Ready for your next sewing & selling
#3 – How to Sell Everything You Make
We always sell everything we make,
(except for practice and trial pieces,
which we give to Libby). We sell it
all – and you can too.
See, As a small production seamstress
you have a huge advantage over
Your advantage lies in a simple
concept – you can avoid holding
One of the biggest liabilities a large
manufacturer has is keeping inventory
that doesn’t sell. It’s a huge headache.
They have to try to predict what will
sell, then when it doesn’t sell well,
they have to either discount it heavily
to sell it, which weakens their brand,
or have some other type of outlet to
dispose of it. (That’s what AG does).
Those mistakes represent thousands,
even millions, of dollars of waste
in their system of selling.
They accept that waste because of
course they generate huge revenue on
the successful part of their operation,
selling items for full-price.
So how do you sell everything you make?
Here is our five step plan:
1. Don’t make things that people
don’t want. Okay, that sounds dumb,
but think about it. You can easily
see what types of outfits are selling
for premium prices, and do solid
research before you make anything.
Then make things that are similar to
the things that you’ve seen sell.
Your research can be done by viewing
the Liberty Jane Partners list, or
watching EBay and Etsy sellers that
Don’t copy their work, that’s flat
wrong, but get a grasp on what does
and does not sell well by watching
their efforts. Again, don’t copy
them – learn from them.
2. Don’t make items in batches
unless you’ve proven that you can
sell them easily. It’s easiest to
make 5 or 10 shirts at once, and
that’s fine, as long as you’re
selling something that you know is
a proven winner. If not, just make
one and test it out. Even for our
Spring and Fall line outfits that
sell for over $100, we don’t make
them all at once, we do it one at
a time, as they sell.
3. Anything will sell on EBay if you
start it at 99 cents. I know, I
know, you like Etsy, but just hear
us out on this…The real question is
not whether you can sell what you
make – the real question is if you
can get a price you think you
Obviously there is a range of
acceptable prices in the market.
The price you get is determined
by your reputation, the number of
followers you have, and the way
in which you sell the outfit. If
you sell items easily at the $25
price point on Etsy, then you’ve got
to wonder, could these be selling
in a Ebay auction for $75? That
difference means you could either
sew and sell 1/3rd less items and
make the same amount. Or make 3
times more money.
Our recommendation is to experiment
with EBay auctions as a way to
validate your work and pricing.
We’ve found that the market will be
a fair judge.
You might not like the final price
you get, or you might be pleasantly
surprised. But if you start it at
99 cents – you will sell it. And if
it sells for $1.49 you will be
highly motivated to examine what
you’re doing wrong. Then you’ll
improve, then you’ll get higher
As a side note – social psychologists
have proven that the low starting
bid price is better than a high
starting bid price. We’ll skip the
details, but trust us, start it at
99 cents. It works best.
4. People want what they can’t have.
So as a seller, the best strategy
you can employ is scarcity. If you
keep your store stocked all the time,
you won’t do as well as if you
create a method of scarcity.
Our method is simple – we do a Spring
and Fall line. Then offer a limited
number of separates in our store,
which are sold out more often than
they are available, so people
physically cannot buy our products
very easily. The result is
predictable – a mad dash (and poof)
5. When you get good at using our
patterns, and tweaking them, then
you’re ready to take custom orders.
It’s a bit scary at first, but
generally it’s not very hard to do.
And if you’re good at it – and
develop a reputation, then you can
simply do custom projects for people,
and the selling issues become much
easier. This can be very profitable.
We did this for the first two years
of our business, and had to stop
because it just took too much of our
Bottomline – Make it a goal to sell
everything you make. And, if the
items you’re making aren’t selling,
then ask yourself the hard questions
necessary to figure out why.
You can do this!
Jason & Cinnamon