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Making baby headbands

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I started making couture headbands for infants 0 to 12 months old and I have some questions..

* What is a good and portable sewing machine for small projects (under $100)?

* How should I "price" my items?

* What's an easy and free (or affordable) way to showcase my work and sell?

Here's where I'm at. I currently 100% hand sew all headbands and it takes me 4-6 hours to complete one. So needless to say, it is very time consuming! As for pricing my items, I've gone to local shops to compare prices, and they sell for around $5 to $10 but that's for your generic big-flower-headband.. The headbands I'm making are much more intricate and made with higher-end materials. I'm using satin fabric, lace, tulle, natural feathers, glass beads and Swarovski crystals. Some of the specialty online boutiques sell these for around $50 and up but my husband thinks those prices are much too expensive, especially since I don't have a following or current clientele. So I'm lost here.. Lastly, what are some easy ways to showcase and promote my work? I already started an online gallery that has a link posted on Facebook but that isn't really an ideal venue for selling..

Thanks for any suggestions. I'll be checking back, as I plan to purchase a sewing machine tomorrow..

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I started making couture headbands for infants 0 to 12 months old and I have some questions..

* What is a good and portable sewing machine for small projects (under $100)?

* How should I "price" my items?

* What's an easy and free (or affordable) way to showcase my work and sell?

Here's where I'm at. I currently 100% hand sew all headbands and it takes me 4-6 hours to complete one. So needless to say, it is very time consuming! As for pricing my items, I've gone to local shops to compare prices, and they sell for around $5 to $10 but that's for your generic big-flower-headband.. The headbands I'm making are much more intricate and made with higher-end materials. I'm using satin fabric, lace, tulle, natural feathers, glass beads and Swarovski crystals. Some of the specialty online boutiques sell these for around $50 and up but my husband thinks those prices are much too expensive, especially since I don't have a following or current clientele. So I'm lost here.. Lastly, what are some easy ways to showcase and promote my work? I already started an online gallery that has a link posted on Facebook but that isn't really an ideal venue for selling..

Thanks for any suggestions. I'll be checking back, as I plan to purchase a sewing machine tomorrow..

Considering that your pieces are handmade, and not mass-manufactured, and nicer than the others, it's fair to charge a higher price. Obviously you'll need to consider how much it costs you to make the headbands, in terms of materials, labor/time, and overhead. But you also need to consider what people are willing/able to pay for them--if the cost of making them exceeds what you can sell them for, you might want to try a different product line. The people in the shop next door to where I work sell high-end young children's clothing. I've had friends go shopping there and decide that it was too expensive for them. But their business is thriving nonetheless, so even if not everybody can afford what you're selling, you don't necessarily have to give up! There might be a niche for you.

I'm not an expert on marketing, but one thing you might consider is giving a few (not too many!) away to friends who have infants. That way you'll have children modeling your wares for you, so you have the extra "cuteness factor," and the parents telling people where they got it. ;) Word-of-mouth can be effective, but you'll still want to pony up and buy some advertising. Or donate to charitable causes that will advertise your business in return. And do the footwork--physically go around, introduce yourself to people, and show them what you do. And above all, GOOD CUSTOMER SERVICE! Be nice to people. Seems like a no-brainer, but my business competitor seems to keep forgetting it, and we get their ex-customers! :lol:

BTW, the Facebook gallery is a good idea. More and more, people are going online to shop. The folks next door (the ones with children's clothing) have found that they get MORE business online than walk-ins, and as a result are reducing the hours they're open and focusing more on Internet sales. They still maintain a storefront, but are changing the workflow. Where I work is more established and we get more walk-ins than they do, and even more phone orders.

Good luck! I know running your own business is tons of work, and I wish you the best. :)

Edited by HEthePrimate

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I don't know about the sewing machine and such, but to get the word out, try craig's list. But better than that is checking out elementary schools. (in the fall) They often have craft fairs as fundraisers. Also find someone that makes other crafts like soaps or candles or whatever (so long as it doesn't compete with your stuff) and do a little house party craft fair. Invite everyone and tell them to bring a friend. Have a drawing on light refeshments. (supplied by all that are selling.) (Sorta like a tupperware party, only better.)

Also make a couple as gifts and give to pregnant friends that might have other friends that are pregnant. They will spread the word for you.

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Thank you for the ideas.

HEP you make some good points. I may need to reevaluate the cost spent on making these.. I hate to give up some of the nicer materials but if I'm spending more on making them versus what I'm able to sell them for - that's no good for me. It's mostly the ornaments that are costly, as the fabrics are easier to come by, especially if you know where to go to get them :]

Jennarator, I like the hosting a party idea. I do have friends with young children that could participate and spread the word. I guess I've been overthinking this whole process because I hadn't really thought of any of the ideas that you suggested for promoting my stuff. Oh, and yes, I am a member on Etsy :] My account is inactive right now, there's a fee for artists, but I'll eventually get it back up and running.

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Introduce them via the Internet. Also, go to some of the boutiques where you live, show them some samples, ask them if they are interested in selling them, and at what price point they would be interested in buying them for. Remember, the boutique will have a markup from the manufacturer's selling point. They may sell them for $50, or $25, but will only pay 1/3-1/2 to the manufacturer for the item. So, if you sell it to them for $10, they could sell it for $25. Now the cheaper ones that sell for $5 are actually sold to the store for maybe 1-2 dollars, so from that you can determine your price range and requirements.

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