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Topic: An Underselling Discussion: crafting problem everywhere...  (Read 25386 times)
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umbrellamaker
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« Reply #10 on: February 05, 2006 05:08:47 PM »

this isn't just a problem with crafting, it's a problem across the creative industry. I work as a graphic artist, and people literally sell themselves into slave labor. I'm not quite sure what the answer is, although I think the tides are shifting. More and more, I see people valueing the original, the unique, and the personalized, rather than the mass produced. Look at iPod cozies and cellphone customizations for a case in point.
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seaofstars
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« Reply #11 on: February 05, 2006 05:18:21 PM »

I think underpricing is a huge issue in the indie craft world, but I must admit, I'm guilty of it from time to time.

When you browse through the sold items in etsy, generally, a majority of everything sold are the smaller/underpriced items. I don't want to get into the quality issue, but I also see a lot of cheap items that are obviously not quality made going quicker than well-priced, well-crafted work. And, how can you compete with that? I mean, all of my items are fairly priced (to me and the public) but if someone is offering something similar for a much lower price, I can't sit and wait with the belief that eventually people will catch my shop, see the quality and pay for it. The competition on etsy, as well as other places is way too high. There are SO many other shops, and there are wonderful artists out there who aren't going to get the business just because of the thousands of options.

So, once in awhile.. I'll cut my end of the pay, and price something enough to cover cost and a few bucks profit. It gets the views to my shop so people can see my more time consuming (and therefore pricier) work.

There's not many places where I live where consignment is an option. I live in a predominately conservative  area where pricing is everything. There are not many hip shops so I don't have any local venues. The one and only decent gallery to sell your work is a 50/50 shop.. they take 50% and they don't sell much due to how high their artists are forced to price their work.  I'd say 80% of the people in my area would consider $40 for a handmade purse extremely too high. I definitely don't, but thats just the market I'm in.


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« Reply #12 on: February 05, 2006 05:23:07 PM »

There are a lot of online shops that will consign. Check out the Switchboards for many sites like that.
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froggerng
« Reply #13 on: February 05, 2006 06:02:33 PM »

I had to chuckle when I read about cebsme's mom- that description fits me to a T.  The only reason I sell my crafted goods is because I can't possibly keep and use them all myself.  I get most of my materials for -ahem- minimal cost, because of my job, and I'm a fast sewer so it really doesn't take me long to make anything I have posted in my shop (with the exception of the crocheted camo bag.)  All that said, I really do make these things because I love to.  It's great fun, fabulous stress relief, and I love the feeling of accomplishment when I finish something really pretty.  I don't need the money (although it's nice), but I do need to make things, and I have a bit of an entrepreneurial spirit. 

I do believe that each crafter should price their items according to what they believe is fair and right for them.  If a customer falls in love with a piece, they'll usually be willing to pay what is being asked.
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jasfitz
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« Reply #14 on: February 05, 2006 06:02:48 PM »

I agree with you and sympathize with this trend of undercutting costs. Indie is all about selling your stuff at the price it's worth. Big business is about undercutting the work of your competitors. To me, when I go to Etsy, I see crafters selling and "marketing" as though they are in big business. I personally find Etsy to be a pool for this type of "marketing." I don't think some Etsy sellers are thinking about how to properly price their items as much as they are just trying to sell something and make the money back from the cost of materials, with the incentive that they can buy new materials and do it all over again. Perhaps they're thinking of it as more of an experience, you know? Perhaps it's the experience of making something rather than the experience of selling it. I'm not placing judgement there when I say that, but I know for some who make crafts, that's all it's about for them.

This is a super-good point. I'm totally supportive of the crafter that just wants enough money to support their hobby. Thank you for pointing this out. On the other hand, I guess I have a problem with the "valuing" of all the hard work... if you charge 10 bucks for something that cost you 10 to make, then it's likely perhaps to be either casually purchased by someone who doesn't value the effort and creativity that went into it (thus maybe not appreciating it enough?) or perhaps are giving people the impression that your hard work is not of equal or greater value than all those mass-produced items.

I'm not trying to make a living off of my crafting right now. But I would like to make a "profit", because for me, breaking even should *include* being paid for my hard work. Every crafter I know seems to dream of the possibility of making a living doing this thing that they love, but so few believe it's possible largely because of this issue. I know this is also a creative industry issue. I'm studying graphic design, and my studio teacher frequently tells us, "of course you'll have to work for free for a while, it's a given". ugh. It feels like this whole underselling problem is the reason that it's so hard to pursue that silly/crazy goal. Maybe I just don't like being told "oh, yeah (laugh) right. like you're really going to be able to do that!". It is a creative profession problem, I do agree.

