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Topic: An Underselling Discussion: crafting problem everywhere...  (Read 30171 times)
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Strange Grounds
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Strange Grounds Coffee, 1417 S Broadway, Denver CO

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« Reply #80 on: January 03, 2008 08:38:02 AM »

see, i read this thread, and it makes me feel good and bad.  i have a terrible problem selling anything i make.  i can't stand to ask for money.  hell, i couldn't even be comfortable selling things i made on WoW! and i can trace it back to my first job.  when i was 13, i was a terrific painter.  i loved to paint, and i was really good at it.  my friend's mom owned an ostrich ranch, and she had a contract to supply 'authentic desert scenes' painted on ostrich eggs to a model home company in japan. like, the epitome of kitsch.  she talked me into painting eggs for her, at a whopping $2 apiece.  now bear in mind that this was the first time being paid for my work.  and i liked erica's mom, she was always nice to me (and hell, looking back on it it was a DAMN smart move on her part, as her brother owned the company in japan, and she was getting $28 for every $2 she paid me.) so i was easy to convince, and hey, i liked painting, right?  i had to teach myself to paint on a specialized surface (a big damn egg) with new materials (id only used acrylic and watercolor pans, and she supplied liquid watercolors) and the first few took 3-4 hours each.  after the first 20 or so, i got it down to half an hour. (i grew up in the desert, so finding beauty around me to translate to a scenic landscape wasn't hard.)  i ended up painting a total of 72 in a month. (it was summer vacation.) when i had had enough, i politely declined any further painting.  i didn't paint much after that for years.  from this experience i learned several things. 1) i'm a pushover.  2) having a 'responsibility' to do something you love doing can quickly turn it into something you loathe.  3)don't be fooled into undervaluing yourself.  everything you create is a piece of yourself, is a reflection of yourself.  however, that last part didn't come right away.  all i knew then was that apparently, my time wasn't worth much.  even though i know its worth more now, im still haunted by the thought that maybe i'm wrong, maybe i'm not worth much at all.  so while i understand the need to ask for a fair price based on the hard work that went into something, i can see how easy it is to make low prices because maybe you have low self esteem. 

Strange Grounds Coffee
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« Reply #81 on: January 04, 2008 08:56:54 AM »

I crochet with plastic bags. I've been doing it for about 2 1/2 yrs now, so to me it feels more normal that crocheting with yarn; I 'forget' that for the first few projects it took me much longer to make a simple rug just because I was trying to get used to the different texture; how many times I had to unravel a bag or purse because the pieces weren't joining up the way I wanted them to, or the way I was trying to do something didn't work so I had to come up with another idea to make it work (I didn't have a pattern to follow, I made them up as I went along). my materials are basically free to me (when you consider that I would be bringing them home anyway when I bought anything, I have friends and family who save bags for me too; my husband has asked some stores for some extra bags- especially if they have a hard to find color- and I have been known to ask at some grocery stores if I can raid their bag bin for a project I am working on) so I only really have to factor in my time when I sell something. and the time I spend on a project is usually time I am watching tv ,or waiting for someone or something- basically could be considered wasted time anyway.

I keep hearing (especially from my husband) that my biggest problem is I don't try to sell... when someone asks me how hard something was to do- to me it is easy since I have been doing it for awhile now- so I tell them that it's not hard; someone asks how long it took me to make a rug (or a purse or a tote bag) and I tell them the minimum time it took to make one- IF I can just crochet til it's done, IF my 3 yr old doesn't keep interupting me, IF I have all my supplies ready to go- I don't factor in the time it took to sort the bags by color, to cut the strips of plastic, to attach the strips and wind them into balls (the time consuming parts of the whole process). so he says I give them the impression that anyone could just sit down and whip one out if they had even a basic understanding of crocheting. and he thinks I don't try hard enough to make a sale at craft shows- I don't push; if someone wants to buy it they will. (some people have admitted they would rather try to make it themselves before they buy it, and that's ok with me too).

some friends think I don't sell much because it's priced wrong; some say too high, others too low. I know I had some purses in a store on consignment, owner priced them himself at $45- and they are slowly selling. but at a craft show, I wasn't selling many at $25 (basically what I got from the ones that sold at the store) because people thought they were expensive... despite all the people who stopped to feel the texture who loved the idea. so at this point I keep making them because I like to do something with my hands, I make some sales through word of mouth (former customers and friends who tell others about me) and will probably try different shows or internet consignments. or I can just give my stuff to friends and family as gifts...
« Reply #82 on: January 07, 2008 08:32:42 PM »

