Pricing Handmade Things

“Why are hand knit items always so expensive?” 
“No, seriously. I can go buy a scarf at the store for like $10.”
Many people who have asked about the 4th Doctor scarf run away (far, far away) when I mention the final cost of $400.
Every knitter who tries to sell their things is always confronted with the issue of pricing. If we charge a lot, no one will buy anything. If we charge too low, we’re cheating ourselves. When I first started, I was spending hours knitting & weaving & basically making like $0.50 an hour & not even charging for the yarn I was using. As I began talking with fellow hand-knitters, I realized that I should not have to compete with bigger businesses that crank out a million “handknit” sweaters via factories…. therefore, I kind of have the right to price a little higher than $0.50 an hour.
I understand $400 may seem ridiculous for a 12ft scarf, but here is why I price the way I do….
  • There are approximately 1000 rows in this scarf.
  • Each row takes me 2 minutes (longer if I’m switching colors, but I don’t really count those). If I knit consistently at 2 minutes a row (which is near impossible because trust me, after knitting at that rate your fingers feel like they will break off at any second), it should take me approximately 2000 minutes to complete the scarf (minus the tassels).
  • 2000 minutes equals over 33 hours of consistent knitting….
  • In addition to the rows, time goes into cutting & weaving in the tassels. The fastest I have timed myself is over 5 hours (on a good day)
  • This brings us to a total of 38 hours.
  • Fellow hand-knitters I know will charge between $10-$15 an hour for hand-knitted work… I will charge $350 for 38 hours of work which is equivalent to $9.47 an hour…. That’s less than I made when I worked part time in the library during college…..
  • So where does the extra $40 come into play? That’s the cost of the yarn. Now I will rarely include the cost of the yarn in a product I make but since this scarf sucks up sooooo much yarn, I kind of have to charge for the yarn. I purchase 100% wool yarn at around $3 a skein. Now I could go buy acrylic RedHeart yarn and cut the price in half, but that would go against everything I, as a natural fiber knitter, aim for…
  • Shipping for this product costs me upwards of $7. Because I realized $400 is a lot, I offer free shipping.
So there is the breakdown of a $400 scarf… Hopefully this sort of helps people understand why hand-knit things are pricey. There are many other beautiful knitting blogs that help breakdown their costs. Simply google “why do hand-knit items cost so much?” Also, here is a beautiful video that perfectly explains why those of use who hand knit things price the way we do. This video actually helped me realize the appropriate way to price my items.
Thanks for reading! plant
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