I get three questions about pricing tie-dyes. Why do I charge so much? Why do I charge different prices for different patterns? Why do I charge extra for some background colors, and for custom orders?
First why do I charge so much? My prices are not high if you consider the labor and care that goes into each product, and I have to compete against people who practically throw the dyes onto the shirts and sell them very cheap.
I spend the time it takes to check how far the dye has gone into the material so I can get each pattern the way I want it to be. It takes time and care at every step in the process to make my tie-dye products.
Many people have quit tie-dyeing as a business, because they found that it was too labor intensive. They loved tie-dyeing, but it just took so much time to make their products, and they refused to do them sloppier.
Second, why do I charge different prices for different patterns? It takes longer to make some patterns. Stars and mandalas, for example, take more time than spirals, and star-yokes take even more. If I charged the same price I would lose money on the more complicated patterns, and I didn’t want to stop making those patterns, so I had to charge more for them.
Third, why do I charge extra for some background colors. White backgrounds are the original color of the shirt, and colored backgrounds take more time. There are also differences in the cost of the dye going into the backgrounds. For example, it costs a lot more for a black background than a light blue or pink background.
It is also a matter of fairness to the customer. Why should someone buying a spiral pay more to subsidize more complicated patterns. I am also going to start charging extra for custom color combinations for the same reason.
Finally, I can assure you that I do not make a large amount of money with any of my tie-dye products. In fact most of the time I just make enough to survive. I don’t have a car, and I rent my house/shop. But I am happy, and I’m glad I’m self employed through this current economic mess (adjustment?).