Handmade Artists' Forum

Business Tips, Tutorials, and Technical Help => Business Tips and Help => Topic started by: Larissa on January 22, 2014, 12:32:40 PM

Title: About Pricing
Post by: Larissa on January 22, 2014, 12:32:40 PM
Recently, I finished my new hippo scarf while I was at work at my day job.  The coworkers ooohed and aaaahed over it, and one, our receptionist, asked me what I was charging for it.  I told her $75, which is the price I have listed in my shop for both the hippo and dinosaur scarves.

I designed the scarves, which took conceptualizing them, drawing them out on graph paper, figuring out how many stitches I needed and where, knitting them, here & there learning new techniques, including how to crochet circles (which, by the way, I hate doing), sewing them together, photographing them, and listing them.

They are made of 100% washable wool so they won't felt.  They're soft, and adorable, and a ton of work, and from my very own brain.

Her reaction was that the price is kind of high for your average shopper (like her).  I appreciate that fact.  I get it.  I know it.  It doesn't matter.  I responded, that I don't mean to sound snobby, but honestly, she's not my primary market for that sort of item.  I have less expensive items, and that way I can cater to a range of incomes and customers.  But something like those scarves?  All the work I put in?  I'm honestly probably undercharging.  But I think the price is fair.  It's ok that not everyone can afford them.  Really, it is.  It just means she's not my audience for that.  And that's ok with me.

The way I see it, I drive a 2003 Honda CR-V.  Would I prefer to drive a Ferrari?  Hell, yes.  I can't afford one.  And I know Ferrari doesn't care that I can't afford them.  They're just fine with me chugging along in my Honda.  Someday, when maybe I can afford a Ferrari, I'm sure they'll be happy to deal with me, but until then, they're really not concerned that they don't have my business.

We are the handmade community.  We put our heart and souls and time and effort and creativity into what we do.  We need to see ourselves as Ferraris when we're Ferraris and Hondas when we're Hondas.  But our Ferraris shouldn't be priced like Hondas.  First, because we need to be fair to ourselves.  Second, because we need to let the general public know the difference between a Ferrari & a Honda, and that the Ferrari is just really worth the extra cost.
Title: Re: About Pricing
Post by: Colette on January 22, 2014, 03:57:42 PM
Very well said Larissa! Not everyone can see the time and effort put into what we create. There is a target market for hand crafted items. Just need to find them  ;D
Title: Re: About Pricing
Post by: chainmaille on January 29, 2014, 08:31:51 AM
I fear that this is just the wallmart mentality that has engulfed our society. I don't see it getting better honestly. It is sad. I constantly have to tell Kimberly to charge what the item is worth from her efforts, not what the market will bear.
Title: Re: About Pricing
Post by: Larissa on January 29, 2014, 09:12:22 AM
I get the whole Walmart/discount thing.  And I shop inexpensive when I can or must too, though I'm thankful I live in NJ where I have a ton of options OTHER that Walmart.  I walked into a Walmart once and NEVER AGAIN.  It was terrible.

But what I'm saying is I believe there IS a market for us.  It's just not the Walmart crowd (understanding that when I say "Walmart crowd," I mean people who CHOOSE to shop at Walmart when there ARE other options, rather than people in parts of the country who are forced to shop at Walmart because there's simply nothing else around).  It's the crowd that goes to the Market Basket (a small, expensive, gourmet market in my town) rather than or in addition to Stop & Shop (the regular supermarket in town).  It's the people who still shop Neiman Marcus & Nordstrom & Lord and Taylor.  They're out there.  It's just a matter of reaching them.

