How much do you charge for your handmade products and WHY?

This morning somebody in my network shared a fantastic video with me about Pricing Your Products by a leading global art expert. I enjoyed the video very much and she had many useful tips for growing your art career. Click through to the link below to watch it for yourself...

http://theworkingartist.com/infoa



Her video left me thinking..."There is SO MUCH more to it!"

The conversation is too linear in my mind. The question we are typically asking is "How much do I sell this for?"

At the end of the month when we struggle to make ends meet, the ACTUAL question is "How many of these have I sold and at what profit margin to pay my rent, food, overheads and costs, school fees, medical aid, pension, insurances, holidays and savings?"

The linear question simply does not address the complex, organic realities of month end.

Until we wrap our cost of living into the sum, the numbers are practically meaningless. If we cannot cover our personal cost of living from selling our art, no matter what the price we charge, we have real challenges. Artists who work for less than they need to survive financially, spend their lives on the outside looking in at the financially active community. After a lifetime of that, they are bound to be embittered about their art when they are eating cat food from a tin in their old age?

One school of thought will say "They were irresponsible and should have got a real job like the rest of us." Others will say "Artists work for LOVE not money!"

And the Struggling Artist struggles on...

We must sweep aside perceptions and social pressure and act selfishly in our own best interests to educate and stand on our value. Artists are smart. We have every right to the same financial freedoms as everybody else. If you are a freelancer, the only person who can take that freedom is YOU. You cannot afford to wait for permission to sort your shit out if you do not want the coming month end to hit you like a train smash.

And it is complex...

Until we wrap the market into the sum the numbers are also meaningless. If we cannot find enough people out there to buy at our price, we have real challenges.

By asking..."How many of these do I have to sell and at what price to pay my rent, food, overheads and costs, school fees, medical aid, pension, insurances and savings?"

...we have a more realistic view of what we are facing.
...it informs timelines.
...it informs sales strategies.
...it helps you to decide what is worth pursuing and what work you should abandon completely.

My Costing & Pricing online course connects these numbers for you in a meaningful way. It is written in plain English and the concepts are simple to master, even if you are not good at numbers.

The course powerfully shifts your awareness about the numbers so that you begin to have the confidence to charge what you need to to survive and the wisdom to ignore the constant peer pressure for cheaper pricing.

When you invest in the course you are investing in your own financial future. As soon as you implement what you have learned you will begin to make more money.

If you sign up for only one course this year, it should be this one.

Click through to the link below to read more about it and sign up...

https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/Y6Q6G6P


For BEST Results...

For the best result using our house brand of Slipstream fabric dye...


Our Box kits are pre-packed with the chemicals in the right quantities so you do not have to worry too much about that if you are a beginner. If you are working with Bulk Dye you are likely sourcing your own salt and soda ash. The ratio is constant and can be used for all of the colours.

Dye  :  Salt  :  Soda Ash

1     :    4    :     1

The product works best in suspension. This means that you are working with liquids. If you want something sticky to paint on to fabric that is an opaque block-out, you need to find a fabric paint. Fabric dye is a wet mixture, often applied in a pot.

If the dye does not reach 65-70 degrees ON THE FABRIC for long enough, you will get variable results. We recommend an hour of heat if possible for best results. Flash heating in the microwave oven also works well. For more information about these techniques, refer to one of our eBooks or order the Dyecraft video.

For maximum wash fastness, leave the colour on the fabric for 24 hours before washing off the excess chemicals. If you do not want the colour to fade, give it a chance to bind properly with the cloth.

Click through to the link below to order your dye and videos...

https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/CMCPL8F http://


Expanding Our Range

For some time now you guys have been asking for more options in the pre-packed Box kits. We heard you and have launched a bunch of new colourways to suit every taste.

We had a great time playing the name game on Facebook and I must say a big THANK YOU to all of you who added your ideas to the list. Thank you for helping us to name the new kits. We could not have done it without your input. Every time you order a kit with a name on that you suggested, know that your energy has become a part of our packaging forever.

