The Crafty Network ~ Discussion ~ Pricing Your Crafts?

23 Feb

Pricing your crafts is an interesting subject and I’m finding that the more I visit craft fairs, look at Facebook business pages etc I am often saddened by how little some people charge for their handmade items.  I’m not aiming to tell you how to price your items with this article but to get you thinking and discussing it, I want to know your experiences and opinions on pricing?

In my opinion, many people seem to undervalue what they make, usually with the excuse ‘it’s just a hobby’ or ‘as long as I make back my materials costs I’m happy because I enjoy what I do’ and other such reasons.  When I talk to most people about how they price their handmade items, most tell me they just pick a figure they think is reasonable or similar to prices in the shops.  Some even worked out their cost of materials, the time it had taken to make the item plus any overheads and then when they had picked themselves up off the floor, (and that’s without adding on any profit!),  they still chose to ignore the realistic figure and chose a figure which they thought was ‘reasonable’ and comparative.   It seems most people err on the side of caution when costing their items and charge too little rather than too much, I know I’m guilty of that! Also, even when their prices are already low they often reduce them again due to poor comments from the public or lack of sales, rather than having the confidence to stick to their own beliefs of what the item is worth.

But, here’s a thought.  Can charging too little for handmade put buyers off?  It seems some people who appreciate handmade can be put off by an item that is under priced.  I know you can sometimes think if you price something cheaply enough it will sell well, but when you price handmade items too cheaply, the first reaction by some buyers can be what’s wrong with it, why is it so cheap, must be made from cheap materials, maybe it’s not really handmade?

People who appreciate handmade, the amount of work involved and the quality and uniqueness of an item will gladly pay the right price for it.   People who don’t appreciate handmade, no matter how high or low your prices, will pick up your items and gasp when you tell them the price and go on to tell you they can buy it in Primark or other such shops for less than half that, do you really want to keep lowering your prices to please these people.  I say let them shop elsewhere?

So how do you price your crafts?  I would love to know your thoughts and opinions?


Linda x


Posted by on February 23, 2012 in Discussions


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21 responses to “The Crafty Network ~ Discussion ~ Pricing Your Crafts?

  1. Shelly Stead

    February 23, 2012 at 8:10 pm

    I really struggle with pricing and my husband always tells me I don’t charge enough for my cards. When I look at the mass produced kind of card you find in Clintons etc and the price of them, I do know he is probably right but I worry in this day and age that people won’t pay too much for a card and I won’t end up selling any. I’m ashamed to say there is no method to my pricing and I just kind of pick a figure I think is reasonable and use that. If I decide to make Little Moo Cards into a proper business I think I will definitely need to look at my pricing x

  2. Gavin Hardy

    February 23, 2012 at 8:22 pm

    So true – I have real issues with pricing my goods – I create jewellery from sea glass and although the majority of the materials i.e. findings, chain etc can be priced, the actual sea glass is difficult to value as there is no cost other than time. I try to factor in things like time taken but some colours of sea glass are so rare that I may never find another piece like it.

    I have been running my business for just under a year and fell into the trap of discounting to increase sales, but this just creates problems as then you don’t make any money, and then how do you re-introduce a higher price. The only way that I have do that is to change materials and offer a better finish in the products created. The result is alienating your original followers, however, you do open up new markets. (But it is difficult)

    I think the key is definitely to price out your materials and time and don’t forget about making a profit, because essentially that is why we are selling, in the first place. Stick to your pricing structure don’t deviate (unless using your pricing to generate cash flow – i.e. by having a sale or special every now and then.)

    Alot of comments received at events and fairs are “I can buy cheaper or I only wear this make of jewellery” – but if you get that feedback just keep on going – you have got to be thick skinned in an area where handmade is “wanted by a few, but not all.”

