The method I use to price my doll dresses…

For years I struggled with knowing how much to price my things when I sold them at craft fairs and then eventually on Ebay. It seems like I read every article I could get my hands on about pricing… and there were all kinds of formulas out there; like add up the cost of what it takes to make your product and then take that price times 4, or supplies + your time = Item Cost, or just figure out how much you want to make an hour and go by how many hours it takes you to make it and charge that price. There are lots of ways of doing it. You have to be careful that you don’t underprice or overprice or you’ll either lose money or lose customers…

Many years ago I came up with an easy way to price my doll clothing so that it was fair to my customers and to me. I call this the Add On Method and it’s a sheet of paper with every step involved in the sewing process… just about every conceivable step is listed and if it’s included in the construction of the dress set, it’s added…

It’s based on sewing for $10.00/hr and I haven’t changed it for years…Sometimes I do have rip outs and do-overs and it sets me back a bit, but all in all I’m very pleased with how it works for me.

If you click on the picture it will enlarge somewhat.

CIMG1446

So I just start by adding in my fabric and notions cost, then go down the list and add things up… If it has gathered sleeves, add it, if there is a belt, add it, a lined bodice, add it, a slip, add it, a straw hat, add it… and so on… I do add on $15 for doing my listings on Ebay. It takes me over an hour generally for each one.

It’s pretty simple and helps me stay consistent in my pricing…

For an example, I used it for Patsy’s blue dress and it came up $64.50… so I just rounded it up to $65.00. (Well, if you watched Patsy’s auction end last night, CLEARLY I missed the mark on this one!)

That’s it… a simple post, but something for you to know about how I do things…

See you tomorrow,
Blessings, Jeanne

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Comments

  1. Hi Jeaneane,

    I believe how you price your items is very fairly done. I understand and know from first hand experience that a quality item with details does take time. Your experience and gifts are an added bonus for anyone who gets to purchase one of your ensembles. Keep up the great work. Your work is amazing.

    Take care.

    • Jeanne W says:

      HI Becky,
      Thanks so much for your comments… It seemed a bit risky to share this at first, but now that I’ve seen a few comments, I’m feeling better about it. Thanks for your compliments on my work… I hope my workmanship equals my prices…
      Blessings,Jeanne

  2. How you price is excellent, but the buyers in my area are not after quality. They just want a dress that looks cute and so if I just do a simple though nice looking dress and slap $10 to 15 on it, I might get a sale. But try to sell it for what I put into it has not gone over too good. If I had to depend on this for a living I wouldn’t need a diet because I couldn’t afford to eat!. lol. But I can dream.

    • Jeanne W says:

      HI April,
      Quality is one thing that caused me to leave Ruthie’s when I was making the ladies dresses. Ruthie told me “ladies aren’t looking for quality, they just see something that appeals to them and they want it. They don’t care how it’s made…” That’s just not how I work… I want quality first and foremost! But I do think if they see a higher price, they may think it’s made better. My sister challenged me to put a higher price on things and see what happened… it did work… so you might give it a try and just see…but I know about selling things for less too… been there, done that!
      Thanks April,
      Blessings, Jeanne

  3. Karen D says:

    I really like your price chart. I don’t have any type of calculation I use, so I think it is helpful to see how you price. Sewing in miniature takes a lot of skill that non-sewers appreciate, but often don’t understand all the complexity that goes into a very detailed outfit. One line item I don’t see that I know you do — original design drafting. That really takes a lot of time to get a drafted design just right. I’d like to copy your price chart, if that’s okay, just to see what price I come up with on my next project.

