I must say that I was amazed when I saw the prices this crocheter is selling her items for. I have not seen her work personally so I cannot speak to its quality or the choices of yarn. Obviously, if one starts with a $20 skein of yarn and works for an hour to make a beanie that’s a different scenario than starting with several skeins of Red Heart Super Saver acrylic yarn used to make a cardigan.
We have likely all participated in discussions of pricing crochet. There are various formulas for pricing, but most include taking the cost of materials and multiplying by 3 or 4 to get a reasonable selling price. So, that $20 skein of yarn would require a selling price of from $60 to $80. Highly unlikely that one can get that much for a beanie no matter how luxurious the yarn.
These hats were crocheted by Tammie Snyder and are for sale on her site along with an assortment of other items from fingerless mitts to a sexy tank top. I’m not picking on Tammie. Anyone is free to offer their crocheted items for any price that pleases them – for any price they think the market will bear. At local craft shows, I’ve seen (and purchased) intricate, handmade table toppers (quite large doilies) for $35. That price suited the crocheter because she was only interested, she said, in making enough money to buy more thread for her crochet addiction. I’ve also seen simple, acrylic beanies priced at $25. Those do not sell well in my area. And, I find it difficult to rationalize paying that much for about $1 worth of materials and an hour of crochet time. The table topper was being sold at sweat shop prices and the beanie for Neiman Marcus prices.
Maybe a craft show is not a fair comparison. There’s not much opportunity for real marketing at a craft show held in a high school gym. The overhead is low (the cost of the table is usually from $10 to $25) and the traffic is usually high – unless the weather is rotten. Then, most goods remain unsold at any price.
The internet is generally free of weather related variables and the opportunity for marketing maneuvers is greater. Still, potential buyers must find your site. Your overhead can range from very low – you create your own blog and streamline shipping and handling by using only flat rate postage – to much higher if you hire a professional site designer and offer credit card or paypal payments and individualized shipping prices. Then, factor in the cost of spreading the word about your site.
I have heard from some serious crochet vendors that the ‘hobby’ crocheters have ruined the market prices, undervaluing the art of crochet in the minds of all potential buyers. I don’t know who’s right here. It’s clear that there is no direct positive correlation between the quality of the goods being offered and the prices being paid. Neiman Marcus charges hundreds of dollars for a dress that contains a few crochet inserts obtained from a sweatshop while a creative, talented, hard working crocheter in the U.S. can’t get paid more than a few dollars an hour for her crochet efforts.
If we think in terms of a price per inch of crochet (only one of many measurements we could theoretically use), then the crocheter selling her table topper for $35 is likely in the ‘red’ column while Neiman Marcus is reeling in the cash.
So, I ask you. If you HAD to make a living with your crochet – or make significant contributions to your household finances – would a price per inch for crochet be a fair way to price your work? If so, what would you charge? If not, what method do you use or would you recommend?
The podium is now yours.
P.S. While you’re checking out Tammie’s site, please don’t miss this OOAK tie dyed hat. I think she’s gonna need to make more of these!