a story about how much work it is to make things by hand

After months and months of deliberation and restless conversations inside my head, I've decided to increase the price on the blankets I sell in the shop. I really hate doing it, so it's not much...but I want all of you loyal readers and customers and people who've helped support my dream to hear it straight from me. 

Ask any etsy seller and they'll tell you the most difficult part of having your own handmade business is the pricing. When I first opened my shop, things were damn near free. I was nervous to charge people something they didn't want to pay. I didn't want to scare people away, I mean who was I to charge these seemingly big amounts for someone who had barely sold anything? There are so many people selling things vaguely similar to mine for next to nothing and it always just completely confuses me on how they truly succeed as a business. 
As I've gotten more comfortable with what I do, I've learned to truly see the value and hard work I put into each and every thing I make. To give you a vague idea of what it takes to make one little 36x36 blanket here's a little breakdown for you:

Average cost of materials I use: $18-$22. 
I don't just buy all of the fabrics I see at Jo-Ann's and huge retail craft stores. I spend hours and hours and hours searching fabric sellers online and on Etsy. I spend just about as much time finding local fabric and quilting stores that carry high quality fabrics with unique and modern prints. It's harder than you think to find these things. Each time I'm at a fabric store I'm lucky if I'm out in an hour. It takes multiple trips both scouting and calculating what I want and how it fits in to my style. Because that's what I'm selling- my style. 

Which leads to average time it takes me to even get said fabric: I can't even calculate it. 
Actually, I could but I'd have to divide amount of each fabric by the time it took me to get each one individually. I usually buy bunches of fabric together. It takes time and resources to find, drive, search online for the perfect fabrics. And as my style goes, all blankets are one print. They're not multiple pieces together, so the print has to be able to hold it's own for an entire piece. 

I've always been someone who wanted to do things my own way, to be different. I go out of my way to find things that are different. The blankets I sell aren't even made by other etsy sellers, not how I make them. There's a worth to that. I don't mass produce 10-15 blankets of each fabric style. I make only ONE. If it sells and seems popular, I'll make another. The huge thing I've learned since having my etsy business is that I thrive on change, I can't be making the exact same thing over and over and still enjoy doing it. 

At minimum wage, the time and $ amount it takes to produce 1 blanket: 30-45 min ($4.50-$7)
This is if I'm not interrupted, which rarely happens because I don't get a whole lot of time to sew when I'm alone. I'm you know, doing mom stuff in my free time. 

Other things I spend butt-loads of time on: 
-Photographing each item
-Loading all of the photos
-Editing them just perfect
-Creating etsy listings and posting all of the items online
-Researching packaging for all items so that all customers get a unique, thoughtful and fun experience opening something they've purchased from an actual, live human who made it by hand just for them
-Cost of packaging and branding materials. In my case it's custom business stamps, custom made product labels, muslin bags, ribbons/tapes for packaging, business cards and thank you-inserts. 

All of these things take time. SO MUCH TIME. Weeks. And this work is before I've even made a single sale on any of the items. Now, theoretically I should be charging nearly $100 for each blanket. If I go by every formula that's out there on how to price your items. And I could totally do this, and just wait and wait for that one person to buy something.

I started this shop to create what I wanted to see in the handmade marketplace; thoughtfully made, unique handmade items that didn't break the bank. My target customer is someone like me, someone who loves the special feeling you get when you receive a handmade gift. But I don't want to have to promise my next born child to get this feeling. Ya' know what I mean?
I know this might seem a little boring, but I think so many people come to the handmade world looking for a good deal, when really you go to Target for a good deal. You go to the handmade marketplace for something special. You pay a little more for something because it's supporting an actual person and it's something you won't find at Target. There's worth in that.

I know I don't have to explain myself to my customers, but I want to. I want you all to see what you're getting, to see how much love and elbow grease (not literal grease) went into what you get when you look for quality over quantity. 

I also want to let you all know that I've kept 10 blankets in the shop at the original price in the SALE section, so those will be the last ones available at the lower price. 

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