Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Everybody loves a good Before & After

Flowering Gum in Red Orange & Stone on upholstery weight organic cotton/hemp

Hello! Hope you're all out there enjoying the fickleness that is Melbourne weather. Right now we're mid thunderstorm with crazy lightning flashes outside our windows and thunder rattling the glass. All this after stepping outside our doors this morning without a cardigan.

Anyway, I've been meaning to do this for ages (how often I find myself saying that) but I'd like to share a couple of Before & After's with you! Well that's not entirely true, I don't have a before shot of the armchair but I'm sure you all know what a beaten up armchair clad in a chunky 70's wool looks like. Above though is the lovely upholstery weight fabric that we printed for this job, and below are the wonderful results courtesy of Jacqui from Reissued!

Fler Armchair by Reissued - Flowering Gum in Red Orange & Stone

Fler Armchair by Reissued - Flowering Gum in Red Orange & Stone

Next up, this pair of foot stools horridly clad in uninspiring vinyl. I picked up both of these during a crack of dawn trip to the Camberwell Market. So early and chilly that the vinyl was wet with condensation. But how beautifully they were transformed...

Vinyl foot stools from Camby Market

Foot stool in Robins Egg Birch, reupholstered by Reissued (of course)

Foot stool in Snow Wrens, reupholstered by Reissued


x Lara.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Friday in the studio - Amy prints

Another Friday, another intern making awesome things.

Amy's been interning with us for the last two weeks. An architecture grad who's thinking maybe designing houses isn't her thing, maybe textiles is her true calling.

During her time here, whilst she wasn't cutting fabric, cleaning screens, wrapping parcels and making us tea, Amy did a hand cut stencil print and made herself an awesome fully lined drawstring bag:

Amy's drawstring bag & stencil print

And today she hand cut two more stencils to make a 1+1 = 3 colour print of a hare:

One plus one equals three - Amy's hand cut stencil print

Yay! I love it when interns come here and help us out but get to take away something they've made. Nice work Amy!


Our 3rd Birthday / Open Studio October 15th

Hey wow! We're turning 3?! Am I the only one who feels like the last 3 years have flown past? Geee...

So it turns out that October is filled with birthday parties, (including a VERY special birthday party for my VERY special business partner *cough*turning30*cough*) so instead of throwing yet another bash just for I&S, we thought we really ought to act our age & have a lovely sedate luncheon/open studio.

Well we are 3 now, after all.


*posh voice*

Lara & I cordially invite you to attend our
on Saturday
the 15th DAY of October
11am - 1pm

in our beloved studio at 206/10 Elizabeth St, Kensington

There will be a printing demonstration at 11:30, then we shall break for tea, cucumber sandwiches, champagne, civilised conversation and CAKE!

How delightful.

*end posh voice*

So please come along to help us celebrate - I plan on making Lara wear a party hat, it'll be worth coming just for that..

xx Teegs

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

The Formula - or 'how to price your wares correctly'


[update and disclaimer] This post has received a lot of feedback in the comments section which is great! I'm glad we're all talking about this difficult topic. But I do want to add - this formula wasn't meant to be perscriptive, merely a guide. Adapt it to suit your situation. I've added more comments below in red :)

It's crazy how often the topic of pricing comes up in conversation around here.

- It might be triggered by our frustrations with a comment on a blog about how such-and-such beautiful, bespoke, handmade item is 'too expensive'.

- We might be throwing around business ideas & offering advice to a intern or friend who wants to start a small business.

- Or we might be discussing a new venture for our own business (such as Inklet), trying to figure out if a product is actually viable to produce and sell at a reasonable price.

The thing is, pricing yourself correctly is HARD. there are so many things working against you when you're a small, local business trying to sell your wares. Like the fact that 99% of the products in your marketplace are manufactured overseas with poor ethical & enviromental standards and sold at a price that you'll never be able to match. And the fact that in your own community there are people who will operate at a loss on a hobby basis because they don't depend on the income from the business. And because people as whole have a mindset that cheaper is better and haven't been educated about the 'real cost' of their purchase.

Since the very beginning, we've always tried to price our textiles correctly. If it wasn't for the wonderful book Craft Inc., we might never have known about The Formula (as we have dubbed it), and by now we would have worked ourselves into the ground.

But fortunately we did know about The Formula (said with a reverent tone) and would like to share it with you today:

The Formula (guided by this book) and made pretty by me

What do you reckon? Sounds pretty full on, huh? All those x2's! Well let me tell you, those x2's are there for a reason and without them we wouldn't be here writing this post to you today.

Let's break it down:

Cost price
Your cost price is the cost of your time (or someone else's) plus the cost of your materials.

