Category Archives: On A Shoestring

On A Shoestring – Paying Yourself

When I started out with my business, I figured up the cost of my materials, thought about what I would pay for my items and there was the price.  Needless to say they were pretty low. Then, I started reading more about business, studying what other successful entrepenuers were doing to figure out their prices and saw that I was missing one vital thing. I wan’t paying myself.

It struck me dumb. All the years that I’d been working for someone else, all those years of making sure I was given every due cent on my paycheck, and when the time came to finally work for myself I forget to factor in my own labor. I wrestled with that for a while. What should I charge? Is my talent really worth that? My prices will have to rise! Then nobody will buy from me! Oh woe is me!

But I ran across a post someone made in one of the forums I frequent: Isn’t your talent worth just as much as someone with a “regular” job? Why yes, yes it is! For me, my talent/craft is sewing, something that was done regularly way back when, but not so much today.  I thought to myself that if my sewn items are just as good as a seamtresses, then why can’t I be paid like her?

Paying yourself is one of the most important things to remember when you start your business. No one started out wanting to work for free, but if you just charge for your materials that’s exactly what you’re doing. Now, don’t start comparing what you want to be paid to what other crafters are doing. Everyone has their own separate needs and goals. Also every region is different. What would be a normal wage in a small city in Georgia would be laughable in say NYC or LA.

Once you figure out what you want to be payed for your time and labor then your prices should reflect that. And your prices will show buyers what that lovely blanket that you spent all weekend knitting is really worth. When you know what you’re worth, so will they.


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On A Shoestring – Earring Cards

Now, for quite some time I’ve had these plain, black hanging cards for the earrings that I make. Not bad because they’re cheap and they serve their purpose but after establishing my brand they started to not look so nice. It also didn’t help that most of the earrings that I’ve made were far longer than the cards. (Chandelier earrings rule!)

I found many places that offered to make earring cards for you, customized and everything, but they charged a fortune! So like for so many things in my business I turned my computer on and got down to making them.

First of all, yes I do have Photoshop and Illustrator, but you don’t have to be a designer to put them together. You could even make them in Microsoft Word or another program. All you need is a business card template and the ability to think vertically. To make it even easier, you can use the pre-scored business card paper so that you wouldn’t have to worry about cutting anything straight.

Things to remember: Keep the information on there to a minimum. You want your lovely earrings to stand out and not get lost in all the background. Your company name/logo and website is plenty. If you’re bold enough, you could put a little more information on the back of the card such as a cute story or your motto. And remember to mark where you’ll be putting the holes for the earrings!

Here is how my cards turned out:

While they’re still not long enough for just a few of my earrings, I don’t have the problem of nearlly 3″ of dangle hanging off. I also get to make sure that they are the exact color that I need and I don’t have to commit to several hundred of them at one time.

Back to work!


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On A Shoestring – Product Tags

*On A Shoestring is going to be a series of articles that focus on branding and marketing yourself on a low, low budget. These are just ideas and things I’ve learned since I’ve started up my business. I started up with enough capital for my materials, but have learned some neat ways to skirt around the high costs of labels, custom business cards and such. I hope these articles help someone.*

Hang tags (product tags, what have you) are a quick way to not only brand your items, but give a little more information about the item as well. They can be as simple as a smaller copy of your business card or a two sided deal like mine. Mine are made with cardstock. I just print them from my computer and then cut them down to size.

There are a number of things to include on the information on the tags. First of all the name of your company/logo. (But we already knew that, didn’t we? ^_^) Secondly, your website address should be on there somewhere. If you don’t have a website for your business in this day and age, you’re doing yourself a disservice. There are many places that you can get a free website and many others that you can get an online store for a nominal fee. And please get a website address that people can remember!

After your company name and website the rest of the information that you want to include is up to you. This is an easy place to place your pricing.  If you’re making clothing  or other fabric items you may want to include type of fabric, care instructions, or even a funny little story. For bath items you could include useful information like possible allergic reactions. I’ve even seen one store recently who’ve made their hang tags into mini catalogs. I….. don’t think I’ll be doing that. ^_^

For inspiration take a trip to the mall and look at some of the major stores to see their tags.

If anyone would like a template for tags the size of mine (1  5/16″x 3  1/16″) just make a comment here and I’ll send it to you. The two templates would be for the front and back.


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