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Re: Costing Costume Projects ( was - how much do you think this is worth?

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  • Naresha Ninya
    I honestly have NO idea either, but I hope someone here does because it would be intereesting to see how people work it out. Now, I m NOT a dress wearer either
    Message 1 of 9 , Feb 6, 2007
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      I honestly have NO idea either, but I hope someone here does because it
      would be intereesting to see how people work it out.

      Now, I'm NOT a dress wearer either - you usually have to pay me to get
      me into one, but personally... All I can think of is that you go for a
      walk around some of your fabric stores and try to source SIMILAR
      fabric - ie, look for the same/similar types (printed cotton,
      embroidered taffeta - whatever you used) and work out what it would
      have cost you to make the dress if you had been commissioned by the
      person in the first place. Don't forget to look at the cost of
      patterns, thread, buttons, zippers, bias binding and all the other
      little bits and pieces that add to the cost very fast! Then think
      about your own rate... Which is the hard part! If all else fails, you
      could try picking a number out of thin air and charge that as a per
      hour rate! Or maybe call around some local seamstress and ask what
      they charge for labour only??? Think about what you earn in your own
      job - what does that break down to on a per hour basis? What would you
      have been doing if you hadn't been sewing and all those sort of
      things! You could also try poking about online - like Ebay and other
      online stores - for similar items and see what other people are
      charging for similar items. One other option is to work out what you
      paid for the materials as a raw price and then sit down with your buyer
      and say - "Look... This is what it cost me to make it, but of course
      I'm expecting something for my time and effort, but I'll let you make a
      suggestion as to what you think is fair!" and sort of barter over
      it... Or add say... 20% of the cost of materials to the cost price
      (ie, the cost of the materials and petrol!) and give that? Given you
      have a connection with the person, you could probably barter over it as
      I said before until you come to a happy medium.

      This may sound harsh or odd, but I'd price ever so slighly HIGHER than
      you first think - not stupidly so, but just enough so that you've got
      some bargaining room and should more people ever ask to buy something
      off you, you don't feel like you're underselling yourself and it gives
      you a BIT of leeway should prices go up - so any repeat customers you
      should get don't feel ripped off by you saying, sorry - had to put the
      prices up. I know it's jumping ahead a bit, but it's just a thought.


      That's my very long winded two cents, and it's probably not a very
      useful one at that and I know that there are WAY more experienced
      sewers and costumers out there who have some experience with selling
      their wares.


      Resha.



      > Problem is, I have never charged for my work. I don't know how much to
      > charge.
      >
      > The fabric I actually got at a vintage shop for 2 dollars.
      >
      > How much do you think?
      >
    • Aurora Celeste
      ... Here s some links to some places on LJ we ve discussed this: http://community.livejournal.com/corsetmakers/288314.html
      Message 2 of 9 , Feb 7, 2007
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        >
        >
        > > Problem is, I have never charged for my work. I don't know how much to
        > > charge.
        > >
        > > The fabric I actually got at a vintage shop for 2 dollars.
        > >
        > > How much do you think?
        > >


        Here's some links to some places on LJ we've discussed this:

        http://community.livejournal.com/corsetmakers/288314.html
        http://auroraceleste.livejournal.com/113399.html


        Aurora Celeste


        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
      • Sarah
        It s been covered well above, I certainly do materials plus time, although a lot of times I neglect to figure in 50 cents for interfacing if it s only a small
        Message 3 of 9 , Feb 7, 2007
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          It's been covered well above, I certainly do materials plus time,
          although a lot of times I neglect to figure in 50 cents for
          interfacing if it's only a small amount. I don't itemize thread
          usually either! I guess I hope I'm charging enough per hour to cover
          that sort of thing.
          If I was looking at someone's work, I'd also want to know how well it
          was finished inside, as well as how accurately and neatly it was put
          together on the outside. I've seen stuff that was knocked together
          with irregular seam allowances, no seam finishes or lining, and the
          machine's tension wasn't adjusted properly. I'd be insulted if that
          person tried to charge as much per hour as I do! On the other hand, if
          it's that way because they are just starting out, there's no reason
          not to sell it to an interested buyer... I'd just hope that they'd
          improve their skills and results with time and experience!

          The links are very interesting. The first one gives you a sense of
          both the factors that go into pricing, and the range that's out there.
          Also an idication of why most of us charge by the hour rather than the
          item! The second one is very well laid out, but I had to copy and
          paste the text into a document to see all of it (something weird with
          the scroll bar on the side, wouldn't move the text)
          S

          --- In F-Costume@yahoogroups.com, "Aurora Celeste" <auroraceleste@...>
          wrote:
          > Here's some links to some places on LJ we've discussed this:
          >
          > http://community.livejournal.com/corsetmakers/288314.html
          > http://auroraceleste.livejournal.com/113399.html
        • wheresra
          This may or may not help: http://community.livejournal.com/bellydancegear/204748.html
          Message 4 of 9 , Feb 7, 2007
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          • faye
            ... This looks to me like a Wench Bodice and Skirt. At the Ren Fare that I go to a bodice and top would cost me about $75.00. The bodice would be lined and I
            Message 5 of 9 , Feb 7, 2007
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              >
              This looks to me like a Wench Bodice and Skirt. At the Ren Fare that
              I go to a bodice and top would cost me about $75.00. The bodice
              would be lined and I can't tell, but yours didn't look lined to me.

