Ok, it's a tad early in the morning - but this is the time I wake up! I am feeling more centred now about yesterday's post, and that's mainly down to the comments left - thanks guys. Hazel - I tried to find your email address to respond privately and couldn't! I get email notifications that I've had a comment, but can't reply to them... doh..
I don't always let off steam, and I'm glad I did as the responses have helped me put things back into perspective. The whole business of taking my hats into school was due to people asking to see them, and I thought I'd test the water and try for a few sales. If I'd been going for a hard sell, I think my skin would have been thicker and dealt with it better. Mind, the fact that it was friends did smart. Hazel's right though; they aren't my market. And as regular readers know, I've pondered over this for a while and with my style of work and nature of lifestyle, the craft markets and festivals of Europe are where I should/will be aiming. A website is another possibility, but more of that another time.
Also, Lhizz's point about the boutique... the way in which an item is sold, where it is displayed plays a big part - and I'm understanding the psychology of marketing much better! In the new year I'm going to spend my lunchtimes at work in the textiles room, making the display banner to go on the stall; make it big, use the logo, and make an impact.
I think there is a market for hand made goods, albeit a slim one. One of the reasons I decided on hats and accessories (apart from my woolly hat fetish) was because I felt larger garments would be too pricey and wouldn't sell, and folk tend to buy smaller items more, and are prepared to pay a little more for these in comparism. The prices I'm asking are comparable to those in John Lewis, so not ridiculous. Also, as folk know, I've been looking into ways of reducing my material costs; possibilities of going wholesale on yarn purchases, dyeing myself and so on. A hat takes an average of 100g of yarn, and they take between 2 and 4 hours to make, depending on the complexity of the design. I'm a fast knitter but don't think I can speed up anymore, so reducing material costs is the only way to keep prices down.
Mind, there is another point to bear in mind. Right now, living in London with the cost of living etc, my hourly rate for knitting is pretty poor. When we get travelling, the cost of living will be greatly reduced - fuel and food being our main concerns. Rates of rent on sites and communes are pretty low, being as most are co-operatives without any profit so all amenities are at cost price. £5 an hour would then be pretty reasonable, and I may even be able to drop my prices a little. Our lifestyle won't be grand (I can't wait - a simple life suits me) so the profit from sales will go further, so I won't be worrying as much.
Jeez, must get ready for work! Thanks again to folk for helping me get priorities in the right order xx