Selling hand-made items can be a tricky business. The market goes up and down, as well as the amount of competition. Figuring out how much to charge for your knitting can be a great guessing game that will leave you with nothing but headaches. Consider pricing carefully before you get started for best results.
First, think about the market
- Do you have something unique that no one else is doing or are many people making similar products?
- How well do hand-made items sell in your area?
- Do you have access to a boutique that will help you sell your goods or are you totally on your own?
Some markets are more conducive to selling knit products than others
Visit craft stores, shows, and local fairs and see what is selling and what is not and the kinds of prices people are getting. Keep in mind too the competition. Even if you have a gorgeous hand-knit afghan that took your weeks to make, if there is someone in a booth down the way selling afghans for half your price you will be hard pressed to get your asking amount. Some craft stores and boutiques will sell items made by local artists. Check with them about what sells and what does not, as well as the turnaround time.
Consider the cost of materials
Some types of yarn you can get cheaply or at discounted pricing, which may mean a small investment for you. Novelty yarns or specialty yarns may be more costly. However, just because materials cost a lot of money for you to buy, does not mean that the finished product will sell for a lot of money. A lot can be said for the final presentation of the project.
How much time and effort went into the project
Remember, if you are planning on knitting to make a profit you will be doing this for several hours a day. Say, for example, you make a scarf and it sells for $20. It cost you $5 for the materials and three hours to make. You have a profit of $15 dollars, divided out equals about $5 per hour that you earned. This may be enough for you to consider it a good business venture. On the other hand, perhaps you have a large afghan that sells for $120. It cost you $20 in materials and required 50 hours of time to make. If this is the case, you made a profit of about $2 an hour. This may not be worth the amount of effort that you put into it. You might also consider how many hours a day you have to work on the project. If you have a deadline and must complete a certain amount each day in order to fill it, you might find this to be more “work” than you had originally anticipated. If your clients are more relaxed about deadlines or you are creating projects for a show that is only occasionally, then it may be more of a leisure activity for you. This can greatly affect how you feel about charging.
A general rule of thumb that you can use when pricing your hand-knitted items is to charge around three to four times the cost of materials. This way you recoup your losses from buying materials as well as earn something for the time and effort that you put in. If you plan to sell your wares to friends and family instead of making a full time business out of it, you may consider having them buy the materials and then charge a flat fee for the item. Also when pricing, keep in mind that it is easier to lower your price than to raise it up. Better to start too high and need to mark the price down than to be underselling your wares.
Always keep in mind the reasons why you went into business for yourself as well. Most people start home businesses for the freedom and the enjoyment. If you are feeling tied down to the projects and not enjoying yourself, it may be time to re-evaluate your decision to knit for profit.