Beating the pavement
Tuesday I had an appointment to show some yarn.  My sister-in-law found a newly opened coffee shop, in Brooklyn, which has a fiber-theme, as well as trying to establish itself as a community space (yoga, folk-singing, knitting circle, etc).

Monday I balled a lot of yarn. Tues. I put a lot of yarn, and trio of scarves, in a bag, and hauled myself to Brooklyn.  It went about as I expected.  The problem, of course, is markup. 

I sell my labor cheap. After some time spent trying to keep track of everything, and fairly price each skein I said screw it, and averaged it out, so that I'm charging $35 per 4 oz. parcel of 2-ply.

That's for the run of the mill stuff, ranging from $2-5 per oz. of fiber . Even at that, lots of folks balk.  I'm aiming at twice the materials cost ( (looking at it, I probably ought to kick it up to $40).  It's not thoughtless. If I have a really pricey fiber (say 50/50 camel silk, at $13 per oz.) the price goes up. If I'm making three-ply, or cables, the price goes up (I'm only willing to undersell my labor so much), etc.

So, I sell some; not a huge amount, but enough to break even (more or less, in theory, over time, I'll make a profit, but I'm still buying fiber, so the inflow/outflow is an issue. If I were in a storefront, or trying to make a living at this, I'd have to change a few things; both in how I work, and how I price*).

Which means when someone wants to resell my yarn, they have to up the price some, which means the coffee shop can't really afford to buy from me. They also don't have quite the space for consignment**.  So she bought a few things, and asked me to work up a proposal for a spinning class.

She also told me of a shop nearby which she thought might be interested in scarves (there was no way, and I knew it going in, she was going to be able to afford buying scarves from me.  My mark-up on that moves it out of her reach.  A cheap scarf, which I've spun, warped-up, woven, and finished, needs to be at least $60, if I use inexpensive fibers).

So so schlepped my bag of wares another mile across Brooklyn, and had a pleasant chat with folks who immediately told me they'd love to, if the part of Brooklyn we were in were Park Slope.  But the 125 percent markup she needed, put even the lowest price I can comfortably ask out of the spending habits of her clientele.

But... she did tell me of a place in uppper Mid-Town which sells scarves, etc. in the $180-250 range. So I'll go take a look, and then see about warping up some samples of the sorts of thing they sell (or I'll realise it's not a market I'm suited for,  and now waste their time, nor mine).

So, it was, counting travel, ten hours spent not quite making a market for my stuff.



*I have those luxuries. My overhead is low... I have no storefront, nor any extra costs for workspace. I could, were I a jerk, ignore labor altogether, and price it as straight fiber, but that completely undersells the market, and depresses the real price people who don't have the same non-costs I do can charge.

** Which has it's own pitfalls. It takes up some of the seller's shelf space, and ties up some of my stock. If I wanted to hit a craft fair... I'd either have to collect stuff from Brooklyn, or forego the chance to sell in a market I'm likely to have more success in.

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