Rant: Price of Crochet in Mainstream Fashion

Please excuse me taking time away from A Tour through Crochet Country today, but I came across a crochet issue this morning that I think can provide us with an opportunity for some timely discussion relating to product pricing in the crochet industry.

As I was working on a crochet crown design this morning, QVC was playing on the TV in the background. I had to look up when I heard them say the word “crochet.” They are selling a beautiful cardigan made by Liz Claiborne New York that is completely crocheted. Yes, real crochet. As in made by real people in China, not by machines.

Take a look at all the details on this hand-crocheted cardigan:

Crochet Sweater View 1

Crochet Sweater View 1

Crochet Sweater View 2

Crochet Sweater View 2

 

Crochet Sweater View 3

Crochet Sweater View 3

Crochet Sweater View 4

Crochet Sweater View 4

Good News

My first thought was, “Great! Big name fashion designers recognize the beauty of crochet and are including it in their collections. This will help crochet become even more popular.”

Bad News

My second thought was, “Oh, no! Look at the price! How is having such an affordably-priced sweater available at mass retail going to affect crocheters who are trying to run a business selling crocheted items?”

Crochet Pricing Issues

This garment comes in sizes XXS through 3X, all for the standard QVC price of only $59.75, with a special limited-timed featured price of $54.98 today. It’s made from a fine-gauge ramie/cotton yarn.

Think about the hours that would be required to make even the XXS cardigan, let alone the 3X cardigan.

How many hours do you think it would take to make the largest size? Just for reference, the chest circumference is 54″, the bottom circumference is 61″, and the length is 29.75″. Let’s see if we can figure out how much the crocheter who made a size 3X sweater might be earning.

Assumptions (vastly simplified for sake of discussion):

  • Crocheters in China are not magic. They can’t crochet any faster than US crocheters can.
  • 60 hours of crochet time (although it’s probably more than that)
  • We’re ignoring all other costs of production, which does artificially inflate the wages. But trust me, they’re going to be depressing enough even without considering other costs.
  • We’re assuming a 100% markup (keystone pricing) at each step of the distribution chain.

QVC sells sweater for $60

QVC bought sweater from manufacturer for $30

Manufacturer paid someone $15.00 to make the sweater

Hourly rate: 25 cents per hour!!!!

Amazing and pretty horrifying!

Making Money with Crochet?

In my Crochet Business Mastermind groups at Crochetville, I encourage crocheters do make every attempt to price their crocheted items at a level that will provide them with a decent hourly wage. They deserve to be fairly compensated for their time and skills, right?

But with the current economy and today’s discount pricing expectations, it’s very hard to convince consumers that they should adequately compensate someone for their time involved in producing a product.

It’s the rare crocheter who is able to find a market that will bear the product price required to support what I consider a decent, skilled-labor hourly wage, let alone even US hourly minimum wage.

Share Your Thoughts

Do you sell finished crocheted items? Do you have problems selling your products at prices that give you a fair hourly wage?

How will this type of retail product pricing affect you?

What can we do to make it easier for crocheters to make a living by selling crocheted items?

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Disclaimer: All photos are copyright to QVC (www.qvc.com). Photos are used under the Fair Use Exclusion of copyright law as applicable to commentary.


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