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Pricing your work

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  • Pricing your work

    I visited a craft fair at Dobbies near Nuneaton today. I have a passion for woodturning and my wife, card making and any papercrafts. Every stall had excellent products but they all seemed far too 'cheap'. There were stands selling handcrafted cards and they were excellent but some of the prices were as little as £1.40. The cost of materials on these cards, electricity and paying for the stand would have taken all of that, let alone the time taken to make them - so why do it at that price. All of the prices on everything were far too small considering the amount of work that had obviously gone into its making.

    I'm hoping to start doing craft fairs but do you have to sell cheap to sell? Secondly by selling cheap, do other crafters have to sell as cheap or less to compete. It seems a vicious circle with the crafters earning almost nothing. Is there any way in which the market would accept higher prices after all, if you want boot sale prices, it's cheaper to do a boot sale. Our things are beautiful crafts which people should expect to pay for or am I just naive?

    Kindest regards


  • #2
    Pricing is one of the hardest aspect of selling crafts. There is a feeling that because it's handmade it should be cheap. I come accross a lot of people at craft fairs who are there really for a social day out. They freequently say... "o I only want to cover my costs. I enjoy doing it it's just a hobby" I would hazard a guess that some of these sellers pour an endles supply of money into their hobby. It's not that there is anything wrong with any of that, but it does make it much harder for those of us who are making or trying to make a living from crafts.
    When I started out selling my jewellery it was bait to get to discuss my interior design business and I didn't think very hard about pricing at all. I purely wanted people to buy and sold at rediculously cheap prices. My clients were forever telling me that I was too cheap and recently I have raised my prices inline with other jewellery artists. My clients are still buying!!
    I believe that in the uk we are swimming against the tide with our crafting and unless we stand up and say price realistically, don't allow buy ins or mass produced items and value the artistic skills you have been given!
    Now I'll get back off the soap box..... Anyone else want a go?
    full time mum and very very part time crafter.


    • #3
      I agree that the people who are selling so cheap are probably just doing it for a hobbie and therefore don't worry about making any profit (or not)
      The craft fairs that i did were alot of retired people who just wanted a day out, a lot of them knew each other, and then of course there's the imported tat stalls to compete against.
      I don't do these kind of craft fairs anymore.
      I really do think that you need to pick your venue very carefully, the little village hall type fairs i would steer well clear of as again it's just people having a social gathering, and a lot of the time the villagers that go to the fairs just buy off people they know or just have a cuppa at the WI stall.
      I know i've said it before but i really do tink that if you do your own private parties you will do soo much better, it really doesn't take much planning (if i can do it anyone can) and if it's a couple of hours on an evening gotta be better than sitting in a village hall from 10-4!!


      • #4
        Hi there,
        IC girl, I know you've mentioned it before (but I've had too many glasses of wine to figure out where) - could you tell us more about your private parties, or post a link if you have already done so. I can't really see that private parties would suite my sort of items - I think they'd work for jewellry, beauty products & yummy edible stuff (like ice cream!) but not for more expensive one-off things. Who do you invite? Where do you find your invitees? Does sound like fun, perhaps! website ... my blog


        • #5
          Well, basically myself and a friend make jewellery and my mum and sister make handbags, so there is 4 of us which means there's a wide variety of friends to invite!!
          We have done it at a local sports hall (don't get charged anything as they make money over the bar)
          We set it up like a little mini craft fair although i really think the trick is that we don't call them craft fairs we go for the 'shopping evening of luxury hand made gifts' type blurb as this gets people in the right frame of mind for spending money!!
          I think it would work for any type of craft, all you need is a venue which could be at a house (which we've done) or a sports hall who are willing to give you the venue, i think you would be surprised, as they are usually just after making a few quid on drink, this also helps for the customers as if they know there's a bar open they treat it like a night out, leave the kids with hubbie etc!! (also don't forget the sports hall will advertise it so the players and their families will come to have a night out at their club - any exuse to get the bar open!)
          It also helps if you have a friend who does a craft as then like us you get to invite more people!!
          Go on give it a go it's great fun!!
          I don't have a link, we basically started the parties to see if people liked our stuff and have got such a good response that i am now in the middle of making a website but it's slow going - got the ice cream to keep on top of as well!!!!!
          Last edited by icecreamgirl; 05-05-2007, 09:15 PM.


          • #6
            I agree that it's really hard to know how much to charge for your items. I always say to friends "if you asked me how much this is - what would make you think "how much?" and work backwards (if that makes sense)

            Hubby always says I should calculate my time, but I argue that nobody is paying me for my time - if I wasn't doing this, I would be sat on my behind watching carp on the telly all day!

            I try and buy my materials as cheaply as possible and then just hope that I can achieve a reasonable price. I agree that it always depends on where you're selling as well. Village and school fetes are great for spreading the word about yourself, but I never really make mega-bucks, but I have had lots of orders through my website that start "I saw you at the school fete...." etc etc.

            I have done a few jewellery party bookings now and they are definitely the easiest way to make money (for me personally). You have a captive audience, most people feel "obliged" to buy something, so I always have low priced items to cater for those people. I offer 10% of the amount taken to the hostess so she's the one encouraging her friends to buy - not me! I also don't do party games or speeches (like Virgin Vie) because I would rather just put my boards up and let people browse and mingle.
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