Friday, 26 August 2011

Advice needed!!!

Mug Rug and Goody Swap inspirations - Things catching my eye at the moment. 1. patchwork pouch, 2. cat pouches, 3. Solids quilt challenge, 4. Ringo Pie Sunlight for Marit, 5. Flower bearing birds, 6. Rug Mug Swap, 7. Finished rainbow mug rug, 8. Brit Quilt Swap - Fabrics?, 9. Bubble Pouch, 10. There's a rabbit in the garden!, 11. Better shot - Finished MMM bookshelf mini-quilt, 12. DQS10 Mary on Lake Pulaski, 13. Turtle Pot Holder, 14. Bunnies, 15. little, 16. Needle felted chickadee - finished  Created with fd's Flickr Toys

I completely forgot to show you the mosaic I made for inspiration in the Mug Rug and Goodies Swap being hosted by Fluffy Sheep. It's all a bit random but the colours and design spoke to me and along with information on my flickr profile I thought it might give my partner/s a good start of my likes. 

I actually have the day off from work today and had planned to go off to a craft fair but as it's in the middle of a field and the weather forecast is rain, rain and then some more rain I've decided to go another day. So far today has been all about the housework.  So nothing new to show you creatively. 

However, I do need some advice.  I am getting more and more enquiries from people who would like me to make them stuff - particularly bags like these.  This brings up two concerns I have which some of you might have more experience of. 1) How on earth do you set about pricing what you make which is both fair to you and the purchaser. I am hopeless at trying to put a value on my work.

 2) is it a head ache to start your own business selling your own hand made goodies? with all that entails - letting the tax man know, working out the value of  stock you've already purchased and would effectively be 'selling' to the business, starting to fill in self assessment forms.  Now maybe I'm over thinking it. Maybe some of you will be thinking: What I was supposed to register as self employed and tell the tax man because I have an Etsy shop?  The trouble is when your day job involves you thinking about just these kinds of things for someone else's business, it can be hard to see the wood for the trees, when you want to start from scratch doing it yourself! I keep thinking that as much as I'd like to be running my own little creative venture, it's going to end up requiring more admin that it's worth. 

So any advice from those already doing it would be much appreciated. 

If you are fortunate to be having a long weekend this weekend enjoy!


  1. I sell my quilts on etsy. I had the same fairness concerns that you do. This is how I solved it for myself. I spent time reviewing what others were charging for similar items. I got a huge list, and did an average, per square inch. It's worked for me.

    It'd probably work for bags, too. Everything has dimensions!

  2. Unfortunately my experience has been that folks rarely want to pay a price that reflects your materials and time. Your time should be the most valuable part, but with handmade goods which are time consuming, the end price rarely reflects the time spent. Tax returns & SA are a pain, but a necessary evil to being self-employed. You could always start with craft fairs, private events etc. to get a feel for what you will sell and how much folks are prepared to pay - but it most certainly won't make you rich quick! Jxo

  3. I am self employed in my day job plus my etsy shop selling vintage stuff, fabric etc, so I am used to the record keeping. It is a bit of a faff and the etsy just helps fund my fabric buying rather than a dependable income. It mainly involves keeping basic records of money in and out and the tax office help with how to calculate room usage, electricity etc. Prices on Etsy can be hard to compare to, most goods are from USA and fabrics and supplies are cheaper there so it is hard to compete. Jan's suggestions on pricing are good and like Judith says riches are rare!

  4. Despite being paid to chase folks who forget to pay their taxes, I have no idea how you go about getting it right!!
    Fabric plus time should be the minimum, but most people won't pay that much :(
    I think if you were going to make things whether or not you had a buyer, then as long as your costs were covered, then you can at least buy more fabric!

  5. I am so no help at this. I have the etsy shop and I do ok but all my shop does is fund future projects- and I do have to say that it does that fairly well, but not something I make any sort of real income off of.
    I have no idea on the taxes as I am sure England is totally different. Such a headache though.
    I try to calculate prices that truly cover my time and start there, you can always decrease your price later. The stuff people like and sells well I make more of- the stuff that sits I just leave it there. It either becomes a gift at some point or someone likes it enough to pay what I've priced it at. And personally I am willing to wait ... I have things that stay up for a year or two and then one day someone buys it...
    I would say if you are going to start selling have a range of items at different prices. More sells make more people interested in buying and you will sell more low priced items faster. Also low priced items tend to be the ones you actually make money on - at least in my experience...
    going to stop now... good luck!

  6. What Jess said! I does take discipline and focus... the focus is what I lack right now.


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