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Crochet Chat Podcast: Pricing and Selling your Crocheted Items

Thank you so much for stopping by! This podcast episode was originally published April 4, 2012 and I have since stopped producing new episodes of the Crochet Chat Podcast. However, these episodes have fabulous content, so I’m gradually re-releasing them so that we can keep enjoying them!

I am now releasing videos which are are more casual version of this podcast. I’d love it if you’d subscribe to my blog or enter your email in the sidebar on the right!) to stay updated!

The Episode

Welcome to the 2nd episode of the Crochet Chat Podcast! I’m so pleased to have gotten such great feedback on the first episode… and stoked to be on my second!

In this episode, I’ll be chatting about an issue that’s close to many of our hearts: how to price and sell your crocheted items. Even if you don’t sell items professionally, you’ve probably been commissioned by a friend to make a piece, and you’ve thought, ‘how in the world do I price that?’

I’ll also talk about my pineapple shawl adventure, tell you about Suri alpaca and brag about my latest trick (reading while crocheting!) and fill you in on what cooking has to do with designing.

Here’s how it works: Click the ‘play’ button below to listen to the episode in your browser, or right click here and select ‘Save Link As’ to save to your computer to listen to later!

play episode

Below is a list of links to products/websites/things I chat about during the episode.

Hi! (00:00), Outline for the episode (01:01), Reading while crocheting (03:06), How designing is like being a cook: Kitchen Confidential (04:51), Lessons from Passover: cleaning house (07:22)

Links:

On my hook (11:19), Pineapple Doily Shawl (11:21), How to estimate yardage for projects that don’t specify (11:32), How to double a thinner yarn (12:17), Suri Alpaca (13:35), Starting the shawl and tragedy (16:24), Banana Slugs (19:30)

Feature topic (23:15), The controversy (23:58), Knot by Granma article (25:41), My view on pricing (26:43), Tips for selling items at fair prices (33:04), Summary (42:48), Coming up (45:09)

Please leave comments!

I want the Crochet Chat Podcast to focus on issues and items that you’re interested in… so talk to me about it! Please leave any suggestions, comments or ideas in the comments section of this blog post. I read them all!

39 Responses to “Crochet Chat Podcast: Pricing and Selling your Crocheted Items”

  1. I’m looking forward to hearing your podcast!

  2. Caroline Sandford says:

    I really enjoyed listening to your podcast. So much so that I didn’t curse when the computer widget crashed, or when I was so interested in what you were saying that I lost count and had to frog a couple of rounds of chick!

    I admit I find both sides of the how much to charge debate uncomfortable. I like the middle ground as you have described it. The lack of overheads and extra opportunities available through working at home count for a lot.

    Can’t believe it is only a week since your pilot episode!

    Or that it’s only a month or so since I last undisorganised my stash and WIPs, I have little piles all over the place again!

  3. Victoria says:

    This podcast is so *so* awesome. I’m in the process of setting up an Etsy store and the info that you provided is great!

    p.s. i loved the yarn bow and adoption certificate with my Ivo.. it really did make me happy! :) you’re so right about the little details being super important.

    • Stacey says:

      Thanks, Vicky!
      I *highly* recommend reading the Etsy forums and watching the shop critiques (tweet me if you want a link), they’re so informative!

  4. Victoria says:

    oh and as for my little piles of wool, i cannot leave them out – otherwise my cat would eat them..
    so i guess in a way, having a crazy cat is a good thing ;)

  5. Michele Byars "junkitup" says:

    I’m here to offer you words of encouragment. I made a queen sized bed afghan in the pineapple pattern. I had made the entire bed area and was working on the border which was over 13 inches deep. About 7 inches into the border, I realized I had started it wrong and had to frog the ENTIRE border out. I think I cried the entire time I was frogging and I took two days off without even looking at the blanket. Then I picked it back up and it was the most beautiful thing I have ever crocheted when it was finished. Chin up!!!

    • Stacey says:

      Oh, my goodness Michele! Thanks for sharing… that’s heartbreaking!
      But, I’m glad it turned out well!
      I’m happy to report that I did the necessary frogging last night, and I’m now back to where I was, minus the mess up. Victory!

