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Costing for Corsetry

icon-smMarianne discusses the hard numbers of how to work out the actual cost for a given corset (or any garment).

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soundbrigade  
  VERY VERY VERY GOOD!
When sewing small quantitiesand spending your spare time by the sewing machine it's extremely difficult to calculate a reasonable price for your job and effort.
My only objection is that this info should be given to all those who even consider 150 GBP is FAR to much for a handmade, fully boned corset.
 
 
beespoke  
  This is at least the 4th time I have reread this article. Thank you so much for providing it. Competitor analysis is so difficult for me. When one "bespoke", which isn't really bespoke as there are no mockups, fittings, etc. charges $150 US for a 10 boned corset with twill strength, it is so difficult to compare to a minimum 26 boned corset underbust (cincher) with coutil and contrast stitching, reinforced busks and lacing areas, hand stitched bindings, etc. How do you convince the novice corset wearing the extreme difference in truly bespoke and true construction practices when they can buy a "bespoke" "couture" online so easily?  
 
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marianne  
  I think that's something that each of us has to struggle with and I don't know that I have a clear-cut answer. You can try drawing parallels, such as: an expensive, well-made and balanced pair of shoes vs those from a budget shoe shop. I think that is a fit that is relatable for almost everyone.
Personally, I try to bring awareness through education. Here obviously I am preaching to the converted, speaking amongst my peers, but on my own website and on my twice monthly column at The Lingerie Addict I try to educate consumers (case in point: http://www.thelingerieaddict.com/2012/01/what-you-didnt-know-to-look-for-in-a-corset-5-myths-debunked.html).

Explain not only the differences, but why your way is better. Look for something easily visible or quantifiable. "Twill fabric has a unbalanced diagonal grain, so it will shift over time." "Each mockup is an opportunity to improve the fit; without them, a so-called bespoke corset is mere guesswork." Etc. Photos also help.
 
 
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beespoke  
  Follow on: Also, I have used the "loss leader" for short term with tons of add-ons included to very good advantage so far. However, this practice gave me a basic zero profit margin for these items. But I do like the idea and I think that it does encourage sales. But I remember reading advice from Cathy on FR that stated not to undercharge, as when prices are raised (realistically) the consumer often thinks you are trying to "rip them off". Advice?  
 
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marianne  
  I ran out of room on the other comment! Wow.

There's a difference between a loss leader, sale, or a giveaway to encourage purchase [on higher ticket items], and a simple price raise. I think the key is a clear message: a loss leader that is always at that low price doesn't confuse a client. A sale or giveaway with a clear purpose and/or closing date is also straightforward and understandable. This whole article is basically to help us not undercharge, but to price with intent.

If anyone tries to give you a hard time for raising your prices (which will be easier for them to do if you make it a large jump, surprising/potentially excluding your existing clientelle), you can cite any of the realistic factors that cause any business to raise their prices: increased cost of goods/business, more accurate assessment of labor time, simple supply and demand, increased experience and therefore higher quality, so on.

Honestly, if it's been working for you thus far, I wouldn't be too worried!
 
 
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marianne  
  Er - I ran out of room again, but I also meant to say, on the topic of raising your prices: rather than just doing it all at once, bring them up slowly in smaller increments to allow your market time to adjust. Announce it when or before it happens. Yes, it is always easier to bring prices down rather than up, but as the motivational poster says, "What's easy is not always right, and what's right is not always easy." You are a businessperson and a craftsperson both; your prices should reflect that and your clients should respect that! If they don't, then you probably don't really want them as clients anyway.  
 
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