Here are all the different colourways that you can now choose from when ordering  Slipstream fabric dye...



Click through to the link below to order your Box kits, with a colourway for every taste...

https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/CMCPL8F http://


Kids Birthday Party Kits

Are you looking for a way to entertain a group of children?

Whether you are a school teacher, a Mom, a kids craft teacher or a kids entertainer, our kits are the perfect tool for keeping your group busy with some super fun craft activity. Click through to the link below to see how the whole thing works...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tVnTNglk3DU//



Click through to the link below to order your Kids Birthday Party kit. We have kits for 30 T-shirts and 50 T-shirts. The kit includes an detailed information about techniques and patterns, with the YouTube video as back-up for those of you who prefer to learn from video.

https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/DZS8K6G




Cotton Knit Dresses

Many of you have commented on the cotton knit dresses that I wear when I teach. I buy them ready-made in cream from Rheola's in Harrismith. Rheola runs a Skills Development Center called Tsa Lapeng, where she teaches rural women handcrafting skills that they can use to be self-reliant. They manufacture quality knitwear made from natural fibers, sourced locally. They specialize in 100% cotton and cotton/bamboo blends. They make jerseys, dresses, shawls and beanies. The shawls are by far my favorite and I always have one draped around my shoulders in chilly weather.



Contact Rheola directly for pricing on 058 623 1521 or 083 334 2724, or click through to her Facebook page below to see more of their products.

https://www.facebook.com/rheolas/

I have taught there a few times and I always enjoy it very much. Here is the color chart that the ladies at the center created after one of their training sessions...



If you would like to learn how to create your own color chart of recipes like the one in the image above, sign up for the online course today and work in your own home in your own time to make this useful reference tool for manufacturers.

https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/JJQHZQM


I stumbled on this old video today...

In 2011 we did a make-and-take stand at Hobby-X. We invited people into the space to come and make two T-shirts. One they could keep, the other they left behind as a donation for needy kids in orphanages. We collected hundreds of T-shirts this way over three days. Here is the video so you can see the action in the stand...



Our drive to benefit needy kids with rainbow T-shirts continues, and I would love to see the idea spread virtually around the world. Click through to the link below to become a member of the online community that drives it...



My Favorite Publications

I have two Fiber Art publications that I love the most. They always inspire me and their information is interesting, educational and from trusted sources. If you want to learn about natural dyes, community development projects and who is making waves in the industry, click through to...

http://www.handeyemagazine.com/

http://www.maiwa.com


Q&A And Free Resources

Many of you who are new are just busting with questions. While we try our best to answer them here with my eBooks, many of you want free resources that you can refer to to answer your specific technical questions.

Paula Burch has done just this on her incredible website. It is a mine of information and she has taken the time to answer every conceivable question about dye in detail for you.

http://www.pburch.net/dyeing.shtml

If you are looking for my specific answers from my specific experiences, I share them in my eBooks...



Click through to the link below to take advantage of special offers on the eBooks and to view the whole list of choices...

https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/GPV92QV


The Dress That Caused All The Hullabaloo

My network sends me links and images to interesting things that I might like on Facebook. This week I was sent an image more than ten times by different people. The dress is certainly breathtaking and it captured the imagination of the world, sweeping across the social networks like a wave.

Here is the link to the entire article of how it was made...

http://www.taylorannart.com/wedding-dress/4592685095

There was a great deal of speculation about how it was made among those who saw only the image and not the whole blog. When you read the blog Taylor Ann tells you that she airbrushed it. And it has spurned an uprising Dip Dye trend on all the social networks...

http://www.mymodernmet.com/profiles/blogs/dip-dye-wedding-dresses

There were also a great number of people who spoke about trying to copy it or trying to order a copy from somebody else. Once again illustrating how incomplete the general understanding is about Copyright.


If you were in the shoes of the Maker, how would YOU feel to hear these conversations?

