I admire crafters who feel called to "educate" the masses about time and materials costs with pricing standards that pay the maker a living wage. But, I'm definitely not there yet (hides under desk). If making for Etsy or craft shows were my primary crafty income stream, I'd have to do that. But, as it is I'm doing this craft show gig as an "aside" to my real business, which is online as a blogger and teacher. This craft show is just an experiment for me - part fun and part wishful thinking that I could create an exit point for the surplus of items I make year to year. Every item I make specifically for the show has a dual purpose - to sell and to be provide fun blog fodder! This puts me in a unique position to have a somewhat built-in profit margin. That doesn't mean that I can price items however I want... but I wanted to point out that it gives me more freedom that someone who defines their crafty business as make-to-sell.
|from Quirky and Quaint on Etsy|
Ok, so what's my pricing formula?
Materials + Time + Padding = Price
Materials - That's the easiest to figure out if you've saved a few receipts! Some items, like the journal covers and iPad sleeves only require $5 or so of materials. Other items, like the picnic blankets, require an astounding $80 worth of supplies. Yikes.
Time - This really varies, but I've made my best estimates. I'll be pricing most inventory categories (covered journals, baby quilts, etc.) one standard price, because shoppers are generally mistrusting and/or confused by too much variety in pricing. So, even though one journal cover may have taken 3 hours of my time and another a mere 30 minutes, I came up with an average for each category. In the case of journal covers, I'm estimating 2 hours each. I've decided to charge $10 an hour for my time. That's less than I would ever normally work for, but it's the most I feel I can charge AND this is not my "main" business.
Padding - Nope, this isn't about profit; this is about expenses! Between registration fees for the craft show, hotel fees (it's too far to drive each day), gas, food, new business cards, etc. I expect to spend about $500 on "overhead" expenses. This is pricey! It would have been much safer to try a craft show close to home to minimize overhead if I were starting up a make-to-sale business, for example. My heart was set on this show, because I know it is highly trafficked with modern shoppers. I don't really have a set percentage or dollar amount for the "padding", but I'm trying to work it in!
Publishing these is making me cringe! I'll start off by saying that my original pricing plans were a good bit lower, but after crunching the numbers I knew it was completely irresponsible to go so low. My friend Heather is my craft show consultant. Every Monday night when she comes over to hand stitch with me, I pelt her with questions and ideas. She reminded me to think about the things I've purchased at craft shows over the years. I paid more than I would normally pay for a necklace, for example, because it was handmade, one-of-a-kind and I felt good about supporting the artist. So, gulp, I hope people feel the same way about my work! Also, looking at it this way makes me feel even more urgent to make the very best things I can!
Covered Journals - Since this category is probably my strongest, setting this price first gives perspective for the others. $4 materials + $20 time + $8 padding = $32. This category has a generous portion of overhead padding expenses because it is the category I'm counting on to actually sell and to cover those expenses. If I don't plan to make my money here to cover my expenses, I'm basically planning to fail. Heather (I blame/credit her!) suggests I actually start with a slightly higher price on the first day and then switch to $28 if I feel price is a barrier. I'm planning to take that tactic since this is a 3-day show.
Picnic Blankets - Unlike the covered journals, this category has low time (relatively) and high materials (20 fat quarters and 3 yards for backing). $80 materials + $45 time + $5 padding = $130. I wanted to sell these for $85, but that would be disgraceful given the materials cost. Of course I wonder if people will pay so much for a picnic blanket! This is the category where pricing concerns me most.
Wall art - I won't walk you through all the categories, but this is one that's different. My wall art prices will vary, according both to the size of the art and the complexity of the design. People view "art" quite differently than a commodity item like a journal cover. They expect something "better" to be more expensive. They look to see how much time it probably took to make it, taking time to appreciate details. Plus, they realize wall art in stores is expensive!
This means that wall art is a more lucrative category, but it's also probably harder to sell. You've got to really adore something to put it on your wall. On the one hand I feel that keeping my prices down would make folks more willing to "risk" taking my art home. On the other hand I feel that low-ish prices would make it difficult for them to agree "yep, that's worth putting on my wall." It's a tricky one!
Here's an example. The two 8" x 10" Scrappy Chevrons will be $36 each and the 16" x 20" Scrappy Chevron will be.. $82. Maybe I'm far off or maybe that's about right. I really don't know.
Some of my other category prices are... iPad Sleeves $38, Coaster sets $24 and baby quilts (already made and looking for homes) $150. As of today I have 43 items to take to the show. The inventory value of items that have been made specifically for the show so far is just over $1000 at these prices. Wow! Of course, even if I sold all that $500 goes to overhead and then there's materials expenses before I'm actually getting paid for my time making items...
So, what do you think? I'm totally desiring your feedback on these prices. I promise not to take offense! I know you'll be factoring in what you feel people will pay, which is not necessarily a reflection on how much you like my work. What are your thoughts?