you feel comfortable paying yourself $7 an hour? $10 an hour? Just be sure you are fair to yourself.

    I think you deserve more for those adorable hats and all the time and attention you put into making each one. Work it, mama! <3


Thank you for your comments! They encourage my heart and I read every single one of them. Please be encouraging and don't just comment or email me when you want to correct me on my grammar. When I get the "grammar correction" emails or comments they do hurt my feelings. I wouldn't want your heart to feel the way mine does after reading them.

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