This is a great way of figuring out whether you are doing something ethical or unethical when using another work for inspiration. Put yourself in the shoes of the person who made the original work. Ask yourself, "How would I feel if I made this creative work and saw somebody else copying it in this way?

And then, there is the compelling conversation on the other side of the wheel, presented by one of my FAVOURITE Fiber Artists, Katwise...

http://www.katwise.net/blog/?p=1488


What Does It Cost To Hire Top Talent In Fiber Art?

This is the question that Abby Franquemont answers in concise detail in this fantastic blog. Click through to the link and have a read if you would like to know what the industry unit standard is currently.

https://medium.com/@abbysyarns/what-does-it-cost-to-hire-top-talent-in-fiber-arts-im-glad-you-asked-6f2b25c12cb4#.edwyy9lfc

I was quite delighted when I found this article. In today's difficult financial times, I am bombarded with people who say "Your workshops are too expensive for me."

This article explains the REAL costs to teachers and venues of running workshops for people.

As a Fiber Artist who has worked extensively for the local Fashion Industry and who has published two books with editions in South Africa, USA, Canada and Russia, I still often get requests from people who ask for workshops and then ask "Do I have to pay?"

As a professional who has made a living in Fiber Arts for more than twenty years, I deserve to charge for my time and expertise just as any other professional does.

The common perception, when we dig deeper, seems to be that Creatives work for Love, not money, and that that should be good enough for us. It is very difficult to continue loving something, when pursuing it excludes you financially from so many things that "other people" seem to be doing with their financial resources like pay rent, food, medical, education, savings and a pension.

If you spend a lifetime on the outside looking in at that while you doggedly persist with the work that you thought you loved in the beginning, you do not love that work in the end. You might go to your grave with bitterness for the very thing that you Loved because you feel that you wasted years chasing a dream that was not real.

Creatives must be respected financially in the same way that any other professional at the top of their game is.



Redyeing Your Faded Denims

This week we have had a deluge of inquiries from people who want to have their old second hand things restored with dye by a professional. THIS IS NOT A SERVICE THAT WE OFFER. If you read the website you will see that we supply CRAFT DYE KITS for home use.

We do not dye second hand garments, carpets, couch covers, car seat covers or wet-suits for anybody, ever. Not even if you beg us.

You can try Paul at XClusiv Colors 4U on 0792537526. Please contact him directly. He is in NO WAY affiliated with our company. We are simply providing you with a number that you can try.

If you are a Fashion Designer looking for custom printed cloth, you can try Imaterial

https://web.facebook.com/www.imaterial.co.za/

If you are interested in our entire list of suppliers for fabrics, CMT (cut make & trim), screen printers and other useful textile suppliers in Gauteng, order the eBook today at...

https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/GPV92QV



Manmade vs Natural Dye

Almost every week I get an inquirey from somebody looking for a natural dye that they can use to manufacture a more environmentally friendly product. The issue may not be quite as simple as that. Let us compare the two to figure out the real story.

Chemicals are mined from the earth and synthesized into man made dyestuffs. Natural dyes are made from natural materials, gathered from the environment, such as lichen and bark.

Ten grams of man made dye powder can dye 250 grams of fabric to a vibrant shade, every time, if used correctly. Natural dyestuffs will have variable shades. Vibrancy depends on the potency of the raw materials. As much as two kilograms of raw material is needed to produce very dark colours on 250 grams of fabric.

Man made dyes result in the same colour every time if used correctly. It is possible to get an exact colour match using these chemicals. Natural dyes will give you varying colours, every time. Colour changes with the potency of the raw materials. This is governed by climate, soil and plant dna.

Heavy metals in certain man made colours, fixatives and other chemicals used in the process put a burden on the environment and the health of the people working with them daily. Mordants used to fix natural dyes will have exactly the same effect if you create enough waste and do not dispose of it in a responsible fashion.

Man made dyes are robust and colour fast over many washes of they have been used correctly. Natural dyes will fade over time.

