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Topic: Advice on how to price wares......  (Read 2482 times)
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StaceyLeeSews
« on: September 04, 2013 08:51:43 PM »

I really need some advice on how to price my crafted items (crochet, sewing, jewellery, pottery). Yes, I know too many crafts, hence reason to sell selling, that and people constantly asking me if I could make them.....one. 
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Ludi
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« Reply #1 on: September 19, 2013 02:54:48 PM »

I've been asking people how much they would pay for one if I made one for them.  But it is hard to get an answer!   Tongue
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Chris in VT
« Reply #2 on: September 20, 2013 04:02:01 AM »

http://www.craftscalculator.com/

Thisis a handy tool to help price your work. One good thing about it is that if you have something that is time intensive, you can see whether or not it's a viable item to sell at shows.

You put in your cost of materials, the time spent, and how much profit you want, 10% to 100%. Then you click your level of expertise.
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There's NOTHING at a craft show, or on Etsy, anybody NEEDS. NOTHING.
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« Reply #3 on: September 20, 2013 05:40:51 AM »

Wow, one can maybe earn California minimum wage.  Hurrah.  Sad

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Chris in VT
« Reply #4 on: September 20, 2013 06:57:38 AM »

Wow, one can maybe earn California minimum wage.  Hurrah.  Sad
I know a number of full time crafters like myself and many of them make a very nice income. I make a nice "middle class" income and I'm comfortable.

The big boys who travel can make 6 figure incomes. And yes, I said "boys". There are just as many men in our business as women.

But to us this is a serious business. We work at it just like a "real" job. We work sometimes 12 to 18 hours a day during the busy season, and then pack up and do shows on weekends.
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« Reply #5 on: September 20, 2013 04:23:00 PM »

I realized I was not using the calculator correctly, I had it set for a low profit.

Incidentally, I make things for a living, and have done so for 25 years.  Smiley  

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« Reply #6 on: September 22, 2013 05:03:33 AM »

When you ask people what they'd pay for something, make sure you're asking someone who has more experience shopping than the clearance aisle at Walmart. And don't ask friends and family because they'll either try to make you feel good with a too-high price, or if they don't know why you bother wasting your time on crafts, set everything at $5-10. You can go to a craft show and see for yourself how much things go for. Head over to etsy and find some of the items you make and calculate an average price based on the stores that are actually selling those things. Visuals can be helpful for crafters.
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Chris in VT
« Reply #7 on: September 23, 2013 04:18:03 AM »

I realized I was not using the calculator correctly, I had it set for a low profit.

Incidentally, I make things for a living, and have done so for 25 years.  Smiley  


So how did it work for you? When you put in the numbers, did it come out with a reasonable price?

It's good to know other full timers too.  (40 shows a year) This has been my only job for the same length of time as you. So you know the dedication it takes to do this full time.
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catlover1981
« Reply #8 on: September 26, 2013 02:58:54 AM »

wow I wouldnt go by the calculator says my hats should sell for $30 Ive been trying on ebay etc at $15 and cant get anywhere so Im not sure how accurate this is.
Unless your the fastest knitter or crocheter it seems like the made in china items can outsource everyone
And I went down to 10% profit to lowest it will go and its still quoting me at $20 for my hats
« Last Edit: September 26, 2013 03:01:02 AM by catlover1981 » THIS ROCKS   Logged
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« Reply #9 on: September 29, 2013 06:49:27 PM »


So how did it work for you? When you put in the numbers, did it come out with a reasonable price?

It's good to know other full timers too.  (40 shows a year) This has been my only job for the same length of time as you. So you know the dedication it takes to do this full time.

I think the price might be reasonable, but I'm not sure if anyone will pay it!   :p

Your dedication going to craft fairs is far in excess of my dedication working in my field of endeavor which only requires me to work at home!  Smiley  (I make custom items for a very small clientele)
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« Reply #10 on: September 29, 2013 06:51:18 PM »


Unless your the fastest knitter or crocheter it seems like the made in china items can outsource everyone
And I went down to 10% profit to lowest it will go and its still quoting me at $20 for my hats

Personally I don't think craftspeople should try to compete with China.  We simply can't.  What we can do is make quality items by hand, for a select clientele who appreciate fine craft.


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Chris in VT
« Reply #11 on: September 30, 2013 04:32:21 AM »

I don't use the calculator, as I know what to ask for my work. Someone on a forum suggested it and I just remembered the site.

When I do  a craft show, I know the people who will attend are not mentally pricing at Wal Mart prices. They come to the shows knowing the exhibitors are all making their work, and know the quality that is there.

But some things are just too labor intensive to get a fair price. I was at a show recently and a young lady was selling amigurumi animals. She was asking anywhere from $35 to $50 each. I don't think she sold anything. The space fee was $385, and she was not a happy camper. What she needed was a way to cut the time necessary to make the animals. I know there are crochet machines out there for under $100.

That's how you compete with China.
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There's NOTHING at a craft show, or on Etsy, anybody NEEDS. NOTHING.
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« Reply #12 on: September 30, 2013 05:56:19 AM »

But then it maybe isn't hand crafted.  I could buy an embroidery machine, but it would not make embroidery that looks like my own, and I couldn't feel comfortable calling it "hand made".

