Saturday, September 29, 2012

Pricing Handmade ???

Unfortunately, if you're looking for answers on how to price your handmade goods, you won't find it here.  For me it's been an on-going problem that I still haven't completely resolved.  Early on my prices fluctuated with each show.  If people seemed to think they were too high I'd lower them for the next show.  Then someone would comment on how "reasonable" my prices were or asked how I could sell so cheaply and I'd raise them again.

In trying to solve this problem I found lots of formulas out there on how to find your wholesale and retail price.  After all, you need to charge enough at retail to be able to sell for less to wholesalers.  So there's:

             2x cost of supplies + time at your hourly wage = wholesale
             Double this for retail.

             3 to 5X the cost of supplies will give you enough to cover your time


             there is the Rena Klingenberg school of thought which includes the cost of packaging and other supplies and considers booth fees, camera, tools, etc.

Because I use genuine stones, fine and sterling silver, and gold I have never sold at full retail.  In this area and in this economy it just isn't possible. My prices have always been somewhere between wholesale and full retail.  Which is now a problem as I've started consigning to a few gift shops who take a 30% or 40% cut.

So if I don't have answers why did I even bring this up?   Lately some of my craft show customers have been very price conscious, even asking if I give discounts.  And at 2 recent shows typically loaded with jewelry, I found vendors practically giving away their product.  Granted their work was more of what is sometimes referred to as "assembled".  But I know what findings and beads cost, even low end beads and base metal findings.  So I don't see where these jewelers, who though they are selling more units than the rest of us, are actually making any money, especially if you add in the booth fee, travel time, meals, gas, etc.

I certainly wouldn't tell anyone else how to price their work.  Each individual has the right to decide what their time and creativity is worth.  But as I find more of these low priced jewelry makers at shows I can't help being concerned for "handmade" in general.  They not only do not value their own work, they are undercutting those of us who do.

In my last post I mentioned a young girl who called my silver pieces "real jewelry".  Some people understand the difference between handmade and hand assembled, and actually think about the time and creativity that goes into a truly handmade item.  Those that aren't aware need to be educated.  And craft show organizers and promoters can help by doing a better job of jurying and asking about the price range of peoples' work.

I don't expect the Walmart mentality to disappear.  I just wish people could leave it at home when they come to art and craft shows.

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