View Full Version : Selling Myself Short

February 25th, 2013, 02:48 PM
Through word of mouth I had someone contact me and ask if I could custom make a baby wipes/diaper clutch. They are super easy to make and I've never sold something I've sewn. I had the materials so I told her, sure, I'll make it for $5. Then she sends me a picture of something she saw. I actually want one like this - it's like an all in one diapers/wipes/changing pad clutch. Okay, I can still figure that out - I still have the materials so how about $7 since it's a bit more fabric? Then she asks if I can make a matching wipes case and a small matching pacifier bag thing. So I guess $10 for all that? I've already sold myself short from the beginning, can't jump the price now.
Then she comes back with, I actually want three sets! But only one pacifier thing so I'll give you $25 for all of it.
Fiiine - I really should argue and counter for more money but right now my mind is thinking I have to start somewhere. If she loves it and someone else sees it and contacts me I can raise the price, right? Kind of how a photographer does a few free sessions before they can really break into making money, right? Yeaaah, I know if I really tried and marketed to the right venues I could sell the whole first set for $25.
I guess at this point I should just bite the bullet and pretty much give everything away - barely covering the cost of materials. I feel like I can't tell her now that I actually want more money.
Headed to the store for $20 a yard laminated cotton - gulp - I NEVER spend that much on fabric!
This was the first one I made. It has laminated cotton on one side. Inside is terry cloth (I just used a towel) then cotton for two pockets. I did a binding around the whole thing. There's a snap closure wrist strap. The next two I'm making a bit bigger so it folds in 4ths rather than 3rds and using a magnetic snap rather than elastic and button closure. And I've never made a fabric covered wipes case, that should be interesting.

February 25th, 2013, 02:53 PM
I have gotten myself into deals like this too. I think I've finally learned my lesson. I would say $5 was way too cheap to start with. Was that including the materials? Wow, you will have people knocking your door down. When I have people asking about buying a quilt and I tell them how much it costs to just make it, they look at me like I have 3 heads. Doesn't take long for them to change their mind and decide they don't really need one. That's ok, because I'm not giving stuff away.

February 25th, 2013, 02:55 PM
It's really nice of you to do this for her.....but you know if someone sees it she is going to tell them what she paid for it then it will be difficult to get someone else to pay more.

February 25th, 2013, 03:13 PM
they are very nice.
You need to ask yourself if you really want to sew for others. If you do, you will need to make a list of items you are willing to make and sell. then add up the cost of materials and figure in your time. I think the formula is 3x the cost of materials-some here do sew for profit and could tell you better. Have that list printed up and refer to it if anyone asks.
Me, I don't care to do it. I have in the past and it worked out OK but i don't like to. Sewing/quilting is what I do for me-to relax and get away from things. If i sew for others it becomes a job and I no longer enjoy it. but, that's me. you may welcome the opportunity to make your hobby pay

February 25th, 2013, 03:16 PM
I would tell her you cut her a deal and then just tell her what it cost to
really make materials and time..I did a couple totes it was20-25 for the materials so I charged 35 total..and I say depends on the
fabric prices.

February 25th, 2013, 03:17 PM
I'd make sure to let her know that she's getting a good price because she's your first customer and all other orders will be higher priced.

I'm sort of in the same boat. Someone is interested in buying one of my quilts that's part of my guild's showing at a local librar. Never thought of selling it but have decided that $250 is my asking price. Contacted the interested person and she didn't balk at the price, sounds like an old lady so I hope she's sincere. I can't get the quilt until the library show is over on Friday. I've told the woman I'll call her again on Friday night to make plans to meet, etc. Will also mention that I prefer to be paid in cash. What happens if her check bounces.

Cat n bull
February 25th, 2013, 03:25 PM
Definitely tell her that your original amount was based on using fabric you already had, and the fact that it was a very easy design.

I understand not wanting to go back and ask for more after you've agreed on a price, but make sure she KNOWS there will be no more at that price, for anyone!

And instead of expensive laminated cotton, use PUL! It is MUCH cheaper and far softer and more flexible.

here is one source for PUL: They also have a good selection of absorbent fabrics you can get for a lot less $$ than using towels.

February 25th, 2013, 03:32 PM
I'm really bad at figuring out the cost of everything. I don't think I could sew to sell very often. I also like to do it here and there to relax. I hate that I HAVE to get this done when I don't feel like it. I think I'm also a little afraid I won't sell anything if I tell people what the item is actually worth and how much it costs. Which is silly because I won't make any money either if I don't sell items at what they're actually worth.
Selling is too big of a headache
I like the idea of just giving this to the lady for the $25 and then telling her what a steal she got and how much I'm going to be selling them for in the future. I really wouldn't feel right asking for more money after we've already discussed this amount.

February 25th, 2013, 03:53 PM
They usually know what these items cost. This is why she revised her order and asked for 3 sets and the binkey bag.
I hope I'm wrong, but my guess is that she'll turn the other two sets and cover her cost on the original one. Or, she could be gifting them to grandmas or friends with babies. How many covered wipe/changing pad thingies do you really need? I had one in the diaper bag.
I think you are really doing yourself a disservice. I'd be tempted to call her back and let her know that the waterproof fabric cost more than you thought, and you need to at least cover that cost since you didn't already have that in your stash. The price should really be $20 per set, but you'll give her a deal and only charge her $15 per set and throw the binkey bag in for free. If she quibbles drop it to $40.

February 25th, 2013, 05:34 PM
I agree with May, make sure you tell her this was a "special" price for her and not to pass it on to anyone interested, tell them to call you. They are very sweet, love the owls. Good Luck.