I see right now that a picture of the underwear that I make is going viral on Tumblr, which is great but this always brings up an onslaught of response to the cost of them, so let me explain why they cost what they do.
The cotton lycra that I use is really great quality and it costs $10 a yard, some of the animal panties have 2-4 different colors needed. I probably use a 1/4 yard total and probably 1/3 yard for the larger sizes. The fabric needs washing before I use it, then ironing. I need to cut out the basic pattern ( which took a good day to perfect and grade) then I cut out the animal face details ( with scissors ) I need to stabilize the 2 fabrics together, this is some fancy stabilizer and does not come cheap it is also v fiddilly and time consuming to do. I then need to stabilize the back. Then I sew on the face details, I use a regular machine for this but this part requires several different thread changes. After sewing on the face shapes and adding face details like whiskers etc, I cut all loose threads away and wash off the stabilizers, by hand and then let the piece dry. It need ironing again. I then sew the underwear together including the ears on a sewing machine called a serger, I also sew in the elastic at this point. If the elastic is another color other than white or black I have dyed it by hand. Once the panties are sewn together with the elastic, they then get another top zig zag stitch with my regular sewing machine.
How long do you think this all takes? How much do you think fabric, thread, elastic, dye, fabric detergent, stabilizer cost? Let alone my electricity bill, studio rent, sewing machine maintainence, rotary blades, paper, internet cost etc. I’m probably missing a whole bunch of things here but it all counts.
On top of this etsy takes a fee, paypal or the credit card co take a fee, there are listing fees that all need to be taken into account.
Etsy is my full time job, it is how I pay my mortgage. I try to price my items at the best possible price I can, I really do, which enables both affordability and make myself an hourly wage, which I dont think is unreasonable and I hope you wouldn’t too.
I hope this clarifies a few details for some folk, thank you for reading :)
ETA: sorry for appalling spelling, grammar etc… I wrote this quickly and have only now read through it.
I did forget to include in my costs, the photoshoots - I take the photographs with a borrowed camera and I do all the editing. I do pay my awesome model, Heidi her going rate, because she too should be payed.
If you care about lingerie, fashion, ethical manufacturing, or living wages, you should read this post.
And even if you don’t care about any of that, but you’re wondering why everything can’t be as cheap as it as at Target, you should read this.