S.H. Day 7: Benchmarking

40s crochet purseToday’s exercise (or yesterday’s really, as I am posting this a day late) was to do some research on other businesses like the one you are trying to start.  Look at pricing, product mix, other services they might offer, etc.

This was a great next step. Even though I had done some research, a deep dive into Etsy to look specifically at Vintage purse and bag designs was pretty enlightening.  I learned what various types of Vintage purses sell for, and bought a couple that I would like to use as models for some that I make.  I also found a number of places that sell Vintage patterns for purses, either in the original hardcopy, or as PDF downloads, so I sampled some of those too.  This indicates another avenue to explore – what is the copyright length on sewing or crocheting patterns?

There tended to be a lot of patterns for purses in the 40’s and 70’s.  The patterns in the 40’s were mostly knit or crocheted.  Why? I wondered.  Thinking it might have something to do with war rationing, I did some Googling, and sure enough, I found this really interesting blog written by a woman who writes romance novels set in WWII!  During WWII clothing was rationed in the UK, and some restrictions were put on how much fabric could be used in clothing in the US, and prices for clothing increased. This explains the move to hand-made purses and hats using yarn, and other materials like plastic based roving.  It is interesting that we see an increase in hand-making and up-cycling and re-use, reduce, recycle today.  During WWII it was definitely an economic necessity.  Today, in the post 2008 bubble economy, I wonder if some of the same factors are at play, with more people who are having a hard time making ends meet with traditional type jobs, and are seeing more of these blue collar jobs that one used to be enough to support a family, going away, or not paying enough to live on.use it up


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