The most recent was from someone wanting 4 newborn soakers at a discount.
At first I was angry and insulted. I hand make these soakers with the same attention and care I give to items for my own family. I carefully hand wash and air dry each one separately, then pack and ship, all as quickly as possible. My prices are very, very low and I agonized over raising them by $2 when the price of the wool I use went up and I was making even less money. I tell customers they will receive their item within two weeks, but it is more often one week because I work quickly, putting aside my personal projects to get these soakers out the door. Once I have someone's money, I feel guilty until they have their item.
When I do the math on these soakers, I am "earning" probably about $2 per hour, and each newborn soaker takes probably about 4 hours all together. I don't know for sure because I'm just a stay-home mom trying to earn a little extra student loan money around my kids' schedules, so it's not like I sit down and make one soaker start-to-finish.
And therein lies my disappointment and sadness when someone asks me for a discount on this handmade, high-quality, long-wearing, extremely useful item. If you browse etsy, which I did when trying to set my prices, you'd see that I charge much less than most people, including those who make soakers and longies from recycled wool sweaters. I'm not saying those don't require work, but it is less work to cut up a sweater and seam it into pants than it is to hand knit those pants from scratch.
I offer a newborn soaker for $18. This is an item you would use literally every single day around the clock. Is that not worth $18? I might also add that I INCLUDE SHIPPING in my price! So after the cost of the wool (about $4 or $5), first-class shipping ($2), and etsy/paypal fees (about another $1), I am already down to $11 earned. Divide that by 4 hours, plus the driving to go get the wool, and I am making a pittance.
But I do it because that pittance is more than zero, and I can do it from the comfort of my sofa. And sometimes I have a really busy month where I can earn an extra $100 to send off to the student loan people. Hubs always says to keep that money for myself, but I like to feel I am contributing something to the family. It is a point of pride. Yes, sometimes I'll use a few dollars to order something I want or need, but more often than not, any money I earn goes toward a family need.
So I would love to make these 4 soakers. I would prefer to make them at full price. However, I feel fairly confident that when I write back to this potential customer and tell her that, she will not order. Am I cutting off my nose to spite my face? Should I go ahead and offer her a discount of a few dollars off each? Is it better to take, say, $60 for 4 soakers rather than $72 just to make some money? I'm really not sure. As etsy buyers and sellers, what do you all think?