Monday, June 02, 2008

The Creative STruggle

Now that the big day is drawing near--the Artisan Festival--I can't seem to motivate myself to crank out the purses. Purses are my biggest sellers for quantity. But they're the worst performers for profit. I make such a tiny profit on them that slaving away at the sewing machine for hours to make $5 per purse does NOT sound like a good business plan.

And then there's the creativity struggle. I like creating useful objects, and I like creating one of a kind ideas. I like to work BIG. So I've been painting. And not what I'm supposed to be painting--like the 3 commissions I have on the block right now. I just want to play around and make something pretty. Is that so much to ask? I feel sort of naughty for painting when I should be sewing, or at least working on my commissions.

I have been doing some sewing, which I will be showing you in the next couple of days. And I do have a stock pile of items which did not sell at the MamaMade open house. The only thing I sold that day was more than 20 Cuffees! Crazy! So I'm cranking those out like a madwoman.

Here's a detail of the painting I did this weekend. It used calico for the background, paint with a LOT of gel medium and layers of fabric for the clouds, and pastel chalk to make the sketchy marks. Then more gel medium.

I really like the look of it, but wish it was bigger. I have this desire to create really big things right now. I think it's a subconscious cry for open spaces. I WANT TO BE OUTSIDE! I WANT TO GO TO COLORADO!

Okay, I'm being weird today. I'll sign off.

Posted by Beth Howard @ 10:14 AM

Read or Post a Comment

Very cool! You never cease to amaze me. Remind me when the festival is again? I need to come check out your goods!

Posted by Blogger The Clicks @ 10:48 AM #

I'm sure you've thought of this but why don't you charge $10 more per purse? Since I just paid $73 to fill up my car, that doesn't seem like asking too much to me!

Posted by Blogger freshie (and zero) @ 4:03 PM #

Charge more for you bags, for Heaven's sake! Your bags are cool, but dear Lord your quilts are breath taking!

Posted by Blogger the Campfollower @ 8:36 PM #

I dont get how you only make $5/purse.
I calculate that fabric and notions for one handbag costs me about $5-10, and I sell mine for about $30-40, and since you sell yours in the same price range, how are you making such a little profit margin?

Posted by Blogger Blue Morpho @ 2:18 PM #

Well, let's do a little math equation:

For each purse I use about a half yard of fabric for the outside. I use high end designer fabric for most things that I purchase for about $23 after tax. So right there we've got $11.50. Then you add in the half yard for the inside, which is also good quality, but usually solid colors, so I'll give that $5 for a half yard. 2 yards of ribbon and cording, comes out to about $3 if I don't use a zipper. And let's assume it's really simple and doesn't have a snap or button closure.

Then add in the gas that it took to go buy those things, the money I spend on marketing, booth fees, and website maintenance, and well, it's just not a lot left over. I'll put in another $5 for those things because if you divide my output of purses over all that money (and yes, I've done the real math) that's a very low estimate.

Each bag takes about 2 hours to make after I've perfected a pattern. And that's the really super simple bags.
Plus $2 for Etsy fees and the packing material to ship it.

$10+$5+$3+$5+$2= $25 divided by 3 (2 hours to make and 1 hour to sell) = $8 per hour.

Okay, so that wasn't so bad as I exaggerated earlier.

Posted by Blogger Beth Howard @ 2:58 PM #
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