Cost of Needlework Kits

On one of the groups I follow, there is often a conversation about the cost of our favorite hobby. Usually it goes something like this.

“I can’t believe she’s charging 16.00 for a chart! It’s just a bunch of pieces of paper!”

Repeat ad infinitum. I’ve explained this one many many times If you really want me to do it again, let me know in the comments, or by email and I’ll have another go at it. Note: final point there is that if you bought that chart in a shop, the designer gets to take home about $0.40 of that 16.00. FORTY CENTS!

But today there was a new twist. Kits. The person in question was complaining that the kit for the above beautiful Eva Rosenstad design cost $365.00 at ABC Stitch. The conversation went something like, “No kit is worth that!” “The threads better be real gold!” again, ad infinitum.

So let me offer this breakdown to you, as I did to the group in general.

OK. Let me do the math on the original post. (Which is pretty, by the way.) I’ll use standard retail costs for the U.S., NOT huge craft store or Walmart prices….

  1. 18 X 47″ of 20 count linen – That’s 1/2 a yard – @ 78.00 a yard, that’s $39.00.
  2. 20 count – given the detail, stitched over one. That’s about 338,400 stitches total. If it was all one color, on 22 count (I don’t have a calculator for 20 count, that’s about 52 skeins). It’s not all one color, so you can add at LEAST 10%, probably 20% to that. Let’s go with 20%, which may include the larger size fabric. So. 63 skeins. At the standard retail price of $.70 a skein (yes, I know you can get them cheaper… but Walmart sells them for almost wholesale price, and it’s more expensive in Europe.) There’s another $44.00.
  3. A chart this size is going to cost about $60.00 BY ITSELF because of printing costs. Remember that a HAED, which works to 15X20 on 25 count fabric runs about $20.00 for the ECHART when full price… and that’s about a third the size of this piece. So I’m not even figuring it at a printed price.

So. 1 + 2 +3 = 143.00 About. That’s just the basics. NOW:

  1. Add packaging – Probably another 5.00 in supplies at least, wholesale.
    Now we’re at 148.00
  2. Add tariffs and/or exchange rate for importing it to the US. (Books double in cost, probably so do charts…) Let’s just guess conservatively at $60.00 for tariffs and shipping.
    Now we’re at $208.00
  3. Add Paying Eva Rosenstad for the work of designing it… Let’s be generous and give her 3% of the cost of the kit so far. (yeah, right – note – it’s not usually that high – oh, and don’t forget, if the art was from an artist other than the designer, you’ve got to pay THAT person, too…) $6.00
    Subtotal – 214.00
  4. Add the cost of the labor to assemble the whole thing into an actual kit. 1/2 an hour? $3.50 in the US. but we’re in Europe and actually pay a living wage. So let’s say $7.00.
    Subtotal – 221.00
  5. NOW. Remember that ABC stitch needs to pay the mortgage and their employees, too. So mark it up again by 50% (’cause we used retail prices for the supplies, not wholesale.) $110.00

So: $221+$110=$331.00

WOW. That price seems to be pretty close to what they’re asking! Odd how that works out. And notice that the ARTIST in this example is only getting $6.00 of the entire $331.00. THIS is how the industry works. (And remember the sheer amount of fun time you’re going to get stitching this piece — it STILL works out to a LOT less per minute than a movie with popcorn, which here is now $10.00 per adult plus another $10.00 for a small popcorn and small soda… for 90 minutes – 2 hours of “fun”.)

So before you complain about the cost of kits, please remember all the people that that cost is supporting – the people who grow the flax and cotton, spin the threads, weave the fabric you love, design the chart, make the packaging materials, ship it to you or your favorite shop, pay the taxes, and remember that they all need to feed their families and pay their mortgages. And you know, this goes for quality clothing, and everything else you buy, too. If you REALLY value quality, you’ll save up for the ones you want.

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4 Responses to Cost of Needlework Kits

  1. That’s a really thought provoking post. Thank you! When you break it down like that (I’ve never seen any of your other posts sorry) it makes it seem much better value. I now resolve not to moan again…although I still wouldn’t be able to justify spending so much on a kit, I think my hubby would have kittens! I have been guilty of ‘how much???’ for chart prices. Thank you for making me think about it a bit deeper!

  2. I wouldnt spend that kind of money on any kit. I dont buy kits because thread shortage and not enough fabric is not unheard of.

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