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How much should I charge for this mum?




One of the most often asked questions that I receive in my DMs (and that I see on social media) is, “How much should I charge for this?” and it will be accompanied by a photo of a homecoming mum that has already been made. My answer is never, “Oh, that? That is $XYZ amount.” My answer is long and somewhat detailed. The reply back to me is usually something like, “I had no idea so much was involved.” I respond this way for a reason: I want to discourage the idea that a homecoming mum can be made and an arbitrary price slapped on it. I want to empower the maker to make educated decisions that impact homecoming mum-makers all over the state. Wow, Christy! That is a bold statement! Yes, it is, and I am passionate about my business and this industry. (And that is probably a different blog post.) So, let’s look at the factors that need to be considered when setting a price for a homecoming mum. 


The first thing to consider is the total cost of materials that went into that homecoming mum. If the materials are coming from a retail store, the costs will be higher than if the materials come from a wholesale source. Things that need to be accounted for are the obvious, flowers, backers, ribbon and trinkets as well as the glue and staples. I realize that it is difficult for an artsy, craftsy person to do this, we like to add until it looks or feels right. For an accurate price, though, all of the things need to be accounted for. Add to that amount; 10-15% of the cost of materials for overhead. Overhead is anything that is not directly included in the cost of materials, rent, electricity, wear and tear on machines, advertising materials/costs, card processing fees, etc. 


Labor is the second consideration when pricing a homecoming mum. The cost of labor is how much someone doing that job would be paid. I have seen hourly rates for handmade items range from $10-$20+ an hour. Just like every other job market, location, experience, and expertise are the factors that are considered when determining an hourly wage. When I say location, I am also referring to the target market. Think high-end store versus box store. Additionally, what folks in a west Texas town expect to pay is different from folks in a Houston suburb. Secondly, experience on the job is based on how long a maker has been making. Last, expertise is a higher level of mastery that comes not just with time, but in understanding how to apply the knowledge in a way that elevates a homemade item to a handcrafted item. 


I cannot talk about labor cost without talking about the time it takes to make something. Again, this is based on what a laborer would be paid for making said item. Maybe I take hours making something because I don’t have the skills quite yet to be more proficient, which means my hourly rate should be lower, where so-and-so is an expert and can get it done in a matter of minutes. I hope that is clear. Just because a homecoming mum took 24 man hours doesn’t necessarily mean the labor costs should reflect that. 


Are you still with me? So far, we have the cost of materials plus labor cost to consider when pricing a homecoming mum.


And now, we can look at a formula. I like a formula because it takes the guesswork out of the equation. It also takes emotion out of the equation. In the world of selling crafty things, emotion can be a hard thing to set aside because we love it, and we put our heart and soul and sometimes actual blood and skin into the item. 


The formula (Cost of materials X markup) + Labor + Overhead = PriceMarkup is profit. X2 = wholesale, x4 = standard retailLabor is how long it takes to make an items X an hourly rateOverhead = typically 10-20% of the cost to cover non-material things that go into business. 


Is a fair price being charged? Does the market bear it? Are people willing to pay the price? These are questions each maker must answer for themselves. Now, the maker can make decisions like “how do I obtain supplies for less to lower the price?” and “Can I streamline my process so that I’m not losing money by taking too long?” Only the maker can answer the question of “How much should I charge?” because only the maker knows what went into the homecoming mum. Only the maker knows how long it took or where it is being sold. I hope that you are feeling educated and empowered to know how much to charge for your homecoming mums.


Christy Bryson has been married to her high school sweetheart since 1989. She is embarking on her tenth season selling homecoming mums as Central Texas Spirit Wear. She can be reached on her website CentralTexasSpiritWear.com 

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