I think the mistake a lot of artists make is staying cloistered in the art community and trying to sell solely or primarily to other "starving artists."  Starving artists obviously appreciate handmade and want to support each other, but there's a whole 'nother market out there - the regular people with dollars.  We need to reach THEM.
Title: Re: About Pricing
Post by: trusk4u on January 29, 2014, 10:56:58 AM
I agree Larissa. The market for such things is there, it's just a matter of finding it.
Personally, I think the price for the scarf is totally fair considering everything that went into it.
Title: Re: About Pricing
Post by: Myfibernook on February 02, 2014, 03:05:23 PM
Larissa, I've had the same thing happen to me with an afghan I crochet.  Some people aren't even happy if you give your hand made items to them. They'll find something to complain about it.  I've had people say "Well that's too rich for my blood!" when I priced a beautiful afghan at $70".  The yarn cost me over $20 and I worked on it day and night for about a month.  And they wait and see if you'll just give it to them after it doesn't sell online.  And they try to make you feel bad if you don't give it to them, that your wasting your time and money "playing" on the internet because in their minds what we do isn't work.  So I'm being selfish if when I get it made that I don't just hand it over to them for free.  It's so ridiculous.  But I know there *are* people out there who do appreciate my work.  I have lots of people following me on Etsy and favoriting my work.  If I just put more time and effort into my shops I think I could do really well.  but my husband asked me not to give one person in particular my stuff because she'll just turn around and sell it.  And he was right.  Caught her selling something that she begged me to make for her.  Got to be careful who I give away my stuff to.  People try to make me feel bad for selling my work-make me feel guilty if I don't just give everything to them and charity, then go and sell what you made for them when they think your not looking.  So basicly they  just like my stuff well enough that they think *they* can profit from it.  But they won't tell you that they just put on like it ain't worth that much-then save it for later and see if they can sell it themselves. 

One person in particular was going to go in with me at a craft show.  When it was time to pay for the booth rental she was suddenly out of money.  I went ahead and allowed her to come with me.  I helped her make some cookies and baked items so she would have something to sell.  Then she pulled out everything I made for her including that afghan I mentioned before ....everything she didn't want to pay me for.  Had a friend show up and took off and let me there to tend the booth by myself.  It's a good thing I didn't have to use the ladies room.  None of the stuff I made her do I see her wearing or using.  It is put away for a day when she can find buyers.

Title: Re: About Pricing
Post by: Larissa on February 02, 2014, 03:13:43 PM
I get that from strangers, but not friends. 

Another of  my careers is as a face painter, and because it's seen as "fun" rather than "profession," I get constant requests for donation of my time and expertise.  People have no concept that for me, it's an expense of time and supplies, plus this is a serious means of income for me, NOT a hobby.  It's really an uphill battle for any artist to be seen as a professional rather than a hobbyist.  Writers, face painters, knitters, painters, photographers... people try to use all of us because what we do is "fun."  Yeah, that's nice.  I still need to spend my limited time and hard-earned talent earning an income.

I don't really get it from friends, though.  Sounds like you have too many users and abusers in your life.  You need to weed out the toxic types and focus on the good ones.  You shouldn't be subjected to such deceit.
Title: Re: About Pricing
Post by: Myfibernook on February 02, 2014, 03:35:41 PM
Yea, I hear you Larissa.  Have to be careful about who you give your handmade items too.  I was just being nice-thought they wanted for themselves, but I was wrong.  I do have people who just are users.  My most recent experience is when I went to beauty school and was taking in clients for free before I got my license.  After I got my license they still wanted my services for free.  Wanted me to do a spiral perm on long, past braw strap hair and her mother's.  a $200 perm.They liked my work but didn't even want to pay for the perms that it would take for me to put in their hair.  I got rid of her finaly just by telling her like it was.  Her husband didn't even want to pay for the gas for her to come to my house and get the perms.  So now I'm the traveling free barber and stylist? I lost not one but two so called clients but they would have never paid me for anything.  It would have been tollerable if they could even come up with half price-I mean-that's a deal these days.  She offered me some old perm rods her dead grandmother gave her.  didn't want to pay cash didn't want to barter.  type of people who expect everything for nothing.  I'm absolutely DONE with those type of people.  Felt bad for a little while over loosing a "friendship" if you want to call it that.  And I do a little happy dance when I think of the ten hours of greuling work (twice) that I got myself out of! lol :) And your right.  I do have alot of users in my life...or had. I'm trying to get rid of the ones who don't give a rip.  I'm basicly a nice person who is kindhearted.  My mother told me to just tell them no, you can't do it for free anymore. This one person in particular called me on vacation and harrassed me for two days about giving her and her mom free sprial perms.  I started getting mad and just couldn't answer the phone anymore until I cooled down.  My Mom had to threaten to press harrassment charges if she didn't stop.  My sister who is a successful beautician told me she would definately not do it, but also told me her friends sometimes want her services for free or reduced price because she has conditioned them to that.  I guess I should have charged when I was in training then?  Legally I can't charge unless I have license in hand.  People did give me tips sometimes.  But I also find that my friends expect reduced price or free because that's how it's always been.  the only time I do it anymore is when they have done something for me.   
Title: Re: About Pricing
Post by: Larissa on February 02, 2014, 03:58:01 PM
That's especially unconscionable.  Where do you live?
Title: Re: About Pricing
Post by: Myfibernook on February 02, 2014, 04:33:24 PM
I live in the country in East Texas.  Just a bunch of hics we are.  We as beauticians and artists can't charge what they do in Dallas or Metroplex area.  Sometimes I'm just too nice, I know.  I'm doing a perm for free to my landlord possibly this week, but she is always doing something for me.  A few months ago she payed for my car parts and her husband paid for me to get my tooth pulled when I was in excruciating pain.  They do alot for us.  I'm not asking her for any money.
Title: Re: About Pricing
Post by: Larissa on February 03, 2014, 08:57:28 AM
Being good to people who are good to you is one thing.  Giving valuable gifts to people who don't treat you well is another.  I'm glad you have some decent people around you.

