Wednesday, 22 September 2010

Buttons, Badges or Brooches?

You may recall (or not, in which case you won't know what I'm on about) that I recently enquired if anyone knew of a supplier of self cover buttons that had brooch backs rather than button shanks. Despite several helpful suggestions my research proved fruitless and it would appear such items do not exist. So it was either a case of buying a professional badgemaking machine which would involve me selling thousands of badges and a full time career in badge making before I saw a return on my investment or trying a little ingenuity...

I bought a box of 3.8cm self cover buttons and discovered that I could remove the wire that serves as a button shank.

I then set about glueing some brooch backs onto the backs of the buttons... a slow and boring process using epoxy resin glue (I don't want them to come apart)

The next stage was to take some of my printed and dyed jersey fabric samples that were left over from my fashion module and embroider little spider web wheels in variagated threads (also hand dyed but not by me)

This was the part I enjoyed best.

They were then cut out, gathered up and used to cover the buttons. The brooch backs were then simply pressed into place... no expensive machinery required.

And these are the first five off this rather slow production line and I confess I'm ridiculously pleased with them for something so simple. Fun little brooches for brightening up a tee shirt... or hat... or bag.

So I'm now packaging them up with a view to selling them before embarking on some different colours. But as ever there is the dilemma of what to charge. They are just a simple little badge but on the other hand they are hand embroidered onto fabric that I have printed and then dyed myself. I know that I cannot charge a realistic price for the amount of work invested and I don't really mind because they have been a pleasure to make.

So what do I charge? Would you buy them? How much would you pay? Be brave and leave me a comment and I'll consider it a survey. I promise... there will be no obligation to buy (well not much anyway). I might even give one away to one lucky commenter (or unlucky depending on your point of view!)

28 comments:

  1. Oh, didn't they come out well?

    I know it's probably not the same target market, but I sell my little embroidered toadstool badges for £3.50 - I suspect they're underpriced for the amount of work that goes into them but pricing is a pig. I haven't dared ask for more, and haven't poked about on Etsy for comparisons - I'd be interested to knwo what you decide though.

    PS You might be interested in some brooches that are for sale in the Bynam Gallery on Kings Parade - could be an outlet for your hellebores?

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  2. I think you should charge £4 -£4.50. i think £5 might be a cut off point for some when buying small crafted items. I think they are lovely and i would buy one.

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  3. I think around about £3.50-4.I also thinkthey are gorgeous. I woould like to buy two please :-)

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  4. With something like this it's impossible to cover materials and time and make a profit... But as you had the scraps of fabric and it was fun, I agree with trash and would go for £3.90 or £3.75.

    Celia

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  5. Gina
    These are gorgeous! I'd love to buy one!!
    Gill

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  6. Well, I am way above what everyone else suggests. I don't think you should undersell your work. I think they should be sold for $12-15 each.

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  7. Have a gold star for ingenuity! These little brooches are delightful and in my favourite colours too. It's a job to tell their size as tags come in different sizes but I think you could charge £4 or £5 each, as there is still quite a lot of work and time involved.

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  8. They are cute, and a lot of work, but I don't think you can charge more than £5.00. But it's difficult to price things, I hate it.

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  9. They are beautiful and it's terrible that you probably won't get what you deserve for them! I think around £4 even up to £4.95. When you go up to £5 I think people start to think about whether they want to part with their money or not! It's a shame because they are worth more.
    Vivienne x

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  10. They are lovely, but I agree that £4.95 is an impulse buy and £5 is psychologically different.

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  11. its always a dilemma wondering what to charge, especially when a lot of work has gone into them! I agree with the others £4-£4.50 would seem a good price!

    xx

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  12. My crafting friend 'D' and I used to agonise over what prices to put on our 'stuff' for the fayres we did. It's so difficult isn't it? I think your brooch badges are absolutely beautiful and would happily part with up to £4.50 for them. I agree with others that the £5 mark becomes something of a psychological barrier in the eyes of a crafty shopper. For what it's worth, our experience was that people were willing to buy more than one of something they viewed as 'reasonable' whereas they were reluctant to buy a single one of something they viewed as quite expensive 'for what it was' (people looking at our table talked very loudly even though we were sat right there!) Good luck with them, and please let us know if you put them on Etsy :) x

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  13. How fab and so right for this time of year, I have spent the last couple of days walking into spiders webs. I think £3.50 - £4 is around a good price of a badge, like you say you won't cover your time on them but if they were fun to make then that is the main thing.

