So I thought it was time I wrote a little bit on the subject of pricing and hand knitted or crocheted items. This is something that over the years since I began Indigosky2knit in 2012 I have become more and more passionate about.
Imagine this: you are wanting to begin a business venture, you want to use that venture to support your family, to pay bills, feed your children the best food, make the best choices for education, and maybe have a little left to put aside for some fun. You have skills and want to use those skills to earn said money to support your family. Those skills are time intensive, they create beautiful and often unique items, those items last many years because you choose the best kind of materials.
When you are starting your business well meaning individuals, some of whom do the same crafts, and some who sell their own products, tell you that ‘you’ll never make an hourly wage doing that’, ‘people won’t pay you more than a couple of pound an hour for the time it takes’, ‘it can’t be your only source of income’, etc. They don’t mean any harm, they think they’re helping. But are they?
Do you know how long it takes to knit a baby hat, even for a skilled and fast knitter? Do you know how long an age 2-3 cardigan takes to knit? Do you know how long it takes to crochet some baby booties, or an adult unicorn hat? I expect your guess is out by an hour or two for small things, or many hours for larger items.
Say it take 6 hours to make a toddler cardigan, age 12-24 months (and that’s for a simple cardigan with no seams and a few buttons added, made by a speedy knitter)? How much do you think a person’s time is worth for doing that? £3/hour? £5/hour? Or are they worth more than the UK minimum wage, which currently stands at £7.83? Factor into that the cost of materials, the extra time to choose a yarn, to market the item if it’s to be listed on a website and needs some form of advertising, and is it really too much to ask for £10/hour that it took to make the cardigan? Yes that makes that toddler cardigan a value of £60. Is that really too much?
Well here’s a few more things to consider. If that cardigan is made from high quality yarns it will last for many years, so it can be handed down to siblings, or friends. Many find high quality knitwear lasts beyond any stated age. The design I use is in fact aged at 2 year increments from age 2, and the age 10+ would likely fit into the teens. I have a blog post in the writing with customer experiences of how long some items have lasted, but my own experience for now from my own children. My eldest daughter fitted many of her hand knits for 2 years, baby items for up to 12 months. My middle daughter then wore one or two of those and still fits a couple of age 5 items at the age of 7. My youngest daughter (who was a 99.9 centile born baby weighing in at 11lb+, so the size of your average 3 month old) fitted a 0-3 month cardigan I had made her before she was born until she was close to 9 months old. The £45 that is worth would be money well spent for a cardigan that lasted almost the first year of a baby’s life.
Do you think spending that little bit extra for something that lasts many years is worth it? Many people feel it isn’t. It saddens my heart when I see skilled yarn and fibre artists pricing their work for so much less than the time it takes to create. I feel it undervalues not just themselves and their skill, but the hard work that many others put into their own craft. Is a person really only worth £1/hour, and yes I have seen some items priced so low that even if the person doesn’t need the money, they are seriously undervalued. If you don’t need the money from selling goods, why not gift them to the many family charities or homeless organisations who would gladly accept them as donations, and you would feel just amazing for being so generous, probably much better than the feelinsg felt when you spend several hours creating something and receive £5, £10, or even £20 for something that took you 6 hours to create.
If you create beautiful things, take a minute to consider if you feel you and your work are worth more, if they are then charge more. If you shop for hand made products that you know take many hours to create, then consider offering to pay more for an item or shop from sellers that charge their true worth. If you don’t think a person is worth £10/hour for their time? Well maybe rethink that idea, or buy your products from shops where goods are made in sweatshops, and consider the ethical implications of knowing workers are paid £1/hour, but don’t expect a skilled craftsperson to be earning so little.
Much love and best wishes
(and make sure you charge what your worth whatever your craft)