You Charged What?!
You ready to get the truth tea on the cost breakdown of my latest quilt, Lost Feathers of an Angel? Thank you to those who fathomed a guess last week; it really showed the dichotomy in how we think about pricing our quilts. It’s a tough one, I know! Until I started costing my quilts, I never would have figured there was so much cashola wrapped up in them. Some of your guesses were way low, and others were spot on the money! (My work here is done! :::shoulder shrug::: Woot! Woot!)
If I may have a serious moment, let me preface the pricing conversation by saying that I charge $30.00 AUD per hour ($23.50 USD) when I’m making a quilt. Some might feel this is pricey, but I think it sits about mid-range for speciality creative labour, especially in an urban metropolis like Sydney. (e.g. A plumber charges $60.00 per hour). The original values in my costing sheet are in Australian dollars, but they are converted to US dollars in the notes column. Current exchange rate is $1.00 AUD = $0.782 USD, which has held semi-steady over the past six months, so I’ve used it as the exchange rate for the fabrics I purchased in the US late last year.
Summing up all the components of this queen-sized quilt equals … $3500.00 AUD ($2750.00 USD)! Can you even believe?! While that might be a bit shocking for some, I’m really not surprised. Quilting takes time. You know I don’t even need to say it, but time is money. The labour charges for this quilt account for about 72% of the total cost. I think I best take out some insurance for my magic hands! And yes, I did add in a 20% profit margin to reiterate that all retail items include some form of this hidden charge whether you think it is fair or not.
Now let’s be clear, I’m not showing you my costing sheet so we can squabble over semantics. You might think my hourly rate is $5.00 too high, or it’s not fair that I charge retail prices for my fabrics when an actual retailer would purchase them wholesale, or that you don’t believe quilters should charge design concept fees because that’s the fun part of the process. What the F ever. The point is that I encourage you to take ownership of your creative economies and know that you’re worth way more than you think! The first way you can do that is start tracking your own costs, and simply showing the true cost of that quilt to the recipient. Imagine how much more they’ll love it when they realise you’ve just spent thousands of dollars on them. (Unless of course they wanted diamonds instead … um, awkward). Anyway, feel free to grab my costing sheets below, adjust them as you want, and see how much money your quilt is really worth.
In an effort to provide full disclosure to my readers, I want you to know I didn’t charge this full amount. As this quilt was created as a farewell gift, I dropped my labour rate to $25.00 AUD per hour ($19.50 USD), and didn’t charge a profit margin. I still showed the recipient this costing sheet though, and it made the quilt feel all the more special and luxurious. Everyone loves a discount! Let me end by saying I’m not telling you what to charge for the amazing things you make, but if you asked, I’d probably tell you that you’re not charging enough.