Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Funky Hankies

We're still making hankies over here.  Now we're trying to get funky, too.  Oh sure, we did some real pretty, heirloom type handkerchiefs, like the beautiful ones in the photographs.  Using the Etsy article mentioned in the last post, the designs hopefully are becoming more creative and "funky." 

Last night the hanky with the red lips on the black polka dot fabric was put on Etsy.  Two friends have already commented on it and they love it.  The lips really do look like lipstick, but it's embroidery.  In fact, there is an entire group of lip designs.

Every chance I get, I like to stitch out some design that I've never done before, like the laid back frog.  People ask how long it takes to stitch these designs.  Of course, it depends on the design and how many stitches there are, but usually it doesn't take too long.  What takes time is the set up for the design.  The design has to be located.  Then we have to decide on the colors and assign the correct needles.  We may have to resize the design or redigitize part of the design.  That takes a considerable amount of time.  Yes, sometimes hours.  Then we put the design on a 3 1/2" floppy disk.  Bet you thought those things were a thing of the past.  Although modern embroidery machines are going toward flash drives, many of the older models, such as Boudreaux, still use the 3 1/2" floppy disk.  Anyway, we put the design on the disk and take it to Boudreaux.  We upload the design into Boudreaux and put the correct color thread in the correct needles.  Since we have 12 needles, sometime this entails threading 12 times.  George hates threading needles.  We trace the design, which means that we put the hoop that we expect to use in the machine and tell the machine to trace.  There are a couple of tracing options but we usually use the one that goes to the limits of the design to see if the hoop will fit that design.  Once we have the proper hoop, the design uploaded, the correct color thread in the correct needle, then we hoop some scrap fabric of the type that we plan on putting our final design (knit or woven).  We stitch out a sample to make sure everything is as it should be.  We make any adjustments needed.  Sometime this requires another sample stitch out.  When the design finally stitches out the way we want, we hoop the item and do the final stitch out. 

For instance, The lip design had 4 colors originally.  When it stitched out, I didn't like the look and had to take the design back to the computer and start again, until I liked the design.  The lips took about 5 minutes to stitch out but the set up took probably an hour or two.

I am still perplexed at the pricing thing for Etsy.  When I sold the handkerchiefs on Etsy, I paid Etsy's fee and PayPal's incoming and outgoing fee.  I didn't know how to get either to adjust for sales tax.  The item was sold in Florida.  Finally, I found how to do that on PayPal.  Hope it works.  Anyway, you can imagine that if I sell something for $5 and pay all of those fees, take the cost of making the item off, the profit is very meager.  There comes a point where you have to stop and ask yourself if this price is worth the making the item.  If not, the price either has to be adjusted up or you don't offer that product.  That's why I like embroidery on ready made items.  Once I take the cost of the item off the top, the design and embroidery work is a pleasure and we have fair, set prices for that.  I just have to pull myself back and remember that the reason I'm on Etsy in the first place is my need to create.

Another article that I recently read said that items that do not sell well on Etsy, usually sell very well at craft fairs and vice versa.  I'm thinking about putting some of the items that did not sell at last year's craft fair on Etsy, just to see how it goes there.

Well, I have to get back to Boudreaux.  See ya next time.

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