In Part 1 we discussed in part the cost of making a couple of different novelty soaps (soap petals and soap curls). Today we’re going to discuss what goes into making a hand-crocheted washcloth. Once you see what goes into making something as small as a washcloth contemplate what it takes to make an afghan or other larger project.
Let’s break this down…..Crocheted washcloths. Now, I’ve seen some folks that can whip these suckers out pretty fast with a simple stitch (my mom is one of those folks). But usually, you will find these with pretty patterns or more detailed and intricate designs. By the time you break down the cost and time that it takes to crochet a washcloth, you realize what it sells for (I’ve seen them as low as $2 per washcloth) is not paying the artisan anywhere close to minimum wage. So let’s get started with the breakdown.
It takes an hour to make a nice size fancy washcloth to go in a spa gift bag. If it is solid at the $2 price mentioned above with a cost of $1 in materials to make it, that’s only ONE DOLLAR PER HOUR. Even if the artisan can make 4 of these in an hour. After expenses of materials that only leaves $4. So at most, FOUR DOLLARS per hour. How many of you would be willing to work for only $4 per hour? We currently sell our washcloths for $6 each. Because we do not use only simple stitch patterns the cost to make one of ours is more than $1. So even with our prices, the artisan is not making much over minimum wage, if at all.
Are you starting to appreciate that hand crocheted baby blanket grandma gave to you for your babies now?
Let’s take a look at a crocheted baby cocoon. I know it takes at least 8-10 hours to make one (and not in one sitting as this is tedious work and breaks have to be taken). Materials will cost at a minimum $8 (sometimes a bit more depending upon the yarn and pattern but we’ll start here). This does not include the gas it takes to go to the store to pick up materials and the time involved. Nor does it consider the trip to the post office to ship it if it’s being shipped or the cost of shipping materials. it takes 8 hours to make a simple cocoon with no fancy edge and no embellishment pieces. And the average price for one of these is $40. So after expenses that leaves $32 for 8 hours of labor. That’s only $4 per hour. The pictures here show an open cocoon to the left and a flat cocoon with 2 different embellishment options on the right.
So what is your time worth? If you were to go in for a job interview would you be so crazy to put the desired salary as $4 per hour? I don’t think so. Why would a handcraft artisan’s time be worth so much less than someone else in the workplace?
Think about these things the next time you see a handmade item and you think it’s priced too high. Think about these things the next time you might feel the need to “talk them down” on their prices. And think about these things the next time grandma gives the gift of love in a hand-made gift.