This week I finished some of my projects. One of them was a handspun hand woven scarf. We were discussing about selling scarfs like these for brides and other fashion-lovers and as always we couldn’t really decide on a price yet.
When making clothes on order I’d actually like to someday earn minimum wage because I can’t always do whatever I like or what I think is most beautiful. But in fact this is just impossible. There are just too many hours put in something handmade. And especially when it’s handspun.
If you look at this scarf for example I used 150 grams handspun yarn and 50 grams of Ayumi (a yarn from our shop). This yarns costs me 10,- for 100 grams and the alpaca costs me 5,- per 100 grams. This is however after cleaning and picking and this is the price of the more expensive fleeces. So this comes at 5,- + 7,50 = 12,50 materials costs excluding labels, wrapping and washing products.
But the time spend is most of the problem. I spin about 10 hours per 100 grams, which comes at a total of 15 hours spinning. Add 2 hours for washing and preparing the fleece and about 8 hours weaving. This comes at a total of 25 hours work. In the Netherlands minimum wage is about 10,- which means the price of the scarf would be 250,- for the work plus 12,50 materials plus VAT.
VAT is 21% in the Netherlands, this would add together to a total of 317,63€. Calculated to dollars it is even more. I still haven’t met a person who thinks this is a fair and normal price AND is actually willing to pay it.
I try to price my products with half the minimum wage of the Netherlands. This will add to a total price of 166,40€, which is still a lot of money. Most people come to me for lessons instead of buying a finished product but I like to keep the option of buying available without feeling like I work for free.
People are still telling me that I should be ashamed of how much I charge. That I should just see it as a hobby and ask no more than 40,- for a finished scarf and even that is seen as a lot. This would give me an hourly charge of 70 cents. On the other hand there are also people that say I should AT LEAST charge 15,- an hour for how many years of experience I have.
I think about pricing and fair prices a lot, not only when crafting myself but also when visiting other shops. Can we call things that we buy from our own country fair when our own people aren’t paid for it fairly? If a shop with fair-trade goods has to run of volunteers because they otherwise couldn’t exist is this seen as fair? I understand that in this world where the consumer-way-of-life is normal we don’t really have another choice how to keep these fair trade and organic shops…. But it still makes me wonder if there really isn’t another way.