If you celebrate Christmas and live in America, you may very well be heading out (or coming home) from Black Friday sales. Or perhaps you’re opting for Small Business Saturday, picking up gifts at local specialty stores. Or maybe you’re waiting until early next week for Cyber Monday–and big shopping spree at Amazon or Etsy. Or you may be waiting for the local arts and crafts show to fill your stockings (or at least shopping basket).
Whatever your preference, you may be wondering how artists and crafters price their items. Well, I can tell you from experience that the process is a really big challenge. When I decided to sell some little items that I sew, I spent a long time researching and doing the math to find the perfect Three-Bears price — you know: not too high and not too low, but juuust right.
But I can’t say it better than Somer Sherwood, a wonderful free-form crocheter, who sells her amazing creations in her Etsy shop, Classy Broad. Somer also blogs at www.somersherwood.com, and she gave me permission to share this excerpt of her wonderful post: “The True Cost of Handmade.” Read on:
I recently did my first craft fair. And at that craft fair, one woman picked up every one of my hats, tried them on, and made a sort of a noise in the back of her throat indicating disgust. Then she muttered, “I don’t really like these hats” before looking at the price tag for one of them and looking at me over her glasses: “Do you really charge this much?”
Ok, I managed a retail store for many years, so I’m used to this type of customer. I’ve met hundreds of them, and I know it’s less about whatever she is looking at and more about what is going on in her own crazy brain. Some people just have this need to be nasty. But this was a little different. What she was cruelly and callously saying to me was that what I created had no value. My art has no value. It is worthless and ugly. And I won’t lie — it stung a little.
But back to her question about the cost. The particular hat she picked up was $150 and it was this one:
The offending freeform crochet hat: Lettuce Go to the Mothership. $150.
You can’t see from the photos, but it is made of thousands of tiny little stitches, all folding in on themselves and creating a pretty elaborate underwater sea creature type effect. It’s made of hundreds of yards of very nice wool in colors that I carefully selected and put together in a way I thought would be pleasing. I spent probably 18 to 20 hours making this hat.
So let’s do the math.
Read the rest here. It’s seriously worth it — especially if you sometimes question the values put on those adorable, amazing and one-of-a-kind items that are only available from your friendly crafters and artists.