Pricing: Every Maker's Dilemma

Pricing: Every Maker's Dilemma

There was some drama in one of the social media crochet groups I'm in. The OP had contacted a seller on Facebook marketplace about the prices she was asking for some crocheted pet stockings.  The seller was asking $5 each and the OP had privately messaged the seller to ask her to raise the prices for several valid reasons.  She screenshot her message to the seller and I think was likely expecting the FB group to agree with it.  But the opposite happened.  The group was pretty critical about it simply because it's nobody's business what makers charge for their work. 

$5 for a handmade stocking that took at least a couple hours to make, plus the cost of materials is pretty crazy. But I totally get it because when I have excess stock, I do the same thing.  I blow it out at rock bottom prices because as far as I'm concerned, it's just sitting around gathering dust.  I want to see those things gone and sold so I can move on to other projects.  I imagine that's what the seller was doing. After all, it's March now, she's probably had those stockings since Christmas and they likely simply didn't sell then.  Makes sense to me.

But it really highlights the dilemma makers have around pricing.  There are formulas and equations and business models on how to price your work, but the bottom line is that you have to be comfortable with the price.  You'll see a lot of underpriced things, but also a lot of overpriced things too.  We just don't know where that sweet spot is!

If you're just starting out as a seller, my advice is to go low.  You want to get your name out there, build a client base of satisfied customers and actually sell your stuff.  Now that's a very unpopular bit of advice to some, who want makers to price things high in order to "respect the art."  Well, I understand that, but when it comes to crochet and when you're just starting out, there's not a lot of "art" involved, and the market already has lots of makers doing the cute but simple best-sellers: bees, mushrooms, etc.  

Later, when you've built up your name and client base and when you begin making more elaborate pieces, that's when you can start to charge more.  And again, you'll have to decide how your prices make you feel.  If you feel like you're just giving stuff away, you'll get resentful.  If nobody is buying your things because the price is too high, you'll feel defeated.  

So much is trial and error, but if you love making things and enjoy the thrill of selling, keep at it.  I've been selling my work for about 20 years now and I still have trouble with pricing.  There isn't a one-size-fits-all answer and you really have to find the price that feels right to you.  

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