swings and roundabouts

By robynjay On April 24th, 2015

We all love to get a bargain but when it comes to handcrafted goods it pays to stop and think.

I’ve been running with Society6, Red Bubble and Spoonflower to date for finished products and materials. For each item sold I make about 10%.
Sounds awfully low doesn’t it. Why would I do it?

A typical design takes 3 hours to complete. I try to use the design in a few ways and on all sites.
So at $20/hr labour (yes that’s right), that’s about $60 per design.

Once the design has been uploaded there’s no more to outlay. So my costs are covered (just) once I’ve sold 20 bags or equivalent. This of course does not take materials (pens etc) into account.

The other option is to purchase fabric from Spoonflower with my own designs, make items, and sell them via Etsy or at a market.
The type of canvas used by Society6 works out at around $40/yard thanks to the crummy exchange rate. So a 45cm tote with straps and lining the materials alone would cost me around $20 and about half an hour to make.
Let’s say that my outlay including time and $2 towards the design adds up to a total of $32. On top of this Etsy charges 3.5%

Until now I’ve been convinced that Society6 etc are the go. A simple tote bag costs (when postage is free) about $28.50 AUD and I can’t make them for that.
Society6 also allows me time to design but the product quality and style is out of my control. Bags are also branded Society6 not Bunyip Designs.
The Spoonflower + Etsy option requires hours at my sewing machine but the peace of mind that the style/quality of the build is as I would like.

It’ll be a hard slog to make any gains but I’ve decided to give Etsy a go as well as leaving designs on the other sites. Instead of replicating the product I’ll try creating something a bit more unique. On Etsy I can also make and sell items not included on the other sites – table runners, placemats, pillow cases etc. Labels are ordered and prototypes under way.

I may well be mad!

The old Singer

CC FlickR image by Georg Holderied

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