One thing... while you can't charge in East Texas what someone in Manhattan or even Dallas could for your items, when you've got an online shop don't forget your market now includes Dallas and Los Angeles and Manhattan... price accordingly.  Nordstrom.com doesn't lower prices for you because you live in East Texas, after all.
Title: Re: About Pricing
Post by: CrochetHooked on February 04, 2014, 02:03:30 PM
Well said Larissa… I agree with you! Slowly, but surely people will see that ‘Handmade is Better Made” … and I saw that quote on another site! lol  8)

Your scarves are adorable and so unique, sorry to hear about disliking crocheting in rounds :-\ [size=78%], lol it is a necessity at times… WTG! [/size]
Title: Re: About Pricing
Post by: Larissa on February 04, 2014, 11:24:23 PM
LOL, it is a necessity.  But it's what stalled my hippo scarf.  I was all done except the eyes, and put it aside for months.
Title: Re: About Pricing
Post by: MakinTheBest on February 05, 2014, 07:15:12 AM
Well said Larissa.  I hear it all the time that handmade items are overpriced or I'm charging too much but just when I am ready to give up, a customer will come along that doesn't even blink at my prices.  While many thing we need to sell our items at prices we can afford we have to remember that there are a lot of very wealthy people out there that love to own a one of a kind.

A few years back a man emailed me about painting a wine glass for his wife.  I gave my price and he mentioned that he would like me to do a special glass and he will have it shipped to me directly to paint.  When I got the glass, it was boxed beautifully in a gold box and I had to sign for it. I decided to look up the glass-trying to figure out what was so special-and found out that just the glass was over $500!  I was scared to even touch it, much less paint it!!!

When it was done, I emailed him an invoice for my standard price and he told me that he was paying for art and sent me more than my asking price.  He has since been back, once a year, shipping me a glass and overpaying my price.

I know this is not the norm, but he is one of those that has the money and wants to buy one of a kind items-he treasures the art.

Moral of the story?  They are out there so don't sell yourself short.
Title: Re: About Pricing
Post by: TheWoodhut on February 27, 2014, 12:42:05 PM

Your initial comment on pricing was very well said!
Title: Re: About Pricing
Post by: trusk4u on March 02, 2014, 03:56:06 PM

Your initial comment on pricing was very well said!

Yes it was! Larissa you would have flipped at the show I was at yesterday. The booth across from me did some face painting. They charged $3, $5 for s full face. That seemed really crazy cheap to me and made me think I would not let my kid get it. I didn't see them paint one face though since the traffic was non existent.
Title: Re: About Pricing
Post by: Larissa on March 02, 2014, 06:51:09 PM
I made that mistake a few times when I first started.  I also made the mistake of taking on fairs with no traffic.  It's a tough thing, and when you're sitting there with no customers, it's hard not to lower your prices to pennies.  The lesson to learn is you shouldn't, though.  Not worth it.
Title: Re: About Pricing
Post by: jessy255 on September 03, 2015, 11:54:49 AM
Some people just don't realize how much energy and time is put into a handmade _____ (insert whatever). I would rather pay more for some handmade quality made item, than something I'll throw in a trash can in a year or sooner.