I am working as an independent knitwear designer full time for a year now. And like everything around this job, it seems there are no rules. It feels like I have to figure out almost everything by myself and nothing wrong with that. But some questions need answers and I hope to clear up things by sharing my thoughts with you. Because in the end I would like to sell my knitting patterns and you will be the ones buying them or not.
So today my question is: how do I put a price-tag on my pattern? How much should it be? What do customers expect and why?
Well, the longer I think about it the more I wonder where and when did selling independent knitting patterns start anyways? I mean, I can remember when I started to knit, all I had were magazines. Ten to twelve years ago. And at some point we all discovered Ravelry and a whole new universe oped up. Wow, I could spend my money on only the one pattern I really wanted. And I could search the library forever and always discover something new I liked. And to see the same pattern knit by so many other knitters makes it even more fun and interesting. And I guess, that’s when it happened for most of the designers: see the number of projects, see the pattern price and do the math: WOW!! some of these girls must become really rich! But after a year of hard work I can only assume that unfortunately, for most of the designers this isn’t true.
But back to the original question. The most logical thing to do as a beginning designer is to look at other designers and see what they ask for a pattern. They must know! So I did. And to some extend that works fine. But after a year of designing and selling patterns I have question marks. How is it possible, that people pay the same price for lets say a pattern for a hat (between 6-7 Euros), and a pattern for a sweater that does include calculations, knowledge of sizing and even maybe stranded knitting charts? The amount of work for publishing both patterns differs a lot and I do wonder if people realize that.
So here are some things I have to consider when pricing my patterns. First of all, I do run a business and therefor I do have to pay taxes. My business is based in the Netherlands and our tax rate is 21%. Next to that Paypal chargers me for every transaction that is made through my account and they take another 10%. So if I make a sale of 10 Euros, I got to keep around 7 Euros. This income then must cover my materials, the costs of running a business and my working hours. So let’s just hope, a lot of people will knit my stuff! Which brings me to my second thought: how many knitters are even skilled enough to knit my designs? Because this really is an important point. If I would design a very simple scarf which requires almost no experience of knitting, I am fishing in a much bigger sea. Almost every knitter could be a customer as long as they like my design. But since I design things that require a lot of technical skills, less knitters are even capable of knitting it which increases my amount of possible customers quite a lot. Which means I can’t hope for the same amount of sales and I would therefore have to raise the price.
And we haven’t even talked about schematics, creating charts, sizing and calculating knitwear. All these aspects in my opinion should have an influence on how much one could ask for a pattern. But I feel this is getting a very long post and I am also curious, if anyone even would like to know. I would very much appreciate comments since I can tell you my point of view, but in the end I would love to hear other opinions as well.