Hi! Long time, no talk! 🙂 I’ve been so busy – fall season always comes and goes by so quickly… I wish it hung around for longer! However, that also means some suuuuuper excited things are coming very soon – like next week soon, *wink wink* 🙂
Before we get into all the fun, I want to talk about a more serious topic. It seems like every year there’s something that needs clarifying – and today is that day of the year 2018. A couple of days ago I saw a post (or a comment rather) that made me quite upset. I am all good now, because some people will always talk nasty things, but if there’s one thing that I love it’s transparency. So, today we’re breaking down the cost of my sweaters, and exactly what you’re paying for when you buy one (thank you for buying! :)).
I always thought about making this kind of blog post, but what gave me the needed push was a comment on Facebook. I am a member of quite a few Sphynx related groups on Facebook, and in one of them somebody asked some cat clothing recommendations. About 99% of the time I don’t really jump to advertising myself, and this was no exception. However, I did the follow-up on the thread just to see what other people had to say. One person suggested to the author of the original post to take a look on Etsy, and she also added a screenshot of one person’s knitted cat sweater. I am familiar with that knitter, she’s amazing! Her sweater was €26 + the shipping costs. Then under that comment another lady comments: “Oh, that sweater must be made of a golden thread to cost this much”. The seller whose sweater costs €26 is from The Netherlands. The person who criticized? She’s from Lithuania, a small Baltic country, and she said she’s “proud of selling (weirdly made – in my opinion) acrylic sweaters for €15” (on top of that would come the shipping cost). Now, in case you’re wondering why the country matters… Lithuania is like 50% cheaper than The Netherlands or Finland where I live. And yes, what I am saying is accurate, because I spent a week traveling all around Lithuania in the summer of 2018. The yarn, the shipping… these things cost a fraction of what it does over here in Finland. If I had an opportunity to lower the prices, I absolutely would! Also, let’s not forget the currency exchange fees, PayPal fees, Etsy increasing it’s fees from 3.5% to 5%…
Now, let’s break down the costs behind the sweater that’s been in my shop for years – the cute rainbow:
I will be breaking down the costs of the sweater in size XS, which costs €32 (there’s no additional shipping costs).
Etsy takes off 5% seller’s fee, on top of that comes VAT, PayPal fee (if the person uses PayPal), currency exchange fee, etc. From a €32 sweater I’d normally pay about €3.00 in fees. And, of course, I still need to pay the income tax to the government, but let’s just skip that altogether.
Yarn that I use for this particular sweater is 75% wool & 25% polyamide, and 150g ball costs €7.95. In order to make size XS, I use about 100g of yarn. That would make the yarn costs €5.30. It takes about 3 hours to make the sweater from beginning to end, including sewing in all the loose ends. Average pay per hour in Finland is €10-13. I’ll take the average of €11 – that means I’d be paid €33 for 3 hours of work (which is already higher than the sweater cost itself). If the sweater has beads, the price increases by another €1 or so, depending on how fancy the beads/decorations are. After the sweaters are finished, they’re always prewashed, in order to make sure the colors don’t “bleed” and that the sweaters are super clean. Let’s add €0,50 for that.
After the sweater is dry, it’s time to package it up. I use wrapping paper, natural fiber thread, decorative tape and a big brown padded envelope. The costs of wrapping & shipping materials would make about €1. Again, I am not counting in the time spent on packing. On top of that I have printed care instructions & “Thank You” cards, so that adds about another €0.50.
Then I need to take a train to a different district as there’s no post office where I live. The ticket costs €2.40. Now, the biggest cost is the shipping. It’s OUTRAGEOUSLY expensive over here in Finland, and has risen about 20% since 2015, which is beyond scary. Anyhow, sweater in size XS weighs over 100g, usually about 112g. That means the shipping costs €12.50, if I ship outside Europe. And most of my clients come from countries like USA & Canada.
Now let’s add the costs:
And now my profit:
So… this is how much my profit is from a €32 sweater: €6.30, meaning I get paid about €2/hour. Again, normal job in Finland pays €10-13/hour. This means I make way under hourly salary. That’s where the part of me loving what I do comes in – I absolutely love knitting, it helps me to relax and just turn off the brain from overthinking. Of course, it’s up to you if you’re willing to pay €32 for a handmade sweater that was made because someone loves what they do. But if you’re one of those people thinking that everyone makes thousands of dollars each month by overcharging, maybe you should rethink – most handmade businesses that are transparent don’t make more than what you’d earn doing average job.
Let’s be less judgemental and more understanding & loving towards one another. 🙂
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