  3. Kimberly Walters

    February 23, 2012 at 8:28 pm

    I am told very often that I underprice my crafts. I make greeting cards. Very simple designs, no bling, no glitter, nothing outrageous. They are stamped and then colored in, never photocopied. I buy the paper to make the cards (i do not buy prefolded cards) and I am lucky enough to have a father in law who supplies me with envelopes. I charge $1 per card. It costs me in total about 29 cents per card (factoring in each sheet of paper, the amount of markers I use, supplies), but not my time. I charge $1 because I am sick of seeing $4 cards or more in the store. They are cute and simple! And you keep coming back for more!

  4. Jenn Collings

    February 23, 2012 at 8:33 pm

    well it is tricky to price things, I try and think how much would I be willing to pay. I do have an enjoyment price factored in but do you know what if I make a little profit somebody else gets a handmade gift they enjoy then thats good enough for me. In the process I give some to charity to so I think all in all I am a winner.

  5. Pearletta Wilson

    February 23, 2012 at 8:53 pm

    This is a subject i was discussing with someone just the other day. Although I try to stick to a method I too worry that if I charge more I will be subject to comments that may wither my resolve to ‘make a profit’. My sister tells me all the time that I should charge no less than £5 for a basic A6 greeting card and she never pays me less. However I am not brave enough to do this either on my stall or in my online store. When you look at other online shops (Folksy and Etsy for example) and see what they are charging it makes it even harder to charge even £4 for a card. I tend to price according to how much work I put into the making and whether I drew my design or used a pre-made card motif. My sister reckons that charging a higher price reflects the fact that it’s handmade so I am definitely going to review my prices before I list any more items or do another craft fair.

  6. Maureen Brazier

    February 23, 2012 at 9:20 pm

    I love making Quilts or anything to do with needlework and embroidery. I dont think people realise how much it costs to make a Quilt. I can use 10 – 12 metres of fabric in a Quilt and the batting in the middle is always good quality – that in itself can cost me £30. My fabrics are all cotton and you cannot buy cotton for much less than £7 – £8 metre. Then there is the cotton/embroidery thread. I am sure by now you are adding this up. I can then work on a Quilt for many weeks or even months depending on the ease or difficulty of the pattern. II love making them but trying to sell them for what it costs is difficult – trying to sell them at a profit is very difficult. So do I stop doing something I love or continue to spend my time doing something I love knowing that I will probably sell it at a loss. I will probably carry on doing the latter and just be pleased when someone admires what I have made. – Maureen – Sewflair

  7. Susan HILL

    February 23, 2012 at 11:56 pm

    I am just starting my business and I’m struggling to price my Jewellery, especially when I look around at others who make similar things to me and see how little they charge. I think its such a shame we under value our work, and are under valued by other people to, we are talented to be able to make what we do and should charge appropriately for all the time and effort that we put into our craft. I dont want to fall in to the trap of under charging just to get sales and then not being able to put my prices up. Any advice you be greatly appreciated. Susan from Susie sparkles jewellery x

  8. Bella Boutique

    February 24, 2012 at 7:12 am

    I am in the camp of working out how much it has cost in materials to make the item then researching other similar ‘handmade’ items (as opposed to price in retail shops of bulk ‘made in the far east’ items) and I then work out how many I could make in an hour and price so that I’m getting at least minimum wage an hour. e.g. item cost to make & package £2, possible to make 7 in an hour so I need to sell at £3 so that in an hour I could make 7, sell them for £21 in total, put £14 to one side to cover the ‘making’ costs and make £7 profit. Hope that makes sense and sorry for simple explanation, not intended to cause offense just wanted to easily articulate. That said if I do all that and it comes out at some ridiculous price I am victim of dropping the price as long as it’s not a bestseller – I think the key for me has been having a wide enough product range that if something is making less than the minimum wage profit that I have something else that’s really efficient to make and has a higher profit margin.

    Interested to see how others do it as I do have a real struggle with this!

  9. Alison Willcocks

    February 24, 2012 at 5:02 pm

    I used to make Jewellery and would charge what I would consider a fair price, (cost of materials, an hourly rate and double) more than some crafters would charge as each piece was a one off. I used to sell at craft fairs. I have given up making jewellery now because I was up against so many crafters selling items too cheaply, not valuing the work involved or their own skills for that matter.