    • Jeanne W says:

      HI Karen,
      Yes, you may use my price chart and see what happens when your next dress is priced… I think it takes almost more time to do a smaller project than a larger one… it’s much easier to sew AG things than it is for Ten Ping… The sleeves in an AG dress can be the size of the whole dress for Ten Ping…
      I hope you like using it…
      Blessings, Jeanne

  4. Shara Smith says:

    Jeanne:
    Very interesting breakdown of costs. I do a lot of smocked heirloom type dresses with embroidered rose and other details.. I may have 5-6 hours in a dress before I sit down at the machine to sew. I think your formula will be very helpful in determining my asking price.
    Thanks so much:)

    • Jeanne W says:

      Hi Shara,
      I don’t have smocking on my list… guess I need to do a little revising again… I hope this helps you…
      Blessings, Jeanne

  5. Well, I do look at dolly clothes all the time. There is a lot of competition. I did a quick run through of things I like although probably can’t afford.
    LD Sweater, knit hat, pleated skirt patriotic theme. 39.95 2.60s/h
    LD smocked dress & hat 60.00 free shipping
    LD adorable knit sweater, hat with embroidery and romper 75.00 3.00s/h
    Smocked dress, knit sweater 89.00 2.95 s/h
    No bids yet on the above
    LD smocked and heavily embroidered outfit with hat bidding at 192.50 6.95s/h
    I’ve bought a few simple well made not fancy things for the 10ers recently for 12.00free shipping. The outfit was a short romper with hat. Have no idea how any money can be made.
    Your pricing seems very fair, but seeing so many listings without bids may mean this is a slump time? Just a thought. Your outfits are always so cute and nicely made.

    • Jeanne W says:

      Hi Joy,
      It might not nessicarily be a slump time but people are out in their yards and planting gardens and they are not on their computers as often as normal. I’ve been following this trend for years. By the time you take off fees and shipping costs there is very little profit when it’s all said and done.
      Thank you Joy, blessings, Jeanne

  6. Shara Smith says:

    I don’t think there is a slump .. Rather so much competition for doll clithing dollars.
    Sewists that get the high prices have earned them by a reputation for quality. Many times, bidders will wait until the end to get the item for opening bid price or only bid on something that is very low pricing.. Those people are not my target market.
    I list my items for what I think is fair… If it doesn’t sell, there may be other considerations .. Wrong season, color palette, style, etc. I know when I ship an auction win that my customer is going to be thrilled, and that’s a lot of the reward for me:)

    • Jeanne W says:

      Hi Shara,
      I love the thrill of sending something to a new customer and wondering what they think when they first see my outfit in the box…I enjoy sewing and just realize not everything will be a “winner” with a knockout price…
      Thanks Shara,
      Blessings, Jeanne

  7. I think your pricing is more than fair. IN fact I was upset that I missed the auction last night, just been so busy.. I have bought other clothes and although they were okay and great for my granddaughters to play with, they are not at all in the same class as yours. I love them!!! The prices are well worth it!!!

  8. Marilyn says:

    Jeanne, since you are so well organized already, can you go back as far as three years and look at sales for each month, and perhaps determine the slump months. That might be interesting and possibly useful.

    There are other circumstances that matter too — Nyssa doesn’t do especially well because there are fewer Nyssa owners buying, and the same may be true for Trixie. Also, Wiggs dolls tend to attract fantasy clothes, and your interest tends to be more historical. By the way, on the Trixie auction, was it listed so that it would come up under Patsy as well? Or are they different sizes? There are lots of Patsys but not, I think, so many Trixies, and this was your first Trixie auction, so you don’t yet have a name in that market. We all agreed that the outfit was a complete winner.

    Your pricing means that your outfits are among the more expensive in the AG market, but more mid-range in the Effner market, so you may do better in the Effner market. Also, your Effner outfits suit the Effner style, which I see as sweet and old-fashioned but not really period.

    I’m guessing that the adult AG collector who wants to display her dolls probably wants to display them in more formal period outfits, which may be why Felicity and Addy dresses often do very well. It might be interesting to try a more formal outfit for Josefina — something more suited to a reception at the Governor’s Palace than the ranch, and definitely to try one of the catalog dresses for Samantha, as you’ve already mentioned.

    But I’d really hate to see you do only best sellers — I think one of the things we all love about you and your work is that you makes clothes for a wide range of dolls, which means some will be for the ones we have. I wouldn’t like to see that end.

