Original post : 27 Feb 2014

Are you worth it?

I have a feeling I am about to open a can of worms in this blog post and would like to state from the outset that I am  sitting so firmly on the fence on this one that I have splinters in my bottom!

How you price your products and how you, and others, value your work is a hugely complex subject.  You cannot simply say ‘I deserve to earn £10/hour, therefore that jumper I knitted should be £500’.  Maybe it should be but will anyone pay that? What are your competitors charging? And in your £10/hour have you factored in the hours of training and skill development you have done? Fundamentally do you want to make money or do you want to make a living?

We could debate this for hours but I think I have found a really good example to highlight some of the dilemmas we all face. Wool and the Gang is a very visible brand with fantastic imagery and a great story.  I feel they are firmly aimed at the fashion market and the upper end at that. Have a look at their website and you will see what I mean.

Here is a lovely chunky plaid cowl pattern of theirs.

And here is another one, this time by Franklin Habit who is an internationally renowned designer.

 

There is no question that either copied the other, this is a very common way of creating a plaid effect in knitting.   What I want to draw to your attention is that one pattern is free (although the designer would have been paid $70-100) and one costs £10 if you download the pattern. To put this in context, the average cost of a knitting pattern on Ravelry is £3-4.

Maybe we could all learn from WATG who are setting a price they think is fair for their experience and skill.  Or have they out priced themselves in an already cluttered market?  Is Franklin devaluing himself by being associated with free downloads or is he cleverly brand building?

I would love to know what you think and any other examples you can find.

Comments

Interesting!
Personally I am more than happy to sell my patterns for £1. I see the patterns as a marketing tool that will encourage people to buy the British Wool that they have been designed for as do all of the wool companies. While some of the designs take a considerable time from conception to the time they are printed I see it as a long term investment and sell lots which I am sure I wouldn't if I was charging £10.
From where I sit the market value of a pattern or how much an hour my time is worth are not the questions I ask. How to attract more customers? Now that's the real question!!

Hope you got the splinters out!!!!

Jo x
Comment by Jo Davies - 28 Feb 2014 18:34
I think both of your examples are following an appropriate strategy for their particular markets. Franklin is a professional writer and instructor (among other things) and his Knitty patterns are, as you say, part of his brand building; the income from his pattern downloads is, I imagine, not nearly as important as fees he is paid for workshops etc. Publishing free or cheap patterns will boost his profile and help to keep the opportunities rolling in.

W&TG probably aren't "outpricing themselves", but only because they're actually operating in a different market – fashion, rather than craft. Their patterns, while attractive, are pretty basic; knitters who are at all plugged into the online world (or even used to getting patterns from magazines, books etc, or from yarn shops) are unlikely to buy them. In other words, W&TG are unlikely to sell patterns in the kind of volume that Ravelry designers would hope for (even if that volume is fairly modest). So a higher price might help to compensate for the smaller market.

Both strategies make sense. I'm not saying independent designers shouldn't value their work – they absolutely should, and very likely a lot of patterns could (or should) be priced slightly higher. But you can't ignore the market price level.
Comment by woollythinker - 27 Feb 2014 21:11
Fab article, thanks J X
Comment by eleanor - 27 Feb 2014 21:08
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