  6. Doug says:

    Wow, you covered a lot of stuff in just 45 minutes!

    Slugs! Santa Cruzin’ Slugs! Yeah! Can’t wait for the photos.

    Thanks for touching on the sale-pricing issues.
    Even if you don’t go to an office, you still have to deal with accounting, paperwork, taxes, etc. so it’s not just time and materials for any one item in isolation. Not having a car, office job, etc. do affect your costs, but just as chef’s have to order supplies, etc. you also have to maintain your stash (what sells, what doesn’t, getting more of what does and what to do with what doesn’t). I really really liked your suggestion to focus, to go in deep on fewer things and rev’ up your proficiency/efficiency. The “value-adds” are great, and as a recipient, I love ‘em and it makes me feel good about what I did spend, even if I don’t do that ‘accounting’ in my head, I think the feel good effect doesn’t have to be conscience to be effective, and I know for me it drives repeat business. (It’s also called the Halo effect, whereby your attention to those ‘value-add’ details induces the recipient to think you must’ve also paid attention to the details they can’t see as well).

    I also liked the ‘stare down your projects’ part, its so true, if you let them just coast along they’ll start to become a mental/emotional drag on your energy, sometimes without you realizing it.

    Thanks for another wonderful podcast (I listen via iTunes).
    I’d love to be able to read and crochet, but I can’t even crochet right if I listen to a podcast!

    Oh, as to the term, I think one issue is that crochets is two syllables and knits is just one. Maybe ‘chets’? Look, here’s the chet I just finished? (Just noticing that really popular terms tend to be one syllable).

    Thanks!
    @dgou

    • Stacey says:

      Thanks so much for your comments, Doug!
      You’re totally right, I think ‘crochets’ will have trouble catching on because of it’s multi-syllabic-ness. Oh, sigh!
      You’re also right that even though I work from home, I do things that *don’t* go into my hourly rate… like, I filed taxes this week! And, it’s important to make enough money from your hourly wage, so that you’re making enough *total* to cover all the time you spend doing non-paying tasks.
      Thanks for clarifying… that’s an important point!

  7. Stacey H says:

    LOVED this podcast again! Have you posted a link to the blog post you referenced? I may have just overlooked it if you have. I’m um, bad about that!
    I have to say, I would LOVE to be able to read and crochet at the same time! That would combine my two most favorite things in the WORLD! (Last week I did however re-listen to an Audio book of a certain movie I was fixing to go see… so it didn’t require much attention!). But yeah, I still have to pay WAY too much attention to what I’m doing, even if it is something “simple”. And I Loved hearing that you download your patterns to your Kindle too! I couldn’t live without mine (umm…plural shhh!) now!
    Thanks for another awesome Podcast!!

  8. Nancy T says:

    Just finished listening to your 2nd podcast. I found it really interesting, especially about pricing. I’ve dabbled with the idea of using my “craft” skills, like quilting, sewing, and now crochet, to make money. Several people had told me I should, but like you say, it takes a lot more work than just making the product, to have it be profitable. But, I found your comments to be encouraging and inspiring, so there may be hope for me. I also enjoyed hearing your on the hook segment. I don’t know too many people who crochet, so it’s nice to know about what you’re working on and to hear you “talk shop”… I’m really looking forward to your next podcast. Great job, Stacey! :)

    • Stacey says:

      Thank you Nancy! I, personally, find selling my handmade items very fulfilling… I love seeing something I make go to someone’s home! So, I’d encourage you to give it a try… and I’m glad the episode gave you a little inspiration! :)

  9. Jocelyn Sass says:

    Hi Stacey!
    I am enjoying listening to your podcasts. It is nice to do while I am filling crochet orders or formatting new patterns on the computer! One tip: most of the designers that I know not only watch movies, etc while designing, but also listen to audio books. It is a bit easier than reading sometimes! Keep up the good work!
    Jocelyn

    • Stacey says:

      @Jocelyn- I’ve heard other folks talking about audio books… I’ve never tried one! I can see the appeal, but I don’t think my current library has them. So, for a little while, I’m churning through the book collection I have :)

  10. Amy says:

    Thanks for another enjoyable and informative podcast. Your tips on selling crochets will come in handy someday when I can cut back my hours at my office job and have time for an Etsy shop.

