My Little Handmade Business: Passion Not Profits

Black Friday and Cyber Monday are approaching. A time for BIG sales and steals! I’m trying to figure out how my little business can join in the fun that is expected during these days. While I would love to offer the amazing deals and price-cuts of big box shops, I’m afraid my little handmade business isn’t built for that.

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But what does that mean exactly? I sell bibs for $12 and $13! Crayon rollups for $15 and $16. Surely, I’m making quite the profit!

The truth is my “profits,” are quite small. In the spirit of being transparent, I calculated the exact material costs of making a bibdana. And I used a stopwatch to time myself at every step of creating a bibdana (stopping the timer when a little one needed me or the phone rang).

Bibdana Materials Cost: $4.61

Organic Sherpa $3/bib
-Can make 5 per 1/2 yard

Designer Cotton Outer $1.13/bib
-Can make 4 per 1/2 yard

Snaps 23¢/bib
-To use three snaps on each bib

Additional Costs 25¢/bib
-Cotton Thread, Needle, Pins, Clasps, Fabric Pen, CuttingBoard, Shears, Rotary Blade, Machine Wear-and-Tear

Cost to Sell Bibdana Online: $1.39

Etsy Listing Fee- 30¢(20¢-40¢)
Credit Card Fee- 74¢
Etsy Sales Fee- 35¢

Bibdana Creation Time: 20mins/$5 (paid $15/hour)

Ironing, Tracing pattern, cutting, pinning: 5min 27sec
Sewing together: 4 min
Clipping, Trimming, Turning, ironing: 3min 47 sec
Sewing top-stitch: 3min 58sec
Snipping, ironing, Applying snaps: 3min 18sec

Materials + Etsy Costs + Creation: $11
$4.61 + $1.39 + $5 = $11

I sell it for $12. So that’s $1 profit!

But wait! I donate 25¢ of every purchase to combat child hunger with No Kid Hungry. It’s not a lot but it is accumulating thanks to you!

So 75¢ profit for pen&thimble! 

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But I haven’t accounted for the other costs and tasks it takes to run my business:

Marketing/Social Media, Customer Service, Etsy Shop Upkeep, Containers and Shelving, Workspace, Electricity, Pre-Washing All Fabric, Organizing Fabric, Finished Product Inventory, Bookkeeping/Accounting, Photography, Listing Items on Etsy, Wrapping, Shipping, Cost of mailers, Cost of bags for local pick-up, Tissue paper, Stickers and labels that are also handmade….

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Safe to say the 75¢ profit is beyond eaten up in these additional tasks and costs.

But I’m passionate about the quality designer fabrics I offer. I love the organic backing on the bibdanas, the sturdy 2mil PUL rather than flimsy 1mil on the snackmats. I love that our drool bibs have three layers to keep drooling babies dry. I don’t want to skimp on materials to make a profit. I don’t want to increase prices and make my items unaffordable. I don’t want to stop donating each month to help fight child hunger.

I offer the best price I can all year round because I care about quality items, want the best for our babies, I want customers to be happy, and I donate a little too because it can do so much more good than few extra Starbucks coffee treats will.

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I get paid in feeding my passion to create fun and functional items for little ones. I get paid in knowing that together we’re giving back–you and me! I get paid in the new friendships I’ve created with customers and other handmade shops. And right now, that is enough. 🙂

One thought on “My Little Handmade Business: Passion Not Profits

  1. This is a great post! Thanks for shedding light on the real costs involved. While you’ll likely never be wealthy from your business (unless you clone yourself several times over) you are providing families with high quality, safe items for their babies, and contributing to an important! This is why people should support small, community artesians.

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