Handmade Sellers: 6 Reasons You Need to Start Charging What You’re Worth Now

Creative Entrepreneurship, Empowerment | 12 comments

Six reasons why you need to start changing your worth as a handmade seller now. | the merriweather council blog

Did you read my post last week about pricing and value in handmade? Please do! I have some further thoughts I would like to share with you today as a follow up:

People ask me a lot, “how do I make more sales” — first of all, the questions should really be “how do I make more profit?” The number of sales you make barely matters… you could sell ten for $1 or 1 for $10. Same thing by the time it hits your bank account.

Maybe you’ve heard little silly things from family and friends like, “people won’t pay that much” or “you can’t charge that much for something like this.” Ignore, delete, trash bin all of that commentary.

We love our friends and family, but sometimes they just don’t get it.

You CAN and you SHOULD share the correct amount for your work. People WILL pay it.

Here’s the deal though: you can’t just go running over to your listings and double all your prices. High – or even, right prices mean nothing if your shop is a big fat mess. Visuals such as photos and graphics need to look professional. Your shop needs to look like you actually pop in there now and then. You need to present the work properly and cohesively to drive it home that it’s actually worth the price you are asking. No matter how well it’s made, or how beautiful it looks in real life, if that doesn’t translate to your website, those prices aren’t going to help you any, in fact that might even hurt you.

You need to charge what your work is actually worth. Okay? Please? Here’s why:

1. The rest of us are mad at you

Not really, but… kinda. Whenever I see someone selling something similar to what I sell for less than half the price, I know they are not making money. And that makes me mad because A- it’s usually an absurd price and B- it doesn’t really do the rest of the community any favors for you to be perpetuating the idea that crafts should be cheap because people have fun making them. Or whatever the case may be. It’s so far outside my realm of understanding, I don’t really even know…

2. High Volume Onslaught Fatigue

Oh, you didn’t consider that maybe someone would feature your piece somewhere and lots of folks would come and buy it all at once? And now you’re freaking out because you have as many open orders as you could possibly have and suddenly you feel very uneasy and irritated because you will spend the next three weeks working for $4 an hour? YIKES! #ThatMomentWhenYouSoldOutAndStillMadeNoMoney

3. You might actually be paying for sales

When you undercharge, you are basically paying to make sales.

Little example here:

  • It’s priced at $20
  • Takes you 2 hours to make
  • Material cost is $5
  • Between listing fee, Etsy commission and PayPal fee, you made $13.22 profit
  • This doesn’t include shipping or postage costs

$13.22 divided by 2 hours of work is $6.61 per hour. That’s less than minimum wage in most places. ALSO this doesn’t account for the time you spent taking photos, writing descriptions, listing, editing, or shipping. It also doesn’t account for any material procurement costs – such as getting in the car to drive somewhere or even driving to the nearest post office. I don’t know about you but it usually takes me at least 15 minutes to go to the post office by the time I get to my car, drive there, drive home… So let’s just say it takes you an hour to do all these other things … $13.22 divided by 3 is $4.40. For the sake of driving this home even further, let’s say you’ve renewed this piece twice on Etsy, that’s another 40 cents off your bottom line. Let’s also imagine that you put it in one of those fancy bubble mailers – which you aren’t yet buying in bulk – and that was another $1, plus the trip to the store, etc etc… Excuse me I need to go pop my eye balls out of my face. DO YOU SEE?!! I would rather just skip Starbucks, I’d be at about the same point financially with 3 hours of my life back.

4. Just because you enjoy this work doesn’t mean you shouldn’t get paid for it

Sure I love to sit around an embroider. But it’s not “for fun” – it’s work. I enjoy the process but I still have to do it even when I’m just not into it. Just because you “like” to do something doesn’t mean it should cost less. Don’t be like this: “ohhh, but it was fun” *knock off a few dollars*

5. In case you want to wholesale or send work on consignment

If your prices are too low, YOU will be the only one losing in this situation. You’re the one who will get a check for basically nothing when your piece that was way under priced to begin with sells in a shop that takes a 40-50% commission. They might’ve done alright on the deal, but you definitely didn’t. And it’s gunna get real awkward up in here when you try to finagle a higher price *after* someone has shown interest in wholesale or consignment *facepalm*

6. If you want to actually like, be in business

If you aren’t making money – and actually, in fact, LOSING it – you are not in business. You are just entertaining and / or infuriating the rest of us.

After a while you’ll get tired of spending the time you could’ve been spending with your family or friends working for pennies and get burnt out. And then you’ll realize. So why not just save yourself all that headache and take it from me? Please value yourself and your work – price it correctly, present it nicely, carry on and be well.

Related reading: Price + Value Aren’t as Related as You Think

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Oh, hi! Welcome to The Merriweather Council. I’m Danielle and I am a maker in business and mentor to other makers in business. I teach you how to turn your crafty tendencies into profits!

Oh, I’m also really into crafts, boy bands + iced coffee. Email me anytime to say hello or send cute Backstreet Boy videos or dog pictures .. or whatever! danielle (at) merriweathercouncil.com Thanks for stopping by.

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12 Comments

  1. Thank you! Excellent post! It took me a while to figure out valuing myself and my work. I believe I’m on track now.

    Best,
    Lisa

  2. I’ve found that my sales increase when I raise my prices!

    Customers may think that low price = low quality, so increase the price to show the awesomeness of your work, as well as showing that you are a legitimate business and not a “hobby crafter” who may let them down.

  3. Love this. Wholeheartedly agree. I give this same advice to newbie artists I come across at art fairs I do. I’m really enjoying your blog lately Danielle. Keep it comin’!

  4. Perfect! Honestly, the only people who email me about my prices wondering why they are so high are other quilters who do the same thing as me!!! LOL! My customers (who don’t sew & think I am a magic-worker) purchase without so much as a blink of the eye, and I have a 7-month waiting list! So there ya go – raise ’em up to what you’re worth! :)

    • exactly!!! even if you think it’s pretty straight forward / “easy” – the people who don’t know think it took WAY WAY longer than it actually did in most cases

  5. This was so useful! Before opening shop I created a price list I felt reflected proper worth. Then I took a look on etsy and felt ridiculous for charging that much because of comparing to other shops and lowered all my prices. I didn’t realize they were undercharging. I thought maybe I was just too slow and not sourcing my products cheap enough. Now I’m starting to see clearly. Your right! You help sellers have confidence. Thanks!

    • so true – but even if you sold just 1, you’d make more than the underpriced shops make on 3. PRICE IT RIGHT and you CAN’T LOSE

  6. Shaking my head yes to number one… one of the biggest reasons I see soooo many under priced embroidery pieces!

  7. FANTASTIC post! Delighted to have discovered it. Shared it on my FB page!! Thank you for taking the time to put your thoughts out there!

  8. Thank you Danielle. Re figuring.

  9. I love the articles, Danielle. I constantly struggle with pricing. I price for what I believe my work and I am worth but wrestle with wanting to make more sales. I seem to have plenty of admirers but I want/need them to become customers.
    Do you have any suggestions on pricing formulas?

  10. When your prices are “cheap” people think that they are getting a “cheap” product regardless of how meticulously made it may be.