    I want to address your question about why people don’t like slugs. First, let me preface this by saying I’m a vegetarian and hate to kill anything. But I live in the Pacific NW. We have slugs. Lots of them. I like the native slugs out in the woods just fine, but the non-native slugs that chew my garden to shreds, I do not like. I have found entire planters full of marigolds beheaded. I try to plant things they don’t like, but I still need to use slug bait – the environmentally safe, non-toxic to other critters type. Your banana slug is way cute though!

    • Stacey says:

      Amy-
      Thanks for the slug insight :) I know they can be vicious in the garden, but I know of deer and rabbits who have also reduced lovely gardens to rubble… and they don’t seem to generate nearly the same amount of hatred!

      • Amy says:

        You’re right about the deer and rabbits although I do know people who detest the deer especially because of the damage they do. I also know somebody who has the squirrels in his yard killed by an exterminator because they eat his peaches. I couldn’t do that. But the fuzzy vertebrates tend to get more love than the slimy invertebrates. I like them all in general. I have slug earrings! And you’re right about their cute little antennae. I do wonder if the non-native ones that are a pest in the garden are causing problems for the native ones. This has wandered a bit far from crochet, hasn’t it!

  11. Sarah says:

    Just wanted to let you know that I have a blog about selling hand-made crafts, and this page made it to my “Telling Tuesday” post that features other crafters. This week, my focus was on crochet-related tidbits. Thank you so much for the hard work that you do.

    http://www.familybugs.net/The_Blog/Entries/2012/4/10_Telling_Tuesdays_-_Random_Crochet_Tidbits.html

  12. I also have some insight on the slug issue – they leave slime. I’m sorry but slime is just disgusting. Therefore the things that leave it in a trail must ALSO be disgusting. That’s my take on it anyway.

    On your pricing post, I found your take to be pretty interesting but I kind of hope you are selling yourself short. I have a “successful” career in a completely different field (meaning I’m well compensated) but I’m really sick of it and I want to find a way to make money crocheting and knitting. But the thought of going back to “hopefully” making minimum wage is just horrible! Is it just a pipe dream to think I could make an actual living at this? Because minimum wage is way too close to poverty level for my comfort!

    • Stacey says:

      Haha Annastasia, thanks for the slug insight!

      About the pricing issue you raise: Firstly, I’m primarily a designer, so my income comes from mostly designing. When I crochet a stuffed animal, I (personally) am happy to make slightly more than minimum wage because showing off a new finished sample kicks back to my design business (i.e., I sell more patterns as a result).
      That said, my impression is that it’s quite difficult to make a living from selling crocheted items as a full-time job. (It’s also difficult to make a living as a full-time designer, but that’s a different issue!). You can pretty much be assured you won’t be making a salary anywhere close to what you earn in a ‘real salaried’ job, and how much you can make depends on a lot of factors. Even if you earn a fair wage (per hour) selling finished items, you’ll need to generate enough sales to be crocheting full-time (which means selling numerous pieces per day unless you work on fairly large items) to make a full salary.

      I don’t intend to be dismal, but at the same time, it’s very tricky to leave a well-paying job and expect to make the same amount crocheting. When you’re a crocheter, you’re really a small-business-owner: so becoming successful means having a good business head on your shoulders, as well. My intuition is that if you have a great business plan and a great product together, you can create a product that allows you to make an hourly wage that you need to live!

  13. […] a custom order this week and, inspired from listening to the Crochet Chat podcast by Stacey over at freshstitches, I’ve been putting some extra effort into customizing my packaging for Little Black […]

  14. […] CROCHET CHAT – Stacey Podcasts about her adventures in designing and selling her crochet amigurumi…SO CUTE! […]

  15. DeeAnna says:

    Stacey,

    I’ll have to try out your reading a book while crocheting/knitting…I wonder if I’d be able to do it. I definitely love multitasking, especially when it means that I can crochet/knit more.