    I have started crocheting and textiles and am finding pricing even more difficult now! Because I sell only at craft fairs at the moment, I’m afraid I too am guilty of selling my items too cheaply as I don’t think I would get any sales if I priced them according to the time it took!

    I really think a lot of this pricing is down to where you are selling. If you were able to sell in a high end store alongside similar contemporary items then I think you stand far more chance of achieving the price they are worth. But in order to achieve sales at craft fairs, I think prices need to be more competitive. What do others think?

  10. Joanna Stair

    February 25, 2012 at 1:57 am

    I do tend to price my crocheting very low. I’ve found that if I price it at what I think is a fair price it won’t sell. Then I’m stuck with it until the next show (craft show) So I try to make up for the small price by making more items. I will make sure, though, that I get the price of my yarn etc. back from the items.

    My mom is in the same boat. She makes wood crafts. She finds the pattern, cuts them out, sands, paints, and finishes them. This is an amazing amount of work. Sometimes when she puts a price that she thinks is fair on an item they don’t sell. And that is just a shame, she is an amazing artist. We had one person pick up an item and tell someone across the aisle what the price was. The other woman then, in a VERY loud voice, exclaimed $4! I didn’t say what I wanted to say to her, but I wasn’t polite!

  11. Sharon

    February 25, 2012 at 4:39 am

    I am guilty of underpricing my work IF I am doing work for certain people (such as senior citizens) but otherwise I usually have a straight price for certain items – $150 for afghans (the more the complex the pattern the higher the price), However for the most part, most of my crocheting is done for charity so no money is exchanged.

  12. The Crafty Network

    February 25, 2012 at 10:25 am

    Many thanks for all your comments, keep them coming, it’s really good to see what you all think and hear your experiences regarding pricing.

    It does seem that most people do undercharge for their crafts, mainly because they fear that the buyers won’t buy their items if priced fairly. We seem to be all conscious of comparing ourselves to retail shops who sell mass produced items, but to be fair I think that’s because the buying public does. How do we educate the public to appreciate the time and effort it takes to make handmade items? Linda x

    • Susie

      April 16, 2012 at 12:08 pm

      I totally agree with you Linda, I sell jewellery and have been to craft fairs were people are selling jewellery on there stalls when there stalls arn’t even jewellery stalls but are sewn products or cards and are selling so much cheaper than me, how can you compete with that, I know how long it takes to make something and know they are selling at a loss so why are they doing it, it baffles me and makes it so much harder for everyone who wants to make a living out of it. If everyone priced correctly we could all benifite in the long run, we should be valuing our time and ability . Susie sparkles jewellery x

  13. CountryClaire

    February 25, 2012 at 7:05 pm

    Yes, it frustrates me to no end to have another person at a fair selling at cost or even below. I use acrylic yarn for those types of afghans because of the hypoallergic properties of acrylic. But, as most of us are aware, there are nice, soft, sturdy acrylic yarns and there are the old, scratchy acrylic yarns.

    I had one lady complain to the fair monitors because I was describing her old, scratchy acrylic yarn afghans as what they were … something she had picked up in job-lot purchases from auctions, etc. and compared them to my one-of-a-kind, modern acrylic yarn afghans. Now, be aware that I had actually seen this lady doing what I said at an auction we were both at, so I was being completly truthful in pointing out the difference in quality between our wares when the buyer asked why the price difference. And, the monitor agreed with me.

    As it was, I was selling my afghans at $100USD for a one color, simple stitch, 45″x60″ 10-skein afghan. She was selling a comprable afghan made with 1960-1970-era acrylic yarn for $25USD – way over priced IMHO. As it is, I will be raising my price as we just had a price increase on yarn, so what was a $100USD afghan will soon be a $125USD afghan. Right now, at $4.20+/- per skein, a 10-skein afghan costs me ~$45 so my profit margin after the 10+/- hours it takes to complete one afghan is only about $10USD. Now, that is if I can’t find the yarn on discount. Even when I find the yarn on discount, I use local retail price on materials as that is the price point I am competing with.