              Cost of Materials:
              Cost of your time: (you decide that one, I'd say a min of $10/hr)
              Profit (this is the upwards priceing that has already been mentioned
              your fudge/bargining factor)

              Good luck with your sale,

              faye
              www.simbelmyne.us
              >
              >
              >
              > > Problem is, I have never charged for my work. I don't know how
              much to
              > > charge.
              > >
              > > The fabric I actually got at a vintage shop for 2 dollars.
              > >
              > > How much do you think?
              > >
              >
            • Sarah
              She makes the very good point that a custom seamstress is not in competition with department stores. I m always telling people, I will not even try to beat a
              Message 6 of 9 , Feb 7, 2007
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                She makes the very good point that a custom seamstress is not in
                competition with department stores. I'm always telling people, I will
                not even try to beat a price in a store, that's not what I'm in
                business to make. I'm here to make something unique that they can't
                get anywhere else, whether it's fit, fabric, style, etc.

                --- In F-Costume@yahoogroups.com, "wheresra" <wheresra@...> wrote:
                >
                > This may or may not help:
                > http://community.livejournal.com/bellydancegear/204748.html
                >
              • jehanni2@aol.com
                Winchestersgirl said: Problem is, I have never charged for my
                Message 7 of 9 , Feb 7, 2007
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                  Winchestersgirl said:
                  <<I made this dress for a friend and a woman that works with my mom wants
                  to buy it. <snip!> Problem is, I have never charged for my work. I don't know how much to
                  charge. The fabric I actually got at a vintage shop for 2 dollars.>>


                  You've had a lot of good answers in other references. It's definitely worthwhile to look up some of the myriad books for crafters and seamstresses that talk about the business side of costume and crafts, because they'll bring up things you never thought of, if you haven't been planning on making sewing your business. They'll talk about multipliers--as others have recommended, multiply your materials costs by 2 or 3 or more, depending on if you're going for a ball-park figure or a specific item estimate, and if your intended buyer is looking for dirt-cheap or damn-the-price-I-want-to-be-fabulous, or something in between.

                  There are some other fudge factors I haven't yet seen mentioned.

                  1. When asked "could I buy that?" did your heart leap, or fall? Were you excited to be asked, and immediately dreaming of becoming a couturier, or did you think with dread "but I spent 185 hours making the FIRST one, you mean I have to make another?" It is perfectly fair to figure in your state of mind--if it's boring as all get out, and you'll dread working on it, charging more can give you incentive to finish. If making an outfit is a labor of love, and you'd hate to part with it, charging more can give you incentive to let go--and determine how serious your buyer is.

                  2. Do you need the money right now? If you're having cash flow issues, sometimes selling costumes you intended to keep can help smooth out the flow....but you might have to let them go for less than you think they're worth. If you don't NEED to sell to pay your book bill, or keep food on the table, you can ask a higher price, knowing the customer might walk away.

                  3. Do you think selling at a bargain now might bring in more customers later (who are willing to pay "full price")? When stores do this, it's called a "loss leader"--they expect you'll come in to get the sale item or use the coupon, but find you like additional items, or you're so impressed with the quality or service that you'll come back. However, this only works if you actually DO get repeat business, and you really do get FULL-PRICE repeat business. It's not a loss leader if you lose money on every transaction that follows, as well as the first.

                  4. You said you made the dress for a friend--are you going to make another for your friend, if the customer buys this one? I ask because you also said you got the fabric at a vintage shop, cheap. If you make another one, you might not have such an inexpensive materials-cost. That would affect the price.

                  5. If you're successful, and another customer wants that same thing again...and then another, and then a 5th, 10th, etc., will you eventually go bonkers making the same thing over and over? Some people can keep making multiples of the same item (production), other want the challenge of making something new and different (custom). Success can sometimes drive you into a rut. What do you feel about that? How could you keep your interest "fresh?" Do you have time to create another business "on the side" of whatever you do for your day job?

                  6. Is the customer someone you can work with or for? I have an acquaintance who started doing custom wedding gowns, but the brides-to-be drove her up the wall with constant fittings and refittings, and she felt like she was a slave--partly because she didn't tell them "for this price, you get two fittings and one mock-up--any chages after that will be $65/hour." That's an example, and not all customers are likely to be as fussy as your average this-is-going-to-be-the-most-important-dress-of-my-life bridezilla. And not all garments are going to be as fitted as your average wedding dress, either. But some customers are hard to fit, and some are difficult personalities: and if you can't make them happy without losing your sanity....better to consider the consequences up front.

                  Let me also say that it's perfectly OK to say: I don't usually sell my work, but in this one instance...." --you don't HAVE to become a professional instantly, if you don't want to, or find the timing isn't right, right now. There are a lot of us who choose to remain "talented amateurs," costume enthusiasts, or people-who-dress-up-for-fun. It's flattering to have someone ask "did you really make that?" or "how much would you sell it for?" or "could you make one for me?"

                  Jonatha
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