Sunday, 15 July 2012

Strawberry Cushion For Handmade Monday

Thank goodness i managed to take advantage of a 3 second window of sunshine this afternoon to gab a few snaps of the strawberry cushion i've made this week, or i'm not sure what i'd be talking about on this Handmade Monday post... probably the weather!

I love this design, we have a similar one that i made last year in our little cottage, and its just the thing to brighten up a slightly dark interior (old cottage = small windows) as well as combat the gloom of the grey days we're all getting a bit sick of in the UK at the moment!

Here's the back. I've added a little border to the envelope closure that isn't on the original and i'm quite pleased with how it turned out (i like it when cushions have a little something on the reverse side :))

Its actually given me an idea for some napkin rings i'd like to make - i've already had a go at the prototype but unfortunately the sun went behind a big black cloud before i could take a picture, so the reveal will have to wait until next week when hopefully i will have a little collection to share with you!

Cushion Pads, The Price Of Quality

You always give such helpful and insightful comments dear Handmade Monday readers that i thought i would pick your brains today on a conundrum i am currently pondering. The subject is cushion pads. 

As you may already know, cushions make up a large percentage of the handmade items i have for sale (i love cushions!). All of my cushions come with a cushion pad filled with wool from local cotswold sheep which i buy from a wonderful company called Wool Soft (also a great place to find out more about the wonders of wool and its many uses!). Their pads have great eco credentials and the quality is superb - they are soft and fluffy, they smell wonderful and they also last well and don't go all thin and sad looking in the way that the cheaper synthetic fillers can do! I couldn't be happier with the product and wouldn't use anything else for cushions in my own house.

However, they are not cheap. I bought a largish quantity (in small business terms) a few months ago and i paid somewhere around the £6/£6.50 mark per pad (as you may know pads filled with synthetic fillers range from about £1 to £3 depending on quality and feather filled are about £4 or £5). I have been wondering for a while whether i should give customers the option to buy my covers without pads thereby giving them the choice about whether they want to pay the premium.

My mind was somewhat made up today when i visited Wool Soft's website to find that the prices have gone up to £9.20 plus p&p for the pads i normally buy - the trade discount won't knock too much off this and i will have to pass this increase my customers. I worry that this will make my cushions appear over priced as i'm not sure people will necessarily appreciate how expensive the pads alone can be.

So, the question is, should i list my items as a cushion cover alone with the option to buy one of the wool pads as an add on to a purchase, or should i list as the full price and give the customer the option to reduce the cost of the purchase by buying the cover alone. Or should i do something else that i haven't thought of yet, but maybe you have?!

Thank you in advance for your help :)

A Country Life

Thank you too if you left a comment about my country life mug last week (which is now available to buy in my Etsy shop). It was very interesting to hear how many of you draw inspiration from the natural world for your creations, and your kind appreciation of my handiwork was gratefully received! :)

My strawberry cushion was inspired by the bountiful crop we always get from the patch on our allotment (although not quite so bountiful this year due to a shortage of sunny days!). Home grown fruit and veg is another aspect of country living that i love and i had intended to pop over to our allotment today and take a nice picture for you. I didn't in the end because of the gloom. However, here is a shot taken last summer of my little River as a puppy dashing through our strawbs with wild abandon - luckily for him he was just too cute to tell off!

I shall leave you now in the capable hands of Wendy over at Handmade Harbour where there are lots of other fabulous crafty posts to enjoy. A lengthy monologue from me in the end, and there i was thinking i'd have nothing to say! Thank you for sticking with it :) x


  1. I love that Strawberry Cushion, it's beautiful. I end up with all my cushions parked up out of the way of Higgins ans he adores chewing the corners, not an endearing habit! I love the idea of wool filled cushions, what a shame the price has gone up so much. Could you maybe offer a choice of fillings so that the customer could opt for a cheaper synthetic option but the wool filling is still available? Pricing is such a problem, I hope you can find a solution you are happy with. Have a good week, hope it stays dry for you! P x

  2. I too like the cushion with the detailing on the back as in my house cushions end up all over the place and it is nice to have a bit of colour whichever way up they are! I too was wondering about offering a choice of pads?? Good luck with your decision and I hope you get a bit more sun soon.

  3. thank you both! this is what my OH suggested too... could be the way forward :)

  4. I love your strawberry cushion (very summery, unlike the weather) and I agree with Penny. It would be a shame not to offer the wool filling, but price will put a lot of people off. What about three prices: one for cover only, one for synthetic cushion pad and one for wool pad? PayPal will easily cope with three price options without throwing a wobbler. Good luck x

  5. I love the detailing on the back of the cushion- I always like when you can tell people have put that extra care and attention to detail into something.
    It probably is worth offering a variety of cushion options, or if you go with just the wool version you need to make sure you highlight what's special about them in your description and maybe even something to refer to it in your titles?

  6. I do love the strawberry cushion :)
    I think it is probably worth offering the option of cheaper cushion pad, or just cover; although it would be nice to think people would finish the item with a quality filler it may be that some people just won't/cannot go that far
    Catherine x

  7. That is a beautiful cushion. And so summery. I think you're best bet would be to offer with and without. That way at least the customer would feel like they had the choice. Visiting from Handmade Monday.

  8. That strawberry cushion cover is to die for! I agree with previous readers, it would be nice to have the option of buying with and without the pad. Some customers may like the idea of changing the covers on the cushions depending on the seasons and may not necessarily need another cushion pad.

  9. Love the strawberry cushion but agree over the price of the pads. Why not offer cover only, with wool pad, with synthetic pad. That way will be up to the customer plus would cheapen the postal costs without a pad.

  10. That is a big increase! What a shame. I think the suggestions of offering both types of filling is a good idea - also selling just the cover as you may have previous customers who swap their cushions about and will just replace the cover. The strawberry cushion is lovely, and I do like the finish on the back. Hope you have a good week.

  11. I'm in agreement with everyone else, offer the cover alone, with cheaper pad or with eco wool pad. I have pads already and usually only need covers, I'd only buy the pad with cover if I was buying for a gift for someone.
    Love the strawberry design, I have had a few strawbs this year but the blackbirds have had them :o)

    Jan x

  12. so summery to bad about the weather

  13. The fabrics you've used to make the strawberry are lovely.
    My friend buys cushions like their going out of fashion so maybe it would be better just to offer the cover. People can make their own decision then. Have a crafty week. Ali x

  14. How pretty your strawberry cushion has turned out. I am also in agreement with everyone else to give your customer a choice. Without, with cheap infill and with wool infull but explaining the superior quality they would be getting. That way your customer can chose their own budget. Hugs Mrs A.
    p.s. Have only managed to pick 2 stawberries so far this season.(note careful wording of not calling it summer!!!)

  15. I love the cushion!I think if I was buying one I'd like a choice of fillings,it seems a good idea

  16. lovely cushion, very summery. What a shame the price has gone up of your pads. I think having the option is better than no option at all x

  17. Great cushion... I have always got my pads from Merrick & Day and use feather pads which seam to work quite well... take a look at their website. Their customer service is second to none!

  18. Love this strawberry cushion cover - what fabulous fabric and neat sewing :)


Your lovely comments are much appreciated x