People often assume that if they can find a natural dye, they are free of the guilt that they might feel about polluting the environment with their commerce. The truth is, no human activity is without its footprint.

In fact, the dye is only part of the problem. What about the fabric that you are about to dye? Was it produced with organically grown cotton that has not been genetically modified? Were the workers on the farm treated fairly or were they children? Was water used responsibly throughout all stages? Was the fibre scoured with chlorine in the mill? Chlorine is one of the most damaging chemicals out there.

The answer seems not to lie in the chemicals, but rather how to dispose of them in a responsible manner. We cannot escape our responsibility, but the least we can do is minimize the damage. If you would like to explore the thinking further, you might be interested in our eBook...


With so many things to consider, finding a natural dyestuff is not the quick-fix you might be hoping for.

For more information about natural dyes click through to the links below...

http://www.maiwa.com  

http://botanicalcolors.com/  

http://www.handeyemagazine.com/

 

How Does Slipstream Dye For Animal Fibers Work?

While the product comes with full instructions, one of our loyal customers, Ronel Stronkhorst from Women With Curves, has published a blog about her process of dyeing a bra orange. She documented it so beautifully that we feel her explanation is far better than ours.

Click through to the link below to read what she has to say...

http://www.womenwithcurves.co.za/just-little-bit-orange/




What Do I Do If I Spill Bleach On My Trousers?

As a dye specialist, this is the most common question that I am asked by people. I do not have a simple answer for this challenge.

Dye is translucent, not opaque. This means that the light actually passes through the colour and reflects off the white fabric behind it. Dye is see-through. When working with it, imagine working with sheets of coloured transparency film with light shining from behind.

It is this quality that leads to such vibrant results when experimenting with dyed techniques. It means that the base cloth can be seen through subsequent layers of dye. If the base is uneven, the next layer will also appear uneven. 

It is very difficult to cover bleach marks. You will have to completely saturate the fibre to get rid of the mark. The lighter marks may reappear later in subsequent washes as the fabric fades again. Those particular fibres will always have less dye on them than those that were not bleached. 

Bleach is very destructive, and if you did not wash it out thoroughly just after the spill happened, it is likely to damage the fibre. A fibre that has been softened in this way may not hold dye very well either. This further reduces your chances of solving the problem. 

When faced with this dilemma (yes, I too am clumsy), there are only two routes that do not lead to more heartache: 

If the spill is relatively small, I find a permanent black marker at my local stationer that is closest in colour and simply colour it in. Remember to keep the marker in your handbag because the ink is bound to fade and will need touching up once in awhile. (You will usually notice it on the way to a job interview or a meeting with an important investor.) 

If the spill is large and the “koki-treatment” just too tacky, I simply go with the flow. I go outside to the hosepipe with the garment, the bottle of bleach, a syringe and some rubber gloves. I put on the rubber gloves, draw some bleach into the syringe and squirt it all over the garment to create an artistic dripped effect. As soon as I see the marks I want emerging, I spray the fabric off with the hosepipe to slow down the reaction. 

Do not stand too close to such a project. The chlorine gas released by the reaction smells bad and can make you very ill. Try not to breathe in the fumes and wear a face mask if you have one. 

I have created some fabulous “designer” garments for myself from some of my clumsier moments. 

Wash the fabric thoroughly to remove all the bleach. How many washes will depend on how strong the bleach was that you used. When you can no longer smell it, you can stop washing. If you leave traces of bleach in the fabric, it will weaken the fibre and you can expect the garment to tear.

  

Good luck with your spill.

  

Written by Melanie Brummer

Author of Contemporary Dyecraft (Metz Press)


Rated one of the top 5 Tie Dye books of all time.



Order your copy on Amazon at the link below...

https://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=contemporary+dyecraft+melanie+brummer&rh=i%3Aaps%2Ck%3Acontemporary+dyecraft+melanie+brummer

Read the review on Paula Burch's site at the link below...

http://www.pburch.net/dyeing/dyeingbooks.shtml


Hot Or Cold Dye?

