I bought my first embroidery machine in 2000 and I still have it. Of course it is one of those smaller Brother ones that only has a 4 x 4 hoop, I wanted bigger better designs. Heck everyone wanted bigger designs and this one and that one changed. Or they wanted something different that no one else had. So I bought a bigger Babylock, the Master Works software, the Amazing Box, a lot more embroidery thread and all the trimmings. By the time I was finished I had spent close to $10,000.00 and still did not have what everyone wanted. Like most home embroidery I started searching for lower priced designs. Back in 2002 the stock designs that I could find were anywhere from $29 to $60 a set. On top of what I just spent on the equipment, the cost just never stopped. Now they were starting to sell CDs on eBay with 100 – 2000 designs for $10 to $20. I mean who won’t want one of those sets, you could embroidery for years and never buy another design.
Here comes the debate in my head, where did those designs come from? Did someone digitize all of them over the years? How could they sell them so cheap?
Where did they come from? As I started looking I discovered most of the larger CDs were designs taken from other cards and CDs. So not only did they take someone else’s hard work they were taking money out of that persons pocket, by selling their designs at a much lower price. To me this was no different than stealing the neighbors tools and selling them at the pawn shop.
Did someone digitize all the designs? I found several Disney design sets with over 6,000 designs anywhere from $10 to $29 so I bought a couple different sets. Some designs at closer look were PES files that had been converted to other formats, others were just a mess. None licensed by Disney. None authorized by Disney for resell. Just recently I saw a pack on eBay with the statement “USED DESIGNS, NEW CD MADE FOR YOU WHEN YOU BUY IT.” NOT LEGAL you may not buy the Disney designs from Brother and resell them. As far as I know Brother is the only one licensed to sell Disney designs. It was surprising to find so many cheap sets that were copies of the PES file and resold. So many of them will have problems in the sew out.
Of course there were several very cheap designs that folks digitized, you never saw a picture of the sew out just the PDF from the software. Some were good others were not. So many were “Auto digitized” with too many flaws for my liking. Or very easy designs.
So like others before me I taught myself how to digitize, when one person wanted an apple on checker boards I took pictures of apples and made checker boards. Then set out to digitize the design on limited software. I spent over 10 years digitizing in my spare time for friends and family on very limited software. I could never get a design to “auto digitize” the way I wanted it, so everything was manual. I upgraded the software which had improved over the years and was very happy with the results.
In 2015 I knew I was going to be forced into retirement by my company, so I set out to find what I hoped to be the perfect software. My goal set up my own online business, to offer good quality designs at a price I would pay. That is the key what price is the right price? Is it the cost to produce the design? Labor, materials, equipment recovery, a space to create? Or is the concept that if you product quality designs at a price people would pay, you can sell enough to recover your costs and pay yourself? Plus I have an son with a college degree in graphics and art, so what son wouldn't donate art to his wonderful mother. As time goes by and designs sell he gets a percentage. Yes I do buy art work from others and create my own art work. I could not afford to sell designs at the price I want if I buy all the art work.
So now you know the pricing debate do I price designs for the true cost to produce them which would make them between $15 to $45 a set depending on size, details, and the projected quantity that will sell. Or price them for what I think the average home embroidery consumer would like to pay? I opted for the second option. I set my pricing for what I believe a consumer would like to see. Is this pricing method going to work? Only time will tell.