5 February 2008

Posing problems.

Lauren bag in Lavender and Rose

I am actually on my way to the sewing room; can't you tell? The trouble is I just briefly checked emails, blogs and er, blogs. Reading through one of my favourites by Jane of Snapdragon's Garden I felt inspired to write my own. Jane talks today of the difficult problem of pricing handmade goods, something I personally find very difficult, and it made me think of the various things I have 'issues' with in getting this business off the ground. Time for a bit of honesty then I feel, so here are on or two of the things I grapple with:

1. Pricing - needs to be a business not a charity and therefore needs to
make a profit.

2. Packaging - what is the best form of packaging? I use a variety of tissue
papers and trimmings to make the whole experience what I would
enjoy (of course!), but what boxes work best? Don't like
envelopes, so where is the cheapest place for boxes of all sizes? I
suspect ebay is the answer to that one.

3. Postage - I had this one to think about for my wholesale order (still a bit
proud of my first little order!). Ordinary orders have posed no
problem, but suddenly I had a large box and couldn't work out the
best way to post it - this meant I wasn't sure what to charge for
postage on the quote I sent and as the order obviously wasn't made
up - or even placed at this point - I couldn't really weigh it in
anticipation....very tricky and I had the feeling I was missing
something here. What does everybody else do?

Well, there are a few to be going on with. So far I have not come unstuck, quite the reverse in fact and I seem to have hit the mark with all I have done, but I get the feeling that it is guesswork - albeit an educated guess - and this goes against the grain. I like to know what I am doing and sometimes wish there was a handbook especially for me.

It's all a learning curve I guess, but all suggestions from those dealing with the same issues will be gratefully received!

Pipany xx



google search packaging companies bags adn boxes or look in your local yellow pages Pip, there might be a useful local manufacturer . I know there was near us when I was in the UK. Otherwise yes Ebay. I know the problem with postage tho have same probelm wiht my tiles!!Pricing is such a difficult issue, on the whole you end up chargin a pittance for labour costs because it is just impossible to factor in labour costs and still have a prodcut that is within your market price range.

toady said...

Pip contact a local carrier like Business Post or similar for big items as you can send heavier and bulkier things cheaper, and they'll probably come to collect it too.

LittleBrownDog said...

These are tricky questions, Pip, and I'll be interested to read what others have to say. I think for pricing, you definitely need to be realistic about your labour costs (to some extent - I know it's difficult to factor in a real living wage for these) - and remember that people should be prepared to pay a bit more for a quality handmade product. Also, bear in mind that people tend to value things more that they percieve as more expensive.

Pipany said...

Thank you for these responses all - I will look into local manufacturers UPL; Toady that's a fab suggestion - thank you and LBD, I know you can rarely cover all labour costs on handmade goods but I definitely factor in materials, electricity, etc. I am doing fine on making a profit so far, so I guess it's about the marketing to expand. Thank you all so much xx

Raindrops to Rainbows said...

Hi Pipany,
Difficult questions there. Ive often wanted to make things to sell but A/ i dont think im good enough at anything, and B/ the pricing - after getting the materials and then spending hours making something it seems like there is not much room for profit. You hit the nail on the head when you said its hard to run a business rather than a charity!
I often wonder how some people manage to sell their crafts so cheaply though and i think i am willing to pay more for something which is a one off hand made original, so dont worry about charging more for something which someone could just get very cheaply elsewhere, people are willing to pay a little extra for the more personalised touch.
You asked me the brand of paint i used on my living room cuboard, well its actually Wilkos own brand paint, either £4.99 or £5.99 per tin (i cant remember). The colour i used was 'beach walk', lovely name and the perfect shade i was after. Ive often used wilkos own paint and never had a problem with it, i think paint is just paint regardless of cost, although when we move house (or IF we move house, still pursuading hubby) i might venture towards the farrow and ball range just for something extra special!
Well, i hope you manage to solve your posting and pricing dilema, keep it up with the sewing,
Lindsay x

mountainear said...

It is a dilemma, but remember you are making a unique, hand crafted product and surely people recognise that is going to cost more than something mass-produced. A good labourer is worth their hire - or something like that!

Lovely items in your last blog - beautifully presented too. It would have been so exciting to open that box lined in blue tissue.

Casdok said...

Learning curves are good!!

Faith said...

I havent a clue Pipany, but enjoy reading about your business!

Fern said...

We use TNT carriers it costs £8 up to 10kg and £9 up to 20 Kg etc. etc. for next day delivery. They collect from us and get a signature on delivery which is very important, we often have to produce a POD (proof of delivery)when trying to get the money from wholesale customers! Our private mail order customers pay the same rate.

saraeden said...

I use a courier too it costs me a lot less than normal post and they guarantee next day delivery which is the best thing about it !!

As for pricing i constantly struggle with this one as lots of people still expect to get handmade things for next to nothing !!!

Sara x

Anonymous said...

Lots of comments re pricing over at Snapdragon which I'm sure you have read. Re p & p, couriers are very useful especially as they collect from you but for samller packages you can't beat the post office. Take a look at their website to work out the most cost efficeint way of sending goods via the post office. Remember size is now a consideration as well as wieght so sometimes pavkaging in a box will increase your postage costs and smaller items really are better in a jiffy bag.

Miles Away In France said...

I too have the pricing problem, I want my items to be affordable but I also need to make some profit, it is a very difficult one.

It's a case of finding buyers that appreciate the work and time that goes into a handmade item.

Good luck
Racheal x

Jane said...

I think that as you expand some of these problems solve themselves. Suddenly buying 100 boxes seems worthwhile. Prepaying for 20 courier stamps isn't such a leap of faith (and gets you 25KG next day delivery for £5.95).
I am only just getting into this, you will too.
Pricing - well I haven't solved that one yet, though there has been no raised eyebrows when I have mentioned prices for my new stuff and quite a few "oh but they should be more expensive"s.
Work out whether you can pay someone else to make the items and then make a profit while selling wholesale. You may never do this but its good to know that you could.

pebbledash said...

Hello Pipany! Thank you for visiting my blog, how lovely to have a fairly local visitor! I'm in Penzance. Been loving this balmy weather....bliss! Love your bags, I'll visit again soon. D X

tillyboo said...

Hello, I'm so pleased to have come across your blog as it's very relevant to me as I want to start up my own tiny venture.

In terms of packaging it may be worth having a look at this website

I have ordered bags from them before and they were very good quality (I am very fussy).

I shall read your blog with interest as some of the questions you have posed are very interesting.


PS My parents live in Cornwall and so does my brother so I'm a regular visitor.

Raindrops said...

Hi Thanks for popping into the blog and leaving a comment.

There are loads of places for boxes on the internet not sure what is the cheapest though but I would also consider buying second hand boxes. You can get these far cheaper. So long as once they open the box and they have all the fluff and puff of a beautiful package no one cares that box is not pristine and new IMO and I have as part of my company policy to recycle all our packaging and I have never had a complaint over this in 9 years. As for postage I would set up an account with a courier company.
I have too sets of prices one for my wholesale for my heavier bigger packages one for retail for the smaller lighter packages. I 'think' packages under 1kg are still cheaper to send via the post office. HTH Tricia