Disclaimer:  I probably shouldn't even be posting here in the business section, since for me it's more a discussion of philosophy.  I've always been interested more in art than in money.  I've only ever made money by making things.  Chris has a corporate background, probably more suited to business, whereas I have a making things background, first as an employee and then as an owner of my own business.  But I have never been that interested in the business end of it, more in the craft/art end of it.   Cheesy  I'm interested in this discussion of prices, however, because I'm looking at moving into a completely different area of creativity from my current livelihood.
« Last Edit: September 30, 2013 07:37:57 AM by Ludi » THIS ROCKS   Logged

Chris in VT
« Reply #13 on: September 30, 2013 03:19:46 PM »

Yes I was in a corporate setting for 20 years. But I walked away in 1994 to do craft shows full time after doing them part time for 14 years. So yes, the business end is part of my job. And 50% of this business is selling your work.

Crafters use machinery every day. Jewelers use tumblers to polish the stones,
How about a clothing designer who uses an electric sewing machine? Woodworkers use power tools every day and call their work handcrafted.

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There's NOTHING at a craft show, or on Etsy, anybody NEEDS. NOTHING.
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« Reply #14 on: October 04, 2013 08:21:30 AM »

I know there are crochet machines out there for under $100.


Just a small point here - there aren't any crochet machines.  Machines can't crochet.  Sometimes some machines are called "crochet machines" but either the company or its advertisers are translating it into English incorrectly, or the machine is trying to mimic crochet with weaving and/or knitting.  Either way, the machines aren't crocheting and they aren't producing a crocheted fabric.
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Chris in VT
« Reply #15 on: October 05, 2013 04:08:32 AM »

I stand corrected.  Living proof that you can learn something new every day, no matter how long you have been in the business.
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« Reply #16 on: October 05, 2013 07:36:59 AM »

Crochet, knit, the customer doesn't know the difference either (I can't even say I've ever heard an explanation of the difference that I understood either)! But using a machine to do the, er, weaving or looping is a way to get the labor done. Do you really, really need to say you spent a load of time making that knit hat with a pom-pom? Tedious labor is only part of creativity, and the customer in this case doesn't care if you spent 5 minutes or 5 hours making that hat. The "craft" here is knowing what to do with the yarn to make it into a hat.

And we can spend hours talking about China, but crafters don't stop being crafters once they become successful. They still think up and make things, they just use more machines to do it. I object to cheap goods that fall apart in 5 minutes, but there's a really fine line there between craft and factory crap. Interesting when you think about it.
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Krissy.me
« Reply #17 on: October 05, 2013 12:22:39 PM »

While I love making things and can make a lot more than I offer to sell.  The part that I hate the most is setting up my prices.   Too high or too low and it can make or break you.

Thanks for the calculator link I had not seen that before.  I main business is selling "cosmetics" as defined by the FDA so I use the rule of thumb that many others use is to take bare costs and multiply by 3 or 4 to get your selling price. 

But I just wanted to add that prices may vary greatly depending if they are sold online or locally.  Locally an item may sell for X amount and sell like hotcakes and you can't keep it in stock in one place but another part of the united states you couldn't sell it if you tried for the same price because the customers there think the price is too high.  So prices can vary greatly.   

But online sales can be also hard to compare because of quality differences.   Just as an example, you could take two bars of cold process soap that are made by two different people.  Both selling for the same price but one is made by someone who is more experienced and has quality ingredients and is a balanced recipe.  While the other uses grocery store oils (such as high amounts of canola oil which will go rancid quickly and cause DOS, no or very little castor or too much coconut oil as examples) and has a very poor recipe.....  So it's hard to know the quality you are getting online.  Even with feedback you can have people's comments who don't know squat about the quality so they may think they are getting a grand item when they don't know the difference between good quality and bad quality.  I have seen this very often in feedback comments on sellers on eBay and etsy.

Another interesting item sold that is very different is those that use premade bases such as a lotion base or a soap melt and pour base.  Many sell them using key words as to make them appear as if they are the made from scratch type so it's also misleading.  Only if you look at the ingredient list if it's given will you know the difference if you know what your looking for of course.   I'm not saying that is bad but it's a bit dishonest IMHO.  But there are some who make soaps that require a lot of talent because of coloring and layers and various techniques.  But on average I hate to see them price the same as someone who has taken the time to learn about their art rather than melt, scent and pour.  I'll get off my soap box now about that.... LOL  But price wise I think those that use bases shouldn't be pricing the same as someone who makes something from scratch.   

Other handmade items are a bit more obvious such as sewn items or things that are recycling as the photo's can speak for themselves.  If it looks like it was made by a 2 year old then chances are the person doesn't have much experience and they are just trying to make a quick profit.  But there are a lot of people who make true works of art and should be priced fairly for their work.  Yet others if they actually put a dollar sign to their time it would never sell.... Quilts are a good example.  I have made and sold a number of quilts but never priced them for their true value because the hours spent were a lot and I knew they would never sell for that but I didn't sell them for the same cheap price that those that take a length of fabric put it between a bottom layer and some batting, tie knots with yarn every so many inches and call it a quilt either.   There is a big difference between those that make quilts that way and someone who cuts pieces of fabric and actually sews and actually quilts.

