Handmade Clothing Pricing 101: How to Charge Fairly and Profit from Your Creations - Lowland Kids

Handmade Clothing Pricing 101: How to Charge Fairly and Profit from Your Creations

Apr 19, 2023Lowland Kids

Sewing to Sell How much to charge

"How much should I charge for ___?"

We hear it all the time. In fact, it's one of the top three most popular questions we see in our Facebook group.

You've sewn something amazing, you're ready to sell it, and now you're stuck trying to figure out how much to charge for that item. So, where's the best place to start?

You might visit Etsy to get an idea of what people are charging. But the problem you'll come across is that prices on Etsy range from "How do they make any money??" to "No way will someone pay that much!"

You then check out pricing at stores like Zara or H&M. They sell similar-looking stuff, right? But their products are not handmade. And often, they aren't using the same quality of materials.

Flustered, you search online for articles on how to price your handmade goods. Forums and articles can contain helpful information, but you have to sift through mountains of content to find what you're looking for.

We've been there. And we did the research for you!

Keep reading to find the best way to calculate how much you should charge for your handmade clothes.

Where to Start

If you're like me, you tend to undervalue your work. After all, the clothes didn't take you that long to make, and you probably find it enjoyable. If you can bring in a few dollars on top of supply costs, you'll be happy, right? Right??

Well, not exactly.

Keeping it straightforward is essential, but don't oversimplify things. We want to make sure you're actually making a profit!

So, where do you start? By asking these three questions:

  1. Who is my customer?
  2. What are my supply costs?
  3. How much is my time worth?

Let's go through these one at a time.

Who is my customer?

designing for the right customer

Who are you selling to? Here are some questions to help you hone in on your target market:

  • Are you going for a high-end, premium audience?
  • Are you trying to sell budget items?
  • Do your customers have a budget and taste in quality similar to yours? (This is probably who you should be going for!)

Side note: Customers shopping at boutiques or Etsy usually look for handmade, sustainable clothes. Know your audience!

Let's group typical types of customers into three categories:

  • Budget – price first. They don't mind inexpensive materials as long as the garment meets their price point and gets the job done. An example would be Old Navy.
  • Premium – quality first. Price is an afterthought. These customers, such as those who shop brands like Ralph Lauren, will appreciate the small details and often pay attention to fabric quality.
  • Value-based – a balance between quality and price. More discerning about quality than budget-minded customers, they still need to see value for their money. Think GAP here.

Old Navy knows its customers. They're not spending time and money introducing super premium fabrics into their stores. On the opposite end, Ralph Lauren's customers expect materials that are higher end, more durable, softer, more breathable…you get it. GAP lands somewhere in the middle.

Why is it important to know your customer? Because choosing who you are selling to will determine what materials you use! And what materials you use plays a huge factor in how you price your goods.

What are my supply costs?

calculating supply costs

Now that you have an idea of who your customer is, the next step is finding the right fabric types. We used to sell U.S.-milled luxury fabrics, so we know firsthand how expensive this material can be! That said, it really does vary quite a bit.

On the high end (Elvelyckan, SYAS), fabrics run for $20+ per yard. In the middle range (RCF), these can run $10-20 per yard. On the affordable end (Walmart, Threadbear), fabrics run for $10 per yard and less. If you get lucky, you might even snag some for a couple dollars per yard!

As you can see, your target customer really determines your fabric cost when all is said and done.

But wait – aren't there other supply costs? Yes! You also use notions. Those can add up if your design features buttons, zippers, elastic, tags, etc. It depends on what you're making, but we factor in roughly $0.50 per item for notions.

Lastly, it's essential to factor in your indirect costs. Things like sewing machine tune-ups, new cutting mats, and part of your electricity bill.

Let's put it into a formula:

Fabric + Notions + Indirect Costs = Supply Cost

I should also charge for my time, right? YES. Read on!

How much is my time worth?

Calculate how much your time is worth

This one is simple. How much do you charge for your time – your labor? I'd recommend starting at no less than $15/hr and working up from there.

Labor can vary substantially. We see professional seamstresses regularly charge $50+ per hour. Are you making premium or technically challenging clothes? Can you pump out twice as much per hour at a higher quality than your competition?

Don't worry if you're not sure how much to charge. We'll use $20/hr in the examples below to give you an idea.

Putting It All Together

Now we have a basic formula for calculating costs. Simply add in your hourly rate to find your minimum price:

Supply Cost + Labor = Minimum Price

Simple, right? Let's dive in with a couple of examples:

  1. Shorties in size 2T with high-end fabric ($20/yard)
    • You make 4 Shorties per hour
    • Each pair takes 0.5 yards (conservative estimate)
    • Total supply cost = $40 (2 yds fabric) + $2 (notions) = $42
    • You charge $20/hr for your time
    • Total supply cost + labor for 4 Shorties = $62
    • Minimum price per Premium Shorties = $15.50
  2. Shorties in size 2T with budget fabric ($5/yard)
    • 4 Shorties per hour
    • 0.5 yards per pair = 2 yards of fabric
    • Total supply cost = $10 (fabric) + $2 (notions) = $12
    • Hourly rate = $20/hr
    • Total supply cost + labor = $12 + $20 = $32
    • Minimum price per Budget Shorties = $8

In addition, I recommend adding about 10% on top of your minimum price. This will help cover those indirect costs we talked about earlier.

That brings our prices to roughly $17 and $9, respectively. You can easily see how the cost of your fabric plays a huge role in determining your prices!


shirt hanging from rack ready to sell

Use the formula to get an idea of where to start pricing. Of course, you can always charge more if customers are willing to pay more!

Here are a couple more price examples from our Facebook group. For more like this, search "price" in the Lowland Kids Sewing Thread Facebook Group.

Now you have a basic pricing strategy! Remember, you are not competing against mass producers. Lean into what makes your clothes unique. Emphasize handmade quality, sustainability, local production, and higher fabric quality if that’s what you use. Find the customers who want to buy your product and tailor your offerings to them.

Good luck, and please feel free to ask us questions in our Facebook group! We’d love to hear about your experiences and successes.

FAQ: Pricing Handmade Clothes

1. How do I determine the right price for my handmade clothes? To find the right price for your handmade clothes, consider your target customer, supply costs, and the value of your time. Use the formula: Supply Cost + Labor = Minimum Price, and add a 10% margin to cover indirect costs.

2. How do I identify my target customer? Think about who you want to sell to: high-end customers, budget customers, or those looking for a balance between quality and price. Your target customer will influence the materials you use and the prices you can charge.

3. How do I calculate my supply costs? Add up the cost of your fabric, notions (buttons, zippers, elastic, tags, etc.), and indirect costs (sewing machine tune-ups, cutting mats, electricity) to determine your supply costs.

4. How do I determine my labor cost? Consider how much your time is worth (start at no less than $15/hr) and factor in your productivity. Keep in mind that professional seamstresses often charge $50+/hr for their time.

5. How do I factor in fabric costs? Fabric costs vary greatly depending on the quality and source. High-end fabrics can cost $20+/yd, mid-range fabrics $10-20/yd, and budget fabrics $10/yd or less. Your target customer will help determine the appropriate fabric cost.

6. How do I adjust my pricing for different items? Apply the same pricing formula to each item, taking into account variations in material usage, labor, and the specific target audience for each product.

7. How can I learn more about pricing handmade clothes? Join the Lowland Kids Sewing Thread Facebook Group to connect with fellow artisans, ask questions, and share your own pricing insights and experiences.

two girls wearing Lowland Gigi Overalls

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