Quote
There's not many places where I live where consignment is an option. I live in a predominately conservative  area where pricing is everything. There are not many hip shops so I don't have any local venues. The one and only decent gallery to sell your work is a 50/50 shop.. they take 50% and they don't sell much due to how high their artists are forced to price their work.  I'd say 80% of the people in my area would consider $40 for a handmade purse extremely too high. I definitely don't, but thats just the market I'm in.
seaofstars, you have such wonderful stuff, and I know it's worth far more than you charge for it. i totally enderstand "sale" prices or promotional things, but I wish crafters were making what they deserved. Some do! (very few). i guess I wonder why such few can manage to be so successful despite this problem. anyway, lots and lots of small stores all over the country are super excited to consign your product and sometimes wholesale. you should really look into it as an option! I sell some of my items at a 50/50 consignment shop, but by pricing at a more err.... "standard" and "valuing the handmade" retail, it means I'm still taking home a fair cut. I don't know, it's worked super well for me.

Quote
More and more, I see people valueing the original, the unique, and the personalized, rather than the mass produced. Look at iPod cozies and cellphone customizations for a case in point.
well, I agree that the original and unique is way more in-demand... but I'm not convinced that these pieces are being fairly valued, based on all the low prices I found on etsy, recently.

I'm bothered by the idea that because I love to do something, I shouldn't want to or like to also try to make money from it.
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« Reply #15 on: February 05, 2006 06:11:46 PM »

That's why I switched from being an illustration major to teaching. I didn't want to have to peddle myself, nor work for free, as your teacher has accurately put it. If you're good at what you do, you won't have to do much work for free, but you'll always have to peddle. LOL. People WILL catch on to you, provided that you market yourself the right way.  My web designer is the perfect example. I caught on to her when she had only a handful of sites designed - maybe 20, and a lot were small sites. Her prices were cheaper then. I see that now she doesn't even have prices on her site! I know she's busy because others looking for sites say that she's turning work away. That's pretty impressive considering.
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wandalicious
« Reply #16 on: February 05, 2006 06:22:48 PM »

well, I agree that the original and unique is way more in-demand... but I'm not convinced that these pieces are being fairly valued, based on all the low prices I found on etsy, recently.

I'm bothered by the idea that because I love to do something, I shouldn't want to or like to also try to make money from it.

Speaking as a consumer and not a crafter, (I haven't shopped on Etsy) I think that it's also a matter of education to "teach" your customers what went into your product. A lot of people really don't know the difference between work that is hand stitched, beaded, painted, or embellished and what is being done in 3rd world countries for pennies on the dollar. I recently purchased a purse from TrophyQueen.com and I happily paid over $200 (custom design). When I discussed the purchase with my mom (a long-time crafter) she encouraged me to support local artisans rather than big companies; her rationale was that if people will pay that much or more for Coach bag or Dooney & Burke, then why not support an Artist who is doing custom work, hand sewing, tuck n' roll, etc.? But that is how I was raised - to value quality and not always a bargain. By the way, I LOVE my purse and get compliments every day! I never regret the expense, and knowing that I supported a local artist makes it even better for me. So, I encourage Crafters to really get the word out there about their ability/quality with a good website, word of mouth, etc. and then not to compromise on their prices!

Just my $.02
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GeorgiaN
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« Reply #17 on: February 06, 2006 07:57:46 AM »

Well to be honest, figuring out your price is really difficult to do!

I try to budget myself on each bag that I make so that I meet a profit margin between two "reasonable" values. I'm not out to extort people, and I do this as a hobby, not for a living.

The way I look at it is, why buy my bags, when you can go to eBags.com and get designer knock-offs for the same price or less? If I sold my bags for $40.00 (which is what I would actually like to sell them at), no one would buy them. Hell, I posted that price here on Craftster and people bawlked at it.
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« Reply #18 on: February 06, 2006 08:01:38 AM »

I think $40 for your larger items is a very reasonable price. You have nice stuff! Consider joining the Switchboards. You can get more advice from others who do sell at higher prices, and also learn how to market them so you continue to get that higher price.
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starlene
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« Reply #19 on: February 06, 2006 08:01:53 AM »

Ah, pricing!  I think we all know what our hard work is worth.  I think it is more about being competitive and going with what the market calls for.  There is a lot of competition out there for sure, some well made and some cheaply done things.  I don't mind paying for something that I like and that is the kind of customer that I hope to attract.

Fortunately my income is not dependant on me selling bags, but I would love to be able to support myself doing something I LOVE and I love making bags.

For me, I have decided that I will continue making the bags I love and pricing them the way I think is fair.  I put a lot of work into it so underselling is not an option.

Good luck to everyone and keep on crafting!

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