Time cost
If you're doing the work yourself you need to pay yourself an hourly rate. We calculated our rate based on what we'd have to pay someone else to do the job for us. Because if we got bigger, that's what we'd have to do. Make it a realistic figure. For us it's $20per hour. You might be able to work to a lesser figure, that's fine. If you outsource, remember to factor in any time you need to spend liaising with or managing your makers.

Material costs
These are your direct material costs, not equipment or setup. For example, we factor in the cost of our basecloth, our inks and our heat setting, but not the screen exposure.

Wholesale price

Your wholesale price is your cost price, doubled. Why double it? Because you need to cover all your overheads! Your rent, electricity, equipment, etc etc etc. If you were paying someone else for their labor then you'd be making nothing for yourself if you didn't mark up the price. Update - double might not work for everyone, everyone's overheads are different, but the important point is that you need *some* markup here. If you material costs are very high then double might be extreme, though it's important to remember that high material costs come with high investment and risk, which you should be covering yourself for.

Retail price

Finally, your retail price is your wholesale price, doubled. Again, why doubled? Because retailers will typically need to mark your goods up by 100%. That sounds extreme, but a retailer also has all of their overheads to cover, plus they have to factor in losses from goods that don't sell. Update - 100% is the standard for *our* industry. If your industry has a standard markup of say, 50%, then you can work to that. Do your research and find out.

The important thing to note is, you need to sell at the retail price (or close to it) in your online shop and at markets. Even if you don't wholesale yet. For three reasons:

1) Because when the time comes to start wholesaling your goods, you can't be undercutting your wholesale customers.

2) Because there are additional overheads involved in playing the role of retailer yourself - packaging costs, shop fees, time to photograph & list items, market stall fees etc etc.

3) Because you're potentially doing the rest of the handmade industry a disservice if you don't.

That last point is a crucial one. And a tough topic. On the one hand, it's important to acknowledge that not everyone can launch into their small business selling at a 'proper' retail price. And one could argue that it's those stallholders with more affordable handmade items that help keep our handmade marketplace a thriving and dynamic one. But on the flip side, other businesses who have set their prices at a sustainable level aren't able to compete. For example, a fully lined zip purse made from our fabric with the above formula would need to be sold for around $35. How often do you see these being sold at markets for $15 or less?

One last thing
Whilst we're here, let's just take a moment to reflect on how the above formula applies to a $15 t-shirt from a large chain store. Considering that some large retailers have markups of 200 or 300%, how much did the person who sewed that garment get paid? Society seems to be more educated about battery hens than their human counterpart.

We hope this post has shed some light for both customers and other business owners alike. We figure if we're going to selling fabric for $96 a metre and t-shirts for $45 then it's important for you to understand where those figures came from. And we hope you'll think about this post when you next think of someone's wares as being 'too expensive', or when you find you next 'bargain' in the stores.


Inklet onesies! Studio photography courtesy of Rebekah Lyn Photography

Cuteness of cutenesses, we finally have our Inklet onesies up in the shop! Yay! Some things just take a little extra time to get perfect, but we're so happy with how these have turned out :)

Inklet onesies! Studio photography courtesy of Rebekah Lyn Photography

Needless to say, all our onesies are locally & ethically made, using 100% organic cotton printed in our studio :)

Extra special thanks to Tai for loaning us Leo for our shoot, he is the cutest little man.

xx Lara, Dana & Teegs.


It's been SUCH a long time coming, but I'm so excited to have finally launched a new gallery section of our website! It's still a work in progress but it'll be an opportunity for us to showcase our textiles and their applications in all sorts of context. My favourites are the upholstery and curtains & blinds sections, which I can't wait to add more photos to :)


xx Lara.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Teegs' Tessuti Awards entry!

Teegs' Tessuti awards entry - bodice detail (with hand made lace trim!)

If you happen to have been following us on Facebook or Twitter you might have noticed that Teegs has a slight penchant (and talent) for dressmaking. 'Slight' being an understatement. She loves costumery, she jumps at the opportunity to make outfits for balls, cocktail parties and themed dress-up events for both herself and friends, and sometimes her pieces exhibit insane amounts of detail.

So of course when the theme of this years Tessuti Awards was announced as being Linen & Lace (with the first prize being a trip for 2 to New York, OMG) Teegs was right onto it. Linen? Why, we love printing on & sewing with linen! Lace!? Why we happen to have a design called Lace Fans and Teegs just happens to know how to MAKE LACE BY HAND.

The winner of the competition will be decided by the judges, but there is also a People's Choice award, so if you like Teegs' entry then please vote for her! You can read more about her entry and see more awesome pics here.

Teegs' 'Linen & Lace' Tessuti Awards entry

Printing Lace Fans for Teegs' dress

She is one talented lady, that's for sure :)

xx Lara.