    I’m so glad you discuss the crochet pricing conundrum. I’ve been wanting to ask you about your thoughts on selling items made using someone else’s patterns. Some patterns specifically say that the designer doesn’t mind as long as there is no mass production. What do you think? My question particularly applies to your Craftsy class “Design Your Own Monster”. Someone wanted to buy the monster I made. Even though I customized the pattern, I used your techniques and your basic design ideas. So I did not feel comfortable accepting money for my monster. The girl who wanted my monster is the wife of a really good friend, so I was totally comfortable giving it to her free of charge. But what should I do next time… do what your mom does and just recoup my yarn costs?

    Thanks so much for doing this podcast! I love all the ideas you’re sharing.

    ~DeeAnna

    • Stacey says:

      Hi DeeAnna-
      I don’t mind if you sell items made from my patterns (well, actually, the monster was yours!)… I just ask that you mention it was a FreshStitches pattern :)
      stacey

      • DeeAnna says:

        @Stacey, Really?! Are you sure!? WOW! That is very generous!!! If I do decide to sell my little creations, I will definitely give you credit for the pattern. I’m thinking about making a little card with all your information on it and I would include that with my amigurumi creature. Or, if you have business cards made, perhaps I could buy some of those from you?

  16. DeeAnna says:

    PS…I listen to audio books regularly while crafting. So maybe that is an option for you when you are doing more intricate work like your pineapple shawl?

    Also, I know how you feel about having to frog a project you’ve worked so hard on and spent serious time on. It hurts! But don’t worry, you will feel so much better when you start again fresh and *know* that it has been done “right”. (Hugs!)

    Lastly, my thoughts on your new word for crocheted items “crochets”. If enough people use a word, it will indeed become a “real” word. For instance, the word “gynormous” was officially entered into the dictionary a few years ago. And if it is in the dictionary, it is a bonifide word and recognized by the divine powers that govern the English language. How did this happen? It was such a popular word that the linguists had to qualify it. So, that said, let’s make “crochets” a real word! hehehe

  17. This was my first episode listening and I loved it! It’s so nice to hear intelligent chatter on knitting or crochet for a change. You were really interesting to listen to, and informative. When talking about selling your stuff, one question came to mind…….I can’t seem to be motivated to make something when I HAVE to. If it’s for a family member, or someone I KNOW will appreciate it, I breeze right through it, but if it’s for someone I don’t know, it feel like work and it’s hard to motivate myself to do it. Is it just me? Does anyone else feel that way and is there a way to combat the feeling?

    • Stacey says:

      Hi Luciana! Thanks for your lovely comment!
      That’s a funny question… because no one in my family ever wants me to make something for them!
      I actually find it quite easy to do a commissioned order… if someone is ordering something from me, then I KNOW they’ll appreciate it and be excited about it! My suggestion is to find out the story behind it. For example, if I’m asked to make an owl for a girl’s 3rd birthday, and that her favorite colors are pink and green… I’m excited to be making one for her using colors I know she loves. To me, it’s just as good as making it for someone I know!

  18. […] started on the Pineapple Doily Shawl by Laura Garsten.  I first heard about this pattern on the Crochet Chat Podcast and several of my students decided to give it a try.  Usually, I don’t make a project with […]

  19. Patty says:

    Just wanted to let you know how much I appreciated this podcast on organizing ones’ stash. I’ve just spent several hours going thru mine & because of your encouragement I pitched many teeny tiny scraps of yarn (whatever did I think I was going to do with those), then I added the fuller skeins/balls to my ravelry stash, so I feel better thanks to you!

  20. Crystal says:

    Lots of useful information. ^^
    Now if only there was a little equation we could use to calculate an exact price to charge. lol

    • Stacey says:

      Hey Crystal!
      Unfortunately, such an equation will never exist, because the final price depends on not only the particular materials you use, but also your market. A stuffed animal made with organic yarn in a Manhattan baby boutique will likely fetch a higher profit margin than an animal made of acrylic and sold to a family friend. Determining your price requires a fair amount of research into the market of your local area.
      Hopefully with the guidelines I mention in the episode, you’ll be able to calculate what works for you!