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  14. These are gorgeous. Any crafter would appreciate the work that went into them but like everyone else I think Joe Public wouldn't pay more than a fiver and probably about £3.50 to £4.00 Love your blog.

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  15. The trouble is, if you charge £3.50-£4 you are probably paying yourself about £2-£3 an hour which then undervalues not only your own work, but the work of others who do similar things. And yet if you want to sell them then its tempting. You could try them at a higher price first?

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  16. I agree with Jackie. I glanced at them and thought £7 because of all the beautiful stitching and the knowledge of the work that has gone into creating a completely unique, embellished fabric and from that, a brooch. I think the equation if £8-£10 per hour taken to make plus 1-3 times the price of the materials is fair. Peering at these llttle pinwheels I'm certain the embroidery on each will have taken half an hour at least, plus the time taken to dye the fabric. It all points to a fair price that is a little higher. (I think Val undercharges for her little badges!!)

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  17. I'm applauding your ingenuity too! well done for finding a workable solution for your badges. I am hopeless at pricing but I'm sure they'd sell.

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  18. as I make my brooches in exactly the same way have considered the price of the button?? Mine are large and cost £1 just for that so £3-4 is a ridiculous price. What people are getting is unique and a piece of your life, (your time) mIne sell for around £8. Do not undervalue your skill or your time.

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  19. A great result! I would think you could get £6 to £7 each.

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  20. Love the buttons, certainly I would think 7 to 8 pounds (dont have a pound sign!)

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  21. They are superb !

    And you've really found a knacky way to set up the brooch back - thanks for the tutorial.

    Don't under sell yourself - these are UNIQUE - people are selling fabric covered brooches for about $7 - 15 AUD.

    Cost of materials + cost of labour + profit + stall fees + fuel to markets + cost of packaging . . .

    Just remember it's not made by the 10000's in a sweatshop with a machine run by under aged workers getting paid 50cents a day!

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  22. There's a girl in Australia on Etsy selling little button pins with vintage embroidery fabric on them for USD $5.25 - this is her shop site:
    http://www.etsy.com/shop/jezzeprints.

    Mary Portas (in response to some UK Etsy sellers) wrote an open letter on her blog to the UK handmade industry. She's her usual frank self, but does also offer some advice about pricing -

    "However if under the product there was a beautiful design, fabric and source story which I as a customer can pass onto my friends, then I might not shirk at that cost. Remember Status Stories are the new Status Symbols replacing logos, brands and general bling."

    http://www.maryportas.com/index.php?option=com_k2&view=item&id=77:an-open-letter-to-the-uk-handmade-industry.

    Anyway, Gina, they're lovely so good luck selling them at a sensible price!

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  23. Gina they are lovely buttons - and should sell well - though as you well know from previous experience people do not appreciate all the work that goes into them. I am useless at pricing items but they must be worth minimum of £5 - but worth more! good luck with selling them - though i would want to keep them all myself!!!

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  24. Ah they are lovely. I'm sure they are worth £5/£6. I'd buy one (don't tell Neil) not sure what I'd use for but it's a button.

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  25. Is it too obvious to say the price can depend on where you're selling them? In that case, any of the above valuations! Whatever the price, they're worth it! Your etsy link isn't working on my screen -are you selling them there?

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  26. What an ingenious solution to the problem of brooch backs! Lucy xx

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  27. What a conundrum! I recently paid £15 for a hand stitched "brooch" (a fabric scrap with sewn-on clasp, but lovely colourful stitching). It made me wince and dither - but I still bought it. Your badges, like my brooch, are truly unique and the "real thing" - a part of you - and must be valued as such.

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  28. Oh they're beautiful, Gina. I realize I'm coming to the survey rather late, but I'd say £10-£15.

    And I know from my mum and aunt the difficulty (and sometimes seeming impossibility) in coming up with a price buyers will pay that will still cover your time and materials. Sigh.

    K x

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