Where creativity knows no boundaries......

Friday, April 17, 2009

Kinder Kouture

I have been spending alot of time thinking about my shop lately.  I just love watching my creative ideas come to life and then offering them to millions of people.  The joy that I get making a lovely garment for some of my customers is just undescribable.  Especially when I read the emails, or comments they send me afterwards.  I currently have three shops, but my most successful is definitely the one on Etsy.  I have sold a fair number of garments, enough to keep up my spirits.  It is after all, a hobby.  Something I do in my spare time, and something that gives me some extra added income for my fabric obsession.

However, lately I find myself in a bit of a conflict.  I am not finding enough time to dedicate to the shop, at least not enough that satisfies me.  I have a ton of ideas, but carrying them out seems to be getting harder and harder.  Even though I spent the entire day yesterday sewing, I could not bring myself to continue today until I cleaned the house.  Work before play.  Kids before sewing.  Mom before Entrepreneur.  I was in such a foul mood last night, knowing that the laundry was piling up, the dishes needed cleaning, the beds needed changing, and on and on and on.  I literally fell asleep sometime around 9pm with a headache and backache.  I assume from stress.  Today however, I stayed in a good mood all day.  My whole body felt relaxed.  I shampooed carpets, cleaned dressers, did wash, mopped floors, and literally finished all but three rooms.  No headache, no backache.  Just pure pleasure.  It became obvious to me that no matter what I dreamed about getting done today - a certain beautiful ensemble made out of roses - nothing was more important then putting my work before play.  

As I sat there last night thinking about all this stuff, I took a little look at my shop, and several others on Etsy.  One of the reasons I like Etsy so much, is because alot of the people selling things are women just like me.  Stay-at-home moms, military moms, and men and women with a wonderful talent.  I purchase alot of things through Etsy because of this very thing.   However, I have also come across some very disturbing things lately.  Recently Etsy sent out one of their emails about "How to successfully price your Etsy items".  The article was not as disturbing as some of the sites they recommended with great sales.  One of them that I looked at had some wonderful E-patterns and dresses.  I follow her shop because I love the clothes she makes.  Very simplistic, very classic lines.  Last night, I took a closer look at what she offers and her pricing.  I was in shock.  For instance, she claims to be using french fabric for a skirt, and there are three layers of fabric.  Her price $16.  In two years, she has sold 2,254 items.  That is about 93 items a month!  AT an average pricepoint of $16.50, she is making about $1500 a month.  WOW!  I could not sew that much even if I did not have children.  I am very familiar with french, italian and german fabric.   Heck I have even bought turkish and portuguese fabric.  Never have I been able to buy that fabric under $15 a yard.  Ok, so lets say she bought it at a garage sale and got lucky (no way are wholesale prices plus shipping this cheap).  Let's say she paid $5 a yard.  A size 6T would require at least 1 yard if not more, for a three layer ruffled skirt.  Then there is thread, the use of your sewing machine, labels, tags, advertising costs, etc.  Is she paying herself only $4 a  hour?  I suddenly felt very small, and took a more careful look at my pricing.  I knew that if I went much lower, it just would not make any sense to have the shop at all.  I am very precise.  I like to watch my details, and most importantly offer a quality product.   I wonder if she could say the same thing?  Maybe so.  Maybe she enjoys sewing and with sales that high, she makes enough money to support herself.  To each her own, right?  The question now is can we compete with these sort of seamstresses?  Do we even want to? No, not really.  It is remember just a hobby, and unless alot of love goes into what I do, then it just would not be any fun anymore. 

P.S. That beautiful rose project is almost finished, and I am hoping that it will be done tomorrow.  That's a big word HOPE.
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