Sunday, 2 December 2012

Frugal Entrepreneurs, Remnants and McGonks

So much to do, so much to blog!

As you know, the brand new Frugaleur Challenge has already been launched and there's now less than a month to go before 2013. December is such a busy month for frugalers, making, mending, baking, wrapping, steaming, brewing, mixing and concocting, but we can't lose focus on money-saving or earning that little bit extra wherever possible.
'Clan McGonk' will now progress steadily towards the new year with a little bit of help from several online friends, to whom I am truly grateful! The first handful of McGonks will need to be sold in order to kickstart the enterprise, so here's a final rundown on how things are going.
I have sufficient furry remnants to make eight individual McGonks. The main 'bodies' were machine-sewn by sis, the rest will be done by hand. There are plenty of bits and pieces rounded up and donated by friends, both at home and online, to make each furry little character unique. The first to arrive was Rory McGonk, unleashed on the world last night while opening the Clan McGonk Facebook page ( Tonight, a little more progress has been made with the help of my trusty paper shredder!
McGonks are not toys, they are novelty characters for decorative purposes only. I'd like to call them eco-friendly, but a friend came up with the even better term of, "reco-friendly", much more befitting the recycling process involved in making the little critturs.
As I was saying, the paper shredder has been hard at work in Thrift Cottage, shredding scrap paper to use as stuffing for the gonks. Old newspapers passed on from friends (I never buy newspapers or magazines) usually get made into kindling sticks for the fire, but some paper simply isn't the right type for doing this job. Things like catalogues, brochures and old telephone directories are pretty useless as fire fodder, so these are now being recycled into McGonk stuffing! I guess this means the McGonks are a bit like certain other furry creatures that shouldn't get wet!
Having completed Rory McGonk last night, I proceeded to stuff and stitch the remaining seven little gonks, giving me a total of eight. There are two each of red, orange, pink and pale blue, but no two are the same. Owing to the nature of the eco-arts (economical) project, there will never be two identical creations, each will be unique in its own right, depending on what was salvaged and recycled or upcycled to produce it.
Tonight, I completed Hamish. He and Rory are such cute little chappies that it's going to be challenging to part with any of them! Nonetheless, parting with them needs to be part of this frugal challenge. Now I need to price my little characters so they're frugally affordable to anyone who would like to own one. This is proving to be just as challenging.
  • Do we count time?
  • How does one price surplus materials donated by friends?
  • Factoring in electricity for heat & light while working at home during the day is a consideration
  • Purchasing glue, thread and any other extra bits and pieces needed, albeit sourced as cheaply as possible, has to be factored into the equation
Product pricing for a new business is difficult! Business budgeting is a complicated process, as there are so many hidden costs to be rooted out and included. Bank fees, card transaction fees, PayPal fees, to name but a few. I'm fortunate in that I am already self-employed and work from home, meaning I already have a business bank account, a reference number from HMRC and my National Insurance contributions being paid, but for newcomers to business, frugal or otherwise, it can all become a bit daunting. Don't let this put you off trying - the people at HMRC are actually very patient and very helpful, in my experience. If in doubt, give them a call or check their website at

Back to pricing - If I add everything up and factor in the time, in case this new project 'takes off' and I need to pay someone to help (remember this is a frugal entrepreneurial challenge), then we're looking at about £3.50 per item plus postage and packaging. With current pricing structures coupled to the fact that we cannot cram a McGonk through a large letter postal slot, 1st Class postage amounts to £2.70, but then there's still the cost of the packaging, getting to and from post office (my nearest one is several miles away) and it all adds up to quite an amount.

Would anyone be prepared to pay over £6 for the priviledge of owning one of these wee gonks, I wonder? That remains to be seen.
Please feel free to comment on how you handle your pricing structure for homemade or hand crafted goods. I love making things but it's a whole different kettle of fish when it comes to making something pay, even on a semi-commercial level.
Onwards and upwards, let's get into the festive spirit! I've got some fabby-dabby news coming your way tomorrow, so watch out for a rather fun and frugal announcement - it's something really exciting!
Until tomorrow,


  1. I didn't add much for my time but looked at everything else then doubled it up. Never used 1st class, just too expensive. Make sure though, from an H & S point of view that people definitely know they are not toys, especially with having paper in them. The stuffing from duvets is very good for filling things, especially if washed first (get loads of it from one duvet).

  2. Cheers for that, Data, they are definitely not toys and will not be sold as such.

    My original plan isn't even to earn the money from the McGonks, they're simply characters in the stories and models in the photographs, in the exact same way Hasbro/Tiger Electronics Furby was my model in 1999, when I ran tis same project, but as 'Furby in a Fourby'. :) Yes, it involved driving a Furby all over the country, photographing it with interesting people, objects and in visitor attraction locations. (Told you I'd done loads of crazy challenges in the past. LOL)

    Clan McGonk is the frugal version becaues this time round, I have no sponsor. :)

  3. The Hardest part is getting the pricing right.

    Good luck!

    Sue xx

  4. I've a load of tartan material to post to you - I have your address from Frugal Queen - what else would be useful? xx

  5. Oh, that would be absolutely fantastic and plenty useful without me asking for anything more! It's much appreciated, as I'm just getting back into crafting after losing a couple of years to house moves and the current renovations. 2013 is going to be my year of catching up with all the lovely frugalers and crafters I keep meeting on here and hoping you'll all keep reminding me to stay focussed and be much more productive. :)

  6. Pillows are a good source of stuffing as well - polyester fibre. Even if you buy new pillows for the purpose it is still cheaper than a bag of " stuffing" from a craft shop.

    I love your Gonks- I think they are lovely.

  7. Thank you for the pillow suggestion, lkewise with any old polyester-filled duvets.


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