So the bottom line is you also need to price your item based on what it will sell for that is a realistic price rather than based on the time put into the piece sometimes.  There is such a variation on handmade items that it's hard to put a once size fits all pricing rate to all handcrafted handmade items.   

It's a very difficult thing to do sometimes........
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I make soap and other "cosmetics" as defined by the FDA and in my spare time I sew.... Sewing is therapy for me in dealing with life stresses and my chronic pain.  When I hurt and can't sew, I plan what I want to sew.  I also have a great husband, three kids and three fur kids.....
catlover1981
« Reply #18 on: January 02, 2014 01:13:01 PM »

There is a knitting machine I see them online(see picture) idk what the end product looks like, Im sure they cost a lot and probably not worth the money you would invest.
Went to a few craft sales and my area its hard to compete hats go for $1 each scarfs $3-5 baby blankets $10-15 Stuffed animals $1-5 each depending on size. only thing ive seen making big bucks are big blankets twin /full going $50-75 here queen and king $150+
I find I cant compete in my area and have given up until I can have a big inventory that way when stuff only sells for $1 im not upset lol, best thing is go to a craft fair and see what others are charging thats how i got a idea also flea markets seem to sell this kind of stuff and cragslist are the places I know to look.
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« Reply #19 on: January 10, 2014 02:58:36 AM »

There's always going to be a lot of competition for the simplest of crafts. Hats, scarves, baby sized blankets. These are easy to craft, so naturally folks will be attracted to make a quick buck for a quick craft. Unless you're an other-worldly marketing demon of some kind, you're not going to make a lot of profit from what everyone else is doing. You have to set yourself apart, either in your marketing or your craft, or accept the fact that you're going to be just one of the crowd.
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Chris in VT
« Reply #20 on: January 10, 2014 04:01:24 AM »

There's always going to be a lot of competition for the simplest of crafts. Hats, scarves, baby sized blankets. These are easy to craft, so naturally folks will be attracted to make a quick buck for a quick craft. Unless you're an other-worldly marketing demon of some kind, you're not going to make a lot of profit from what everyone else is doing. You have to set yourself apart, either in your marketing or your craft, or accept the fact that you're going to be just one of the crowd.
BINGO!!

My wife and I work very hard to be the only ones at the shows making what we make. I have my product, and she has hers. Many times we'll take two spaces and since our work is so different, nobody would know we're a married couple. Just two crafters side by side. But nobody else in the show has what we're selling.
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There's NOTHING at a craft show, or on Etsy, anybody NEEDS. NOTHING.
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Ludi
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« Reply #21 on: January 13, 2014 04:59:05 PM »

I hope you will show us examples of your crafts some day, Chris.

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Chris in VT
« Reply #22 on: January 15, 2014 03:55:14 AM »

My website is at the bottom of all my posts. www.shadypinestudios.com
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Adagia520
« Reply #23 on: May 14, 2014 06:59:41 AM »

If you find a way to make an item faster, is it better to lower the price or give yourself a raise and continue with the established price?  It used to take me 4 hours to make a doll and now I can get one finished in about 2.5 hours.  At their current price they're not flying off the shelves but they do sell regularly.
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Chris in VT
« Reply #24 on: May 15, 2014 03:29:51 AM »

If you find a way to make an item faster, is it better to lower the price or give yourself a raise and continue with the established price?  It used to take me 4 hours to make a doll and now I can get one finished in about 2.5 hours.  At their current price they're not flying off the shelves but they do sell regularly.
First you determine the 'market value' of your product. And sometimes it's so low it isn't worth making if it's time intensive.

After the value has been determined, you find as many ways as possible to lower your costs as well as time spent. Buying raw materials in bulk to save 50% over retail costs for example. And of course finding a faster way to make it thus saving time.

Oh and a little off topic, but I go to my website first thing every day and this morning was our 3,000th web order.
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« Reply #25 on: June 11, 2014 12:11:07 PM »


And we can spend hours talking about China, but crafters don't stop being crafters once they become successful. They still think up and make things, they just use more machines to do it. I object to cheap goods that fall apart in 5 minutes, but there's a really fine line there between craft and factory crap. Interesting when you think about it.

I never have, until I read this discussion. Your answer is giving me a lot to think about. You're right, the line is pretty thin, and it seems to be very personal. One person's 'hand-made' is another's 'factory made' or at least 'machine made'. As a con goer I think the only answer that would keep me from buying from someone is if it was a straight reseller of a craft or if they used a machine for the bulk of the creative work, like just copying and pasting two images together to call it art, or based their fan music video completely off of a template with little or no imagination of their own involved. I guess I draw the line between 'labor saving' and 'imagination substitute'. But I think everyone draws that differently, and for the most part, I'm OK with that. 
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