i have recently discovered a new passion with millinery, although I am fast discovering that it is not a cheap hobby. At the moment I have not sold anything. In fact I have only made 2 pieces, but have created lots of flowers, played with redesigning feathers and basically just experimented. I love Elaine's lessons and wish I could just do them all at once.

My question is how do I know if my work is good enough to sell, the 2 pieces I have made are largish headpieces. Would be good to recoup some cash to purchase more lessons and materials. My collection of supplies is fast growing. I have a Facebook page "Vanessa joy millinery" which all my friends are following. I have had some cards made up just in case. The 2 pieces I made and posted on my page I had plenty of comments from but couldn't bring myself to price them.  I work fulltime so I am realistic and realise that I will be limited on the amount of work I could take on. How did people sell their first few pieces. Elaine has helped me by recommending some prices.

cheers Ness

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I sold my first three on Etsy.  I am a photographer and wanted some vintage hats to do theme photography and I couldn't find what I wanted so I just made them! They have really been great for the photos.  You can go to Etsy and check out the prices there and compare them to your work.  Hope that helps.

Linda Tillis

I know exactly what you mean, Ness.

I have made loads over the past 6 months or so, and as good as I thought the last one was, the next one is even better, I feel that I am good enough to start selling now, and am just putting the finishing touches to my website as I plan to sell mainly online. As far as prices are concerned, I don't yet have the courage to ask very much for each piece, I'd rather see them sold first and take it from there

Good luck with it all and keep us all posted as to how you do! 

I made a hat from an vintage wool jacket for my daughter.  She wore it a few times and no one commented on it.  A year later she wore it again and received more than fifty comments in a day.  The following week she wore it to an art opening and the shop owner asked me to make a few for her shop.  

That boosted my confidence so much I made several other styles of fabric hats and sold them at a trunk show four months later. 

Thanks ladies,

I think I just need to be bolder. I have had plenty of compliments on my work, from people that have seen my Facebook page. From now on when I put a photo up I think I just need to put a price on it. We are out of season here for the races, but host the biggest jumps race in Australia in May. I have had 2 people ask me if I would do work for them for this carnival. I guess bot being formally trained I feel rude asking for $120 + for a hat/headpiece.

What website will you use Ruth?

Cheers Ness

I think we get to a stage where we need to take the bull by the horns - or just  back off completely.

My website isn't quite finished yet, still lots of tweaking to do, and more photos to go on, but I intend it to be 'live and on air' by the end of the weekend. 

Will post the address on Sunday (I hope) !

what website company do you use? I have looked at a few but was quite confused. I thought a website would be a good start as I would be dealing with people I didn't know, so wouldn't find it hard to ask a decent price for my time. I looked at web.com and weebly. Vistaprint also offer domain hosting but it is $26 per month.

Just wondering how you chose which company to go with Ruth.

Cheers Ness

My son, actually. He organised me into using Squarespace. It all seems quite good, and they are there for people like us, who don't really know what they are doing, luckily my son has been able to direct operations remotely for me from his own computer - they are like weebly, but they work out a bit cheaper, and they include a domain in the price. I am a bit slow with all this 'new' technology, and was very nervous when he handed it over to me, but I'm getting there - and believe me, if I can do it, anyone can!

Hi Ruth

Just catching up a bit and interested to see your website. Is it up and running yet? I need to upgrade mine but have been really busy with bespoke orders since getting back from Australia end of March. 6 on the go now!so I still haven't had time for more playing with the silk abaca I brought back.

I agree with advice to you and Ness. Take the plunge. Every time I price something and worry the customer will think it too much I have never had that comment and very happy with prices. I started cheaper as I felt I was on learning curve and not 'top class experienced' milliner but now I am more realistic in my pricing and estimating when a design is agreed. Good luck to you on the website and selling. Marion Lowe

I had a little boutique in our old restored hay barn and in 2011 we were devastated by a flood which destroyed all my merchandise, fixtures etc. Everything in my shop was hand made. So I didn't know what to do. I had some hats that had not been in the shop and I just couldn't stand looking at them anymore. We have a local farmers market and I was encouraged to take somethings down there to just get rid of them. Well in 2 hours I had made $300.00. Yes, I sold everything cheap ,but ,people loved my hats! They kept asking me "where will you be next"? "Can you make me one in blue"?etc,etc. So I made some more hats and went on the road to regional craft fairs. Now I'm book most weekends selling my hats. So out of the flood waters "If You Love Hats" was born. I created a website and facebook page.I have also begun to sell wholesale as well. I am known as the hat lady around the area and it has changed my life. So, don't be afraid, you might be surprized at how much people will love your hats.

I agree with the others, you just need to be brave enough to take a chance and go for it.  Every hat you make will be better than the last.  Even after having several satisfied clients, you will look back and say, "I could have done that better." That is part of growing in your art. The real question is whether someone likes your hat well enough to pay for it.  If so, you are ready to sell.  As far as pricing, I started way too low for my hats, have raised my prices, and am told I still don't charge enough, so I am getting ready to make another jump in pricing.  Part of being good at something is always questioning whether your work is good enough.  Once you quit questioning, you become stagnant. Questioning is good, just don't let it paralyze you.  You will find people who love your work, and people who don't.  Market to the ones who love it, and don't market to those who have different tastes.  I started with virtually no cash start up money. Every penny went into blocks, supplies, marketing, shows, etc.  If you can afford to reinvest all your proceeds, your business will grow faster.  Keep your business separate from your household money until you can afford to pay yourself a salary.

All good advice Bridget! Yes, it's scary but you learn as you go along. When you stop learning it's no fun anymore. I still find priceing difficult but I was selling my hat way too cheap and still peoples eyes would bug out with surprize, so I figured if they're going to bug out you might as well go for broke and sell them for what they are really worth. If they love them, they will pay the price and the other cheap skates wouldn't have bought them anyway.
Thanks ladies, I am off on a road trip next week to get supplies from house of adorn in Melbourne can't wait to get home and start creating next time I put a pic up I am going to be sure to price it.


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