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How much money is your cross stitch worth?

Have you ever tried to place a monetary value on your time?

When you’re purchasing a cross stitch kit or individual supplies for your project, you know what you’re paying for. You’re paying for the pattern, fabric, threads, needle, needle minder, scissors and any other tool to help you complete the project. You may also know how long it will take you to complete the project. But since you’re doing the project for the love of stitching, the thought of putting a monetary value on the time it will take you may seem daunting or preposterous. I mean, who’s going to spend hundreds, if not thousands of dollars on a beautiful cross stitch picture, right?

Pricing Schedules and Formulas

Many of the pricing schedules and formulas promoted on the Net for arts and crafts are assuming that you’re going to be making jewellery, painting, sculpting, card making etc. The level of complexity and time taken to produce the end product will vary – many of which can rival the time taken to completely finish a cross stitch project (framing/finishing options included). This is what you need to determine when you are deciding on which pricing schedule or formula to use. Other questions you could consider include – How complex and intricate is your project? How many different colours are you going to use? How large is the project?

I really like the article by Dave Nevue who talks about pricing art and the different formulas that can be used. One of the most common and popular ones is shown below:

Cost of Materials + Hourly Rate x time taken to complete project = cost of project + GST = Sale Price Using one of my projects as an example, this formula would look like:

Materials:

  • 148 DMC colours x $1.50 per colour = $222
  • $15 worth of 14 count Aida fabric
  • Total cost of materials = $237

The formula:

$237 (cost of materials) + $41.49 (my hourly rate) x 225 (the hours taken to complete the project) = $9,687 +10% = $10,655.70

You will see that with this formula, I’ve not included any costings for framing or any other type of finish. I’ve intentionally left out the cost of framing or other types of finishes because I don’t know who’s going to buy it and where they live. Also, at this point in time, I don’t know if I will sell it online or in-person.

Determining your hourly rate

What are your expenses? How much money do you need to ensure you can comfortably live and not be stressed by money? If you are already have a steady income and you are happy with that income, crunch the numbers to find out if that is a feasible amount to be charging when you’re pricing your craft. If you’re not sure or you think that your prices are too high or too low, talk to an accountant.

An alternate pricing option

Rather than assigning an hourly rate, some cross-stitch forums have suggested assigning 1 to 5 cents per stitch, and calculating the cost based upon how many stitches there are in the project. For example, the Heaven and Earth project I’m working on at the moment (pictured below), is 400 stitches wide by 509 stitches wide.

Cover page for the current cross-stitch project I'm working on. Pattern name is Moon Lit Waters. Designed by Michele Sayetta and artwork by Julie Fain. The image has the sillouette of a female fairy in front of the moon, hovering above the water. The water below her has a rippled reflection of her. The picture has a lot of dark colours around the edges, with lighter shades throughout the middle.
Current project I’m working on.

Using the pricing schedule suggested in some cross-stitch forums and basing it upon the Moon Lit Waters project, the formula would look like this:

(400 x 509) x $0.05 = $10,180

This is also assuming that I have already been supplied with the materials I need for the project. If we factored in the price of the pattern and materials, the price would be getting closer to $15,000.

Insuring your cross-stitch

This can be a great way to determine what your cross stitch is valued as and may be an alternate way to determining how much money your cross stitch is worth. Imperial Needlework Appraisal for example, can appraise your cross stitch and provide you with a valuation certificate.

Do your research – Test the market

If all of this still seems daunting and you think the price you’re asking for your art is too high or too low, test the market. Do some searches on the Internet. Talk to people in the industry.

Etsy, Ebay and Gumtree are just three of the places you can go to, to see what prices people are selling their projects for. This can also give you an idea of where your projects sit within the market. For example, the more complex the project, the higher the amount of money you could ask for.

It may also be worth checking to see how long the items have been sitting on the market for and getting in contact with the sellers to find out what their most popular products have been. This may help you with determining the future trends and themes.

Understand your customer

Who are you stitching for? Who is your ideal customer? Why are you stitching for them? What do they want?

Answering these questions can help you with determining the monetary value of your cross stitch and what you end up stitching. For example, you may really enjoy stitching cards for various seasons and events. They can be as simple or complex as you want the designs to be and people appreciate a thoughtful, handmade card.

Alternatively, you may have the passion, drive, patience and ability to stitch beautifully large pieces that are complex in design and are worth the time and effort that has been put into them. There’s a market for that too. The challenge is finding the right buyer.

Marketing – Promote yourself. Tell a good story.

This is applicable to all of your projects – especially your higher priced ones! Your customers will need and want to connect with the project you are selling. More importantly, if they can find a connection with you and understand why you are doing what you do, it will enable your customers to appreciate the work you have done and the price you have placed on the product.

Consider the following questions in association with a project you’re working on – why did you choose to stitch this project? What do you love about it? Did you experience any challenges whilst stitching it? Was there something happening in your life that had an impact on the project? Is there a special meaning behind the project?

Sharing your story with your customers can help them with wanting to purchase your projects. The Artlandish website for example, provides an explanation on the stories behind Aboriginal art and why certain symbols, designs and colours are used to convey their messages.

You are worth it!

If I’m struggling for motivation to get something done, I remind myself of the following quotes (I don’t know who said them. But I have seen these words quite a lot on the Internet):

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Author:

I am an avid cross stitcher. I was first introduced to cross stitch when I was primary school age. Paused for while during my teens and then took it up again in my early/mid 20's and I haven't looked back. To mitigate the amount of time I'm sitting down stitching, I'm a regular member of the gym and I'm a runner. To keep me motivated, I participate in short to medium length fun runs. Which at times feel torturous, but I feel really good at the end of them! With these activities in mind, this blog is about the combination of my experiences with running and cross stitch and encouraging people to think differently about cross stitch - it's not just Grandma's who do this anymore!