Author Archives: Jane

Balancing Business and Motherhood: My Interview on the Sarah R. Bagley Podcast!

Balancing Business and Motherhood: My Interview on the Sarah R. Bagley Podcast!

Do you listen to podcasts?   Today I’m discussing Janery and family, and essentially how I’m balancing business and motherhood on the Sarah R. Bagley podcast.

I listen to several while I work, and Sarah’s is one of my faves! It’s a lifestyle podcast focused on pursuit of a B+ life – something that she’s passionate about as a “recovering perfectionist.”

I have experience public speaking, but not so much on podcast interviews! While I was prepared to talk on these topics with Sarah, nothing prepared me for how nervous I got!   Just keeping it real.  I fear I may have rambled a lot, but we discussed things like my perseverance with launching Charlie Cushions at Janery, my inspiration for products, the dog that touched my heart like no other, and exciting life topics like laundry.  😉

And if you have any tips on balancing business and motherhood, please chime in on Twitter, Instagram, or in the comments!

Balancing Business and Motherhood Janery on the Sarah R Bagley Podcast Episode 93 Handmade Business

Introducing Winter Botanicals: The 2015 Janery Holiday Pillows

Every year I create a limited edition collection of holiday pillows. This year I designed a line of “winter” pillows that can carry your decor into the cold new year.Janery Winter Pillows Holiday Pillows

I released them last week and have less than a dozen remaining, so if you love them, now is the time.  Once they sell out, they’re gone forever!

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PS:  Next week I’m having my annual Cyber Monday Sale – it’s always the biggest sale of the year!  Join the Janery VIP Club if you’d like early access.

Why are handmade products so expensive?

Why are handmade products so expensive

Did you ever look at the price tag on a handmade item and wonder why handmade products are so expensive?

When I’m selling at art shows or craft fairs I sometimes hear “I could get it at Target for half that price.”   I don’t take offense, because I know I thought the same before I started Janery, my handmade home decor and pet bed business.

This is on my mind because I just released a collection of plush waterproof pet beds. I was nervous before the launch because I knew some people would see the $125 – $195 price tag and be shocked at how “expensive” they were. It’s true: my Charlie Cushions are not cheap dog beds. They are made carefully with ethical labor and quality American-made materials.

So why was I nervous about my prices?

Because I know people often experience “sticker shock” at handmade prices, and I’d never want customers to think I was trying to take advantage of them.

A handmade product costs more than its counterpart at Target or Walmart. The big box stores manufacture in overseas sweatshops, where people, often children, are paid pennies an hour in dangerous working conditions.

Given the low prices (and frequent sales) that big box stores advertise, we’ve been conditioned to expect low prices on everything.

To combat that, here’s a very simplified look at what’s included in the price of a handmade product:

  • Cost of materials used to make the product
  • Labor – any time spent designing, making, and then marketing the product – whether it’s the business owner or an employee
  • Packaging materials
  • Overhead (all other business costs – including the cost of equipment, accounting, insurance, utilities, rent, advertising, etc)
  • Profit

Profit? Yes. A business that does not make enough profit will go out of business.

Profit may seem like a dirty word to shoppers. It conjures images of wealthy CEOs living on yachts in the Caribbean, but the majority of small business owners will never live in such luxury.

Profit is what remains after the employees are paid and all business expenses are covered. Profit goes into the bank where it’s saved until I need to buy new equipment, take training courses, or grow and strengthen my business in other ways. It’s my businesses’ emergency fund.

At the end of the year the owner may pay themselves a bonus. That does come out of profit, and it’s no different than an employee at a big company getting a bonus for a job well done.

My goal with Janery is to grow the business and hire women in my community to sew for Janery, so that I can focus on designing more fabulous home and pet products. A talented seamstress makes $15-$20 an hour in the US, and my prices reflect that. A similar employee at a factory in China would make pennies.

I can’t compete with sweatshop prices, and I don’t want to.

Next time you see a handmade product with a price that surprises you, hopefully this will help you understand what’s behind that price tag. I encourage you to support small businesses during the holiday gift-giving season, and year round.

PS: Will you help me educate shoppers on the costs that go into handmade and ethically made goods? Please pin this on Pinterest, or share on Facebook and Twitter.  Thank you!!

A New Janery Mini Collection: “Bricks” for Yellow Brick Home

This summer I needed to choose some new patterns for Janery pet beds, but I wanted to go outside of my choices, which are largely dictated by my style.

Janery Pet Beds Bricks for Yellow Brick Home Feature

I asked Kim, the talented pet portrait artist and DIYer at Yellow Brick Home to collaborate with me on choosing some new patterns, and I was ecstatic when she said yes! I love her style and she has the cutest pair of rescue pups, who you can admire all over her gorgeous Instagram feed.

Kim selected the Bricks pattern (I named it after her blog, of course!), and I made some gray Merlin Mats and a navy Catnip Cuddler for her critters. She tested them out for a few months, and I’m happy to report that they passed the test!

The Catnip Cuddler has a super special feature that’s exclusive to the Bricks Collection – it’s refillable. If your cat appears to be losing interest, you can open the velcro on one side, and pop some fresh new catnip in the mat.

The Bricks Collection is available here. If you’d like to save 15% on your purchase, and enter to win a $100 store credit to Janery, check out Kim’s blog post here. (The sale and the giveaway end on Nov. 20th, so don’t delay!)

PS: If there’s something you’d like to see in the shop, you can tell me on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook – I’m @shopjanery everywhere.