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Slipshod

Advice on pricing a shirt

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Good morning fellow Chainmailers:)

 

I am about 90% finished with my latest shirt, and need a little help with pricing. I used 16 gage galvanized steel with a 5/16 ID. It hangs to the crotch area, has sleeves about 2/3 of the way to the elbow, and fits me. I am 5'6, 230 with a substantial pot belly lolol:) It will be trimmed in Brass, 3-4 rows, around the hem, sleeves and neck opening.

 

Any thoughts would be helpful:)

 

Also making a coif in 18g 1/4 ID bright aluminum. Don't plan on a mantle at this point but maybe a price with and without?

 

Thanks all, 'preciate any advice:)

 

 

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Pricing depends on maaaany factors.

Is it a reenactment hauberk, or just a shirt ? What quality is it ? Are you an experienced and well known craftsman, or just a beginner ? What is purchasing power of your potential clients ?

 

Some more data would be useful.

You can start by counting how many rings you have used, how long it takes you to connect 1 ring ? - you can count how many hours you`ve spent on making the shirt.

4 in 1 european is very simple, I wouldn`t pay myself too much for an hour of making 4 in 1 , unless I`d used some more sophisticated tricks, like crafting shirt with skilfully placed expansions/contactions, 45 degree seams, et caetera.

Remember to add time you`ve spent on preparing rings, or just the material cost. Add cost of your tools, if you`ve used up any (like saws). Your time measuring your client, cost of your business travels, and so on.

 

So,how much is it so far ?

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Pricing is a weird combination of maths and art. Remember that you are, or should be figuring this out as a business.

As such the biggest mistake any new business owner makes is to think "I AM the business." You are an employee of the 'entity' you are trying to build.

Basic business practices are to calculate your expenses first. For manufactured pieces this is pretty easy. The cost of materials (the cost of the rings and clasps and the shipping you paid TRL). There are less easily recognized cost such as equipment upkeep and maintenance. A pair of worn out pliers might for example be replaced at the expense of the company not it's employees. And finally regular and irregular bills like rent and utilities, or one-off promotional things like a banner for shows.

Another expense is the time it took to craft. As an employee you need to get paid. KEEP TRACK OF THE TIME that you spend on your pieces. My biggest problem is I lose track of time when doing chainmaille. I start and next I know its dark outside. There's all sorts of timer apps for smart phones and freeware on the computer.

After allll of that you figure out the profit or markup. This number is what goes to the company's banking account not yours (remember. You got paid above). This is the money your company actually made. It's what is used to grow the business and pay business expenses from.

Now whether or not you are starting a business you need to understand these principles in order to appropriately price your wares for your own sake and the sake of every other mailler.

I've seen very nice pieces on the web which were made by talented people and they couldn't be making any more than a couple dollars over materials cost. "Its just a hobby. I'm not in it for the money" that's well and good. But you're giving away free labor and you're damaging the market by doing so, making it more difficult for those who want to make a living.

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Thanks for the replies:)

 

I understand the ideas ya'll set forward, however the time I have and will put into the shirt is tough for me to

figure up. Its a lot of 5-10 min periods at my real job, and time watching tv and clipping/opening/closing links.

This is a hobby for me, so I really don't want to spend a lot of time figuring up profit margins and such.

 

As far as my skill level, I have been making stuff for about 20 or so years. Just getting back into making maile

after a 5 yr break:) In the past, the vast majority of my pieces have been sold from a table at a local LARP to help

pay LARP expenses, and gave it up after a divorce:)

 

My skill level is pretty high, I know what I am doing and I take a lot of care to insure a quality piece.

The rings in this shirt are butted using the knipex mini bolt bolt cutters, plan to start using Ringlord machine cut rings

in the future:)

 

Materials cost will end up at about $75 worth of Galvanized steel and about $15 in Brass, $40 for the pliers and I had to buy

a new pair of gloves for $10:)

 

I was hoping to get $300 for the shirt, but really don't know if thats reasonable, I see shirts for $100 on Ebay.

 

So the question i had maybe needs bit of rewording...

 

If you made a shirt as I described, what would you charge? Don't need exact figures, just a rough estimate so I don't hurt the market

or myself by either massivly over or undercharging.

Edited by Slipshod

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The consumables are $90. 75+15. Most crafters and makers will tell you to double your consumables which will covers things like your pliers wearing down or gloves. $180 is the tally now.

I couldn't even wager a guess as to how long you will spend on the piece. But if your remainder is anything less than minimum wage (at the VERY LEAST)... you're too low.

I personally charge my "company" $15 an hour. Customers get charged 20.

I have friends that want a shirt of mail but I flat out told them they can't afford me but I'd be happy to teach them for free.

But for the sake of numbers. If it took me say 20 hours to make I would charge 400 for the time and another 180 non-refundable deposit for materials.

That 100 dollar armor is either made by child labor, machine, or one of the multitudes of idiots who don't know how to charge for wares. Obviously you can see they're barely covering materials cost!!!

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I understand the ideas ya'll set forward, however the time I have and will put into the shirt is tough for me to

figure up. Its a lot of 5-10 min periods at my real job, and time watching tv and clipping/opening/closing links.

This is a hobby for me, so I really don't want to spend a lot of time figuring up profit margins and such.

 

 

That`s why I asked about time it takes connecting , let`s say one ring.

Do it like this - between 10 or 20 times do a specific amount of rings, like 10,20 etc. Measure time, write it down, take the average for 1 ring, multiply by number of total rings the shirt is made, add 10% for more time consuming actions.

And since you are an experienced craftsman and your design and rings connections are at least good, pay yourself a decent wage/hour.

And don`t forget to add time spent on making rings. And extras - time spent on buying material, setting up your workplace, prices reaserch, and so on. People often forget about that making chainmail is not only sitting and connecting rings.

 

Add material cost - 100% rings.

I`a add around 5% cost of pliers/gloves/misc, but I don`t know how fast you are using up your equipment ;>

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eBay is a poor comparison for price.

Most of the budget mail is from the middle east or other location with very cheap labor.

Renfairs, conventions and shows will give you a better idea on market value.

Most of us operate on a hobby level or focus on items with a bit more market like women's tops, jewelry or novelty items like dice and foot bags.

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Thanks for the input:) 

 

Based on what I have seen here, I think I am going to go with a starting try of $500 and see what happens, wish me luck! I'n in no hurry to sell it so perhaps the right buyer will meander along:):)

 

As far as the per-hour charge, I understand your point, however I would think it applies more to custom made items

and not so much when an item is made without a buyer waiting. if there are 2 very similar shirts for sale, the buyer

would have no interest in who spent the most time making it, they would just want the better price. (assuming all other factors are pretty much even:))

Lots of dynamics:)

 

One thing I am taking from this is a stopwatch app, I am suddenly curious how much time it takes me to make certain items:)

 

 

Thanks all and have a great day!:)

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You may also want to look at the trade forums, and facebook for some of the larp and other combat groups it should give you a idea on market.

armourarchive.org is fairly active fore SCA and rebated steel groups.

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