Thursday, February 9, 2012

Inside Scoop - The Dirt

Have you seen this gorgewah Skull Stud Maxi dress?  Looks great on the equally gorgewah model, Lara, right?

It is hand dyed, hand painted, has hand sewn ribbon detail & is an up-cycled vintage slip & is only $85.  Some of you think that's reasonable right?  Some of you are probably thinking 'only'.... that's expensive, right?  Well maybe reserve your opinion until you have read this.

It probably took me an hour & a half to find the slip, good quality vintage items are getting harder to find & are at the same time getting more expensive, especially as I like to find ones that have never been worn.  Some still have original tags attached & fewer even come in their original packaging.

Next is the design process.  Sometimes I may look at something & within 5 minutes have the design down & know exactly how I want it to look.  At other times, it may be something I mull over for months & that develops slowly with adjustments made along the way.  Ideas added, subtracted . For the sake of this exercise we'll say 1 hour.

Then there is the cost of the fabric dye, the fabric paints & the ribbon.  Doing the actual dying probably takes 40 minutes, the painting of the design onto the garment, 1 & a 1/2 hours & the hand sewing of the ribbon, another 2 hours. Ta daaaa, done right?  No not quite yet.

Next it has to be photographed, which for one look, if I push the photographer along, half an hour.  But before that there is the models hair & makeup, styling of the shot, setting up the shot.....oh I nearly forgot, deciding on the location which involves scouting a location &, travelling time,  but I'm not even going to try & attribute a time value to all that.

So the photo is in the bag, done right.  No no, don't be so anxious.  Next is the loading & listing of the item to the web store, a time consuming task.  There is the description, the details eg, size, oh, hang on, convert vintage size to modern size first, postage costs, wait, work out the weight of the parcel to be, what part of the world is it going to, how much it would be if posted with another item.  Now you can load the photos once you have re sized them of course.  Let's be generous & say that little process takes 20 minutes.

I also like to post new items to facebook as well but that doesn't take long right?  Probably not, if facebook is working smoothly & people don't have any questions that is.

So there it is our gorgeous Skull Stud maxi dress for $85.  Lets break it down, materials cost around $45.  What is the average wage these days? Around $33 per hour, minimum rate around $15.  Well let's say $20 per hour, that's fair right? In total that's nearly 7 hours which is $140.  Total $185 dollars.  Yes I've rounded  up the hours but I hadn't yet mentioned the fees involved in a sale, IE., paypal or bank fees & other associated costs like webpage & domain fees, transport costs, time in labelling & packaging etc & so on.

Most artists & crafters & makers of things by hand know that you never get paid for all the hours you put in, most other occupations do though.  But hey, we love what we do & nothing makes me happier than seeing people wearing my creations.

So keeping all this in mind & also armed with the knowledge that 'Shirley' garments are either limited edition or one offs, this is not mass produced off the rack here, I 'm thinking $85 for this dress is not reasonable, is not expensive, it is in fact inexpensive & the purchaser ends up with a  cool, unique garment that they won't run into someone else wearing.  XX



  1. Too right Shirl! You forgot to mention that wearing your textured tights gets you a better than average chance of having your legs stroked ;)

    1. Ha ha ha, so true Debbie,that's got to be priceless right? even I can't resist a feel. XX