We all want a bargain, to save money where we can, and as such I get asked often why a hand made bag is so expensive to buy when compared to a bag bought on the high street. My answer is always two fold. First of all you are paying for quality; a hand made bag is likely to be made from better quality materials than the bags on the high street. Secondly, you are paying for the ability to customize a bag to your own preference.
You may be able to select between a couple of colours of bags in the shops, a custom bag means you can really choose what you want. You tell me what you would really like and I will work with you to ensure you get exactly what you want.
I spend over a week on each bag I make – yes I do have some limitations on how much time I can spend in a day due to my chronic pain condition – but also because every single bag I make is made carefully and to an extreemly high standard. Each seam is checked and double stitched for strength. If I make a bag I expect it to last.
Economies of Scale
Large companies can also take advantage of the ability to bulk purchase fabrics, making them much cheaper than I can buy them for, and they manufacture the bags in countries where the wages are significantly lower than we would expect in the UK. I can’t take advantage of bulk buying, I don’t have the space or cash flow, besides I don’t want to make 2000 of the same bag, that would hardly be a custom bag.
Making bags, purses and wallets, is something I enjoy doing, and I am pretty good at it too.
My Pricing Model
There is a general rule of thumb among bag makers that a bag should cost at least 3 times the materials cost. As the material costs of some of the bags I sell comes to nearly £40 I find myself reluctant to price using this model. Instead I took the decision to simply add a small amount to the material cost of the bag. I will not become rich of course, but I would rather people could afford my bags, and as long as I have a few pounds left over to buy more patterns and fabrics I am content.
If I were to price my bags based on the number of hours taken to make them as well as the material cost, even at minimum wage they would still cost more than they are priced. After all even the bibs which take me the least amount of time (around 1 hour per bib) would be £8.70 plus materials per bib.
So, when you look at my bags, and you think that’s expensive remember this post. Think about the process and time involved in making each bag, and you will see you are in fact getting a top quality bag at a bargain price!
Head over to the store and have a look at the things available to order.