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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. 🙂