    • Jeanne W says:

      Hi Marilyn,
      Well you certainly give me plenty to think about…I can sum up how I can feel rather simply…while I was disappointed that Patsy’s dress didn’t sell…it won’t deter me from still making doll dresses and selling them. In fact I’ve already picked out what’s next…
      Thank you for all your wonderful comments Marilyn,
      Blessings, Jeanne

  9. Linda Doyle says:

    Jeanne, I’m not sure what to write about this blog, since I don’t sell doll clothes I only buy things that I can afford, and if it is out of my price range, so be it! Just not in the cards for me, but I do understand you have to have some sort of “blueprint” to go by, to keep things consistently fair and to make money at the same time. You certainly have to know what your clientele want and how much they are willing to pay for your services. Having this blog helps with that, I think, and the fact you follow other blogs and doll websites, gives you a good idea of what you should be giving as a fair price and what others are looking for and what they like.

    OK, now I am going to stop, because I am rattling off on things that I know nothing about, or what I can help you with!! And by the way, no boot anymore, just an ankle brace!!!

    • Jeanne W says:

      Hi Linda.
      I just like to make pretty little doll dresses and if they go for a higher than normal price that’s good…and if not, I just move onto the next dress.
      I do make slips, pantalettes, gloves so everyone can have “something” if they want…
      Thank you Linda, good news about the foot!
      Blessings, Jeanne

  10. That is too bad about Trixie’s dress not selling, maybe the fact you had to re-list it contributed to it. Very interesting method of figuring out pricing and I think more than fair. I think there is a slump going on right now and I know that certain old PC sets are selling for less than usual. I had to wait a loooong time for Felicity’s Plantation Play to be affordable for me. I follow one sewer who has had many non sales lately.I like to see what you sew for Felicity, early 1900’s and Addy ( Civil War) best, but custom dolly clothes aren’t in my budget, I’m not currently buying from AG because of quality and price issues, vacation or other home things are more important. I agree that your AG clothes is more expensive than some, but I also think you add more to each outfit.
    Well, today is my birthday 🙂 and the sun is shining, hope it is for you, too.

    • Jeanne W says:

      Well first of all Happy Birthday Laura!!!
      I hope you have a wonderful day!!!
      Thanks for your comments Laura. Its interesting yo are e eryonrs take on this.
      I started out my first year averaging $27 for my doll outfits…mostly Felicity’s and now things are better… but I will always remember my start…
      Thank you Laura.
      Blessings, Jeanne

  11. Marilyn says:

    My grade sheets for my research paper students were sort of the research paper version of your list. I had 14 categories I graded for each paper. Students could see why they got what they got. No one ever protested. In your case, you can see exactly why you listed a particular beginning price. It was just funny to see us thinking alike on very different things.

  12. Charlotte Trayer says:

    I was interested to see how you work out charges for your garments. I hadn’t really though about that–I was more familiar with the formulas you were citing earlier, where you times this by that and add something else, etc. Your way makes a lot more sense!

    Back in the late 1990s, I worked in a doll store (no longer there), and the owner let me sell American Girl-size clothes I’d made, and asked for no commission, which was very generous of her. Of course, I wasn’t exactly churning them out, either–maybe only 2 or 3 a month. My garments were always more expensive than the foreign-made cookie-cutter dresses she also carried, and I actually had one or two ladies who watched for things I had made. One lady told me, she looked for my things because they were so well made. That was very nice to hear!!

    In those days, I usually charged around $25-30 for a doll dress, unless it was exceptionally fancy, or made of pricier fabric, or had more than just a dress to it (added jacket, for instance). I do remember hearing one lady, holding up one of my dresses, comment, “Thirty dollars for a dress for a Doll?!” and (without identifying myself as the maker) I reminded her there were as many seams in a doll dress as in one for herself, and the doll dress was much smaller, thus making construction a little more difficult.

    I still enjoy sewing for my dolls, although at the moment I am doing more for my Little Darlings than the others. However, I’ve sewn for everything from my 5″ Hitty (Robert Raikes/American Kits) to my 23″ My Twinn. (And anyone who thinks our dolls will wear anything, doesn’t know my Molly!! LOL I made her a lavender dress when I first got her, and she allowed me to try it on her and that was IT! She informed me that HER favorite color was red!!)

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