I haven't read all the posts on this topic yet, but I must say, I agree!  I have a tendency to undersell myself and this tendency was pointed out to me by the guy who started me off on leathercraft.  He told me that unless you absolutely must get your work sold immediately for some pressing reason, you need to price it at what it's worth.  Consider the material costs, time, and the fact that it's a little piece of YOU.  You probably won't sell it right off the bat, but eventually the right buyer will come along- they'll appreciate its value, and pay you accordingly. Smiley

I think part of the problem is that we're all SO close to our work, we can't look at it objectively as "This is art."  Instead we look at it as "Well, this part is good, but I messed up a little here, and I set the zipper great but this edge isn't perfect, and..." so forth.  It's probably a good idea to get input on appropriate pricing from someone who knows what exactly is involved in your craft, but can look objectively at your projects.
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« Reply #83 on: January 27, 2008 02:42:04 PM »

I think that most people believe that they make more money if they can sell more items. And in order to sell more, prices are lowered. But if you keep your items at a more worthy price you only need to sell a few to make just as much money.

Let's say that you want to make about $200 for one day at a craft fair. If you lower your prices or sell small items at $5 each, you would have to sell 40 items to make your goal. If you price your items at $20 you would only need to sell 10. If you price your items at $40 you would only need to sell 5.

This means that your $5 items better be the latest craze that anyone and everyone who comes to your booth wants at least one of. However your higher priced items only have to appeal to those who will love your work.
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« Reply #84 on: March 05, 2008 04:45:29 AM »

I was searching etsy (I dont currently have one & was looking around at everyone's awesome work-for a one day moment) anywho,I noticed some people really underprice their stuff.I am sure its due to competition from others that do the same work but I know that some of the pieces that I seen were tons of work and creativity and yet the piece is for sale for $3..WHAT!!!

I could buy it at that price and resell it at a show and not have to do any of the work and make some dough..

I just wish that creative folks didnt have to underprice their stuff..I have seen it many times-your creativity is what makes the piece original and you worked hard to make it..dont just give away the farm..

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« Reply #85 on: March 05, 2008 09:07:03 AM »

I don't understand this underpricing issue either. 

Seems that some folks are working for less than $1 an hour...!

However, I have bought many underpriced items - and sold them at shows.

Oh, well...

« Reply #86 on: March 07, 2008 01:07:38 PM »

I am probably one that underprices my jewelry. It's hard for me to get an accurate idea of how much to charge, I feel like I'm charging too much for my pieces. For me it's because I have fun making jewelry, so I don't see it as "real work" and therefore not that valuable.
« Reply #87 on: March 09, 2008 11:47:19 AM »

A LOT of people underprice. Many just don't know how to price, and many don't care - as long as they make their supply costs back and have a bit of fun.

It is frustrating, but it's always been an issue and always will be.  Undecided

The good thing is some people do care and want to learn - so at least we can help those folks get paid properly!

Of course buying from underpricers doesn't help the issue...

www.RJBeads.etsy.com - beads and jewelry making supplies! **SALE ALERT**

« Reply #88 on: March 09, 2008 12:32:50 PM »

I know what you mean.  It really does other crafters a disservice because people will expect not to have to pay adequately for handmade, quality work.  But like others have said, sometimes it's hard to know what to charge.   
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« Reply #89 on: March 09, 2008 07:37:42 PM »

I've been making jewellery to sell for about 6 months. I have done 4 months at a weekend farmer's market and about 9 different Christmas/holiday shows.

My mom runs a craft business and I've been after her for YEARS to stop underpricing herself... so I had to walk the walk myself! I price my pieces at (materials cost x 10) PLUS my time at $50/hr. (That is the going rate for skilled trades here).

My sales have been good, and I've only had 2 people (out of hundreds I've talked to) say they thought my prices were high. By contrast, at least twenty people have told me my prices are still low in their opinions. I think that having the prices a bit on the upscale side helps people take the work seriously and makes them *more* willing to pay for it. My earrings sell better at $15 than they did at $8! Same earrings!

People are weird...

Bead Bugs, suncatchers & unique jewellery - www.theartfulsalamander.com
New Etsy shop! www.theartfulsalamander.etsy.com
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