What is the difference between a Hot and a Cold reactive dye? One would think it is quite obvious; the one is used with hot water and the other with cold. Almost every commercial dye available is labelled this way. Unfortunately, for the consumer who buys this product, this labeling is a little misleading. 

A Hot reactive dye requires boiling at one hundred degrees Celsius for the bond with the fabric to be permanent. A Cold reactive dye does not need to be boiled, but its optimum temperature is still sixty five to seventy degrees. If you measure this heat with a thermometer, you will see that it is still steaming hot. I have burned blisters on my skin at that temperature. 

The other misconception that people have is that they assume the Hot dye is more colour-fast than the Cold one because you have boiled the colour in. This is not so. Cold dyes are more robust and colours will remain brighter for longer than Hot dyes. The cooler process is not only a little easier, it is also more lasting. 

Cold reactive dyes are very reliable and used throughout the global clothing and textile industries to permanently colour fabrics made from plant fibres. The dyes react with the fibre on a molecular level to produce a permanent bond that withstands wash after wash. The colour becomes part of the fabric. 

A Cold reactive dye is, in my opinion, the most convenient by far for the hobby dyer. 

It can be used to dye any fabric that starts out as a plant, i.e. cotton, linen, hemp and bamboo. Any fabrics with these bases will bond with reactive dye, e.g. denim, twill, calico, muslin, T-shirting, toweling, corduroy, cotton velvet, viscose, track suiting, poplin and cheesecloth. 

Cotton/lycra and viscose/lycra blends also work well, providing the lycra content is under five percent. Reactive dye does not bond to lycra. Poly/cotton blends will only take the dye partially. The cotton fibres that run in one direction will take up the dye normally, but the polyester fibres that run in the other direction will remain white. 

Because these dyes are used at high temperatures, expect your fabric to shrink. 

The fabric is woven on a loom in the factory, where it takes its dimensions from the equipment. From there it is usually put through a stent which steams the fabric into the desired dimensions for shipping. Sometimes there are variances in fabrics that come off the same equipment. Research has shown that such variances are caused by differences in the cotton fibres used. A fabric made from a crop that has had more water will behave differently from one that had less water in the field. Fabric stability is fibre-specific and will vary from one roll to the next. 

Most cotton fabrics shrink about ten percent in the length. The width is usually stable to within one or two percent.




Why kids of ALL AGES love tie dye!

* They have to dress up to do it…We recommend kids kit up with mask and apron to make tie dye. This will protect their clothes from spills that stain. By far their favourite is the latex gloves they have to put on to keep their hands clean. I am told they make for very good water bombs when you are ten years old. 

* It gets messy! Most kids enjoy activities that are messy…of course!? 

* They play with color. Most children love to play with bright colors. Color is known to stimulate the brain in a number of ways. 

* They work with their hands. Tie dye improves strength and fine motor co-ordination in the hands. Children are forced to work with both hands using string and elastic bands. 

* They have to follow a set of instructions from beginning to end, in order to achieve a desired result. This teaches children to read, concentrate, think logically and analyse their results. All skills they can use in later life. 

* It gives them a sense of achievement and self-worth. Having successfully made something on their own fills a child with a great sense of pride which leads to more confidence in their own abilities. 

* Tie dye lends itself to self-expression and uniqueness. Children learn about uniqueness and the beauty of a hand-made thing. These are old-fashioned values that have been lost in our mass produced society. 

* The Wow Moment! Kids love the moment when the bindings come off and the end result is finally revealed. I call it the Wow Moment. After more than tweny years, I still experience it every time I open a new tie dye. 

* They get to wear what they have made. Kids get an even bigger boost to their confidence when they are praised for work well done. Every time they wear their tie dye, somebody will tell them how beautiful it is, or ask where they got it. 

* Conclusion…tie dye is a kids-confidence-builder…and it is fun!

     

https://www.facebook.com/TheRainbowWowMoment/