    And, also if you look at it the way I do, I am only being paid a profit for my expertise and the quality I produce … the materials and hourly wage cost are “fixed” costs and the only variable between me and any other crocheter is our level of expertise and sense of design.

    I also include an information package with my card and the manufacturer’s wash/care instruction section from the yarn band clipped out and laminated to the back of my contact card. My card also details a repair offer which has generated me additional paying work. This also means that I do buy old acrylic and orlon yarn so I can make repairs in the material their mother/grandmother used to make their afghan.

  14. Tracey Christie

    March 1, 2012 at 6:13 pm

    Yes I totally agree that most people are looking for cheap. When I decided I wanted to start making and selling bags, I was told my price was far to low, so after some thought and working out costs I decided to up them a little. I don’t make much, just cover the cost’s with maybe a couple of pounds over. I have taken my items to craft fairs and found that people look, check the price and walk on. They don’t understand quality, time, and the fact that they are unique items and not mass produced. since I started making and selling my bags last Feb I have sold approx 175 items, mainly through face book and Folksy. I will continue to make them at the moment, but a time will come I think when I will have to rethink the project as I am not making enough money

    • The Crafty Network

      March 1, 2012 at 7:02 pm

      Do you know what I think the secret is. Keep making your higher priced bags, but also have something smaller and of a lesser value, for example a purse, ipod case, ds case etc. These then become your staples for selling at craft fairs, because people don’t always have the money at these events. Lx

      • Tracey Christie

        March 2, 2012 at 9:27 am

        I made a selection of coin purses and priced them at a very reasonable price of £5.50 each, and in a year I have only sold 12, so I now only make them as special ordres to go with bags etc. I have a friend who makes ipad, ipod, and kindle sleeves, so I don’t want to tread on anyones toe’s. I was thinking of making a sample bag up for special occassions, like wedding’s, but again these could end up being a little expensive as the frames cost such a lot to start with. Maybe things will turn around in time. Thanks for the advice xx

      • The Crafty Network

        March 2, 2012 at 10:04 am

        I am so surprised you don’t sell more purses, I saw them on Folksy and they are lovely. I think it is the current climate not your products, I’m hoping things do turn around soon for you and everyone else. Lx

  15. Katelyn Townsend

    June 29, 2012 at 8:34 pm

    My formulas (there’s a few) mean my items cost a fair bit. I also work forwards rather than backwards. I plan my ranges before I make them.

    First I create a year plan for items. Ranges and the amount of items in that range. I then find out my YFN amount. This is the sum I will be spending on everything else that needs to be accounted for. I figure this out by a little calculated guestimating lols! So I decide my shop fees I’m willing to spend within the year, make a rough guess on the paypal fees (based on the ranges I plan to make), advertising I will be paying for, office supplies and anything else. I then divide this number by the number of items I have decided to make.This gives me a sum to add to each item I make that takes in these costs.

    Then, say my upcoming range of badges. I create the artwork and time it. I take the time and time’s hourly by £8.00. I then double this. This creates my “base value” for the art. I then decide how many items will use that piece of art and divide the base value by this number. That creates my art cost for each item. I then double the price of each component used and add on my YFN total.

    I pay myself a wage of £8.00 an hour on time taken and add this to the total as well. The entire product cost is then doubled.

    Well, that’s my complicated arse formula anyway 😛 I found it the best ting for myself (especially when planning my year)

    • The Crafty Network

      July 1, 2012 at 3:00 pm

      Wow, Think I might have to read your comment again to understand how you do your pricing. It obviously works wel for you and I’d never thought of doing it that way. Thanks for sharing this with us. Linda x

      • Katelyn Townsend

        July 1, 2012 at 5:26 pm

        It’s alot longer and more complicated than anyone else’s I’ve seen BUT if I want to make MBI work as a business I need to price to cover my costs, take into account profit, wages and any possible wholesaling too >.< I came up with this after trying to account for everything and realising I wasn't breaking it down properly lols! 😀


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