Thursday, July 26, 2012

Craft Show {Pricing}

Pricing is an artist's worst nightmare.  The same price can feel both too high (presumptuous) and too low (degrading) all at the same time.  Pricing works for sell means I have to find an actual, literal number that matches my personal value of the item and another's perceived value.  And "they" are likely to be blissfully unaware of time and materials costs.  What to do?

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!

My Prices

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 for craft show

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.

Lecien Dots Picnic Blanket

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!

Scrappy Chevron wall art

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.

Oodalolly scrap coasters

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?

124 comments:

  1. I think your pricing is about right - except on the journals which I think could be HIGHER. I have seen covered journals in bookstores that are not as nice as this running as high as $45 or $50. I agree with your friend - price higher. Given the price of fabric these days, your picnic blanket is very reasonable (I have seen purses sell for $90 to $100 and they use far less fabric). Good luck! I hope you'll give us an update on your success!

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    1. I understand where you are coming from, but I think there is a perceived value difference between a purse (which is typically expensive when sold in stores and a "fashion" item) and a blanket that's primary use will be to go on the ground despite the latter using more fabric.

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  2. I believe that pricing is a very difficult issue for people like us who do so much handmade. I struggle with pricing because the only perspective I have is my own and I would NEVER pay what I want to charge - but the reason is I know I can make it myself and what it would cost. You have to think that the customers you are marketing to cannot make your item themselves so the value to them is MUCH higher than the value to you. I hope that makes sense. I think all of your prices could go a bit higher with a non-sewing customer in mind. The downside is that many people look at similar items in stores that are made overseas and priced much lower and think that the value is the same which it isn't. Good luck! I wish you the best.

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  3. I think that asking the crafty community for advice on pricing might give you skewed feedback, just because as a general rule we can make things ourselves and might not be willing to shell out the dough for handmade items (i don't necessarily always think this way but i have a lot of family members/coworkers who do)

    there are people out there who are willing to pay for handmade--the trick is to find them! you're probably in a great position being at a modern craft fair. the customers are already self-selecting. i've found that too many "normal" people who are used to buying cheap labor manufactured items need to be educated about how much handmade costs. for example, i had a neighbor compliment me on my dress and finding out that i had made it, offered to pay me $30 to make her one.

    this topic is very interesting to me because i am currently making a stock of handmade goods to eventually sell when my husband opens his own farmer's market stand. i've struggled with figuring out price but i have another year or so to make my decisions.

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    1. Thanks for adding these thoughts, Sara. It's true that this community is not my customer, so we're really all just guessing on what they'd be willing to pay. And like the previous commenter said, we're trying to answer a question that we don't often face since we ourselves are DIYers.

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  4. I think your prices could be slightly higher, as your market for this show is young, modern shoppers with loads of extra spending money! I find that when you see something that's unique and well made, most folks are willing to pay more for it. Good luck! And I'm hoping you sell it all on the 1st day, and have to sit there for 2 days with a sign saying...."SOLD OUT!" Yay! Take some hand work with you, just in case! :o)

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  5. Excellent post/strategy, Rachel. I price my Etsy items the same way (materials + time + markup to cover overhead and listing fees and that kind of thing).

    I had a woman contact me recently to say she loved one of my baby quilts but was on a tight budget: could I make one for her for $50-?

    After I stopped laughing ($50 was less than 1/3 of my Etsy price and would barely cover materials), I crafted a nice reality-check reply explaining what goes into even a small hand-made quilt, and pointed out that my pillow covers are priced around $50- because that's how the numbers crunch. My prices are a bit higher than the average on Etsy, but I believe that my quilts/pillows are unique and gorgeous and that my creative vision is worth something, too. As is yours.

    Hope you have a wonderful craft fair experience, and lots of sales and delighted customers to tell us about afterward.

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  6. I don't go to enough craft shows to know, but my neighbor found that if you price it at the bottom line people will want it for less so she uses a formula like yours and adds 10% so she can mark things down on the last day and sell for what she has in it. Some of the stuff sells for the upper boundary, actually a lot sells high, but she really just makes enough to to buy more stuff with a little for her time(she also uses the $10/hour number but that includes work time not the hours at the show). She does generally get some consignment orders where people who feel they are in control are willing to pay more. She always has stuff that doesn't sell so it ends up as gifts for friends and relatives, but that is a loss. So much to consider, but with her experience add an extra 10% or more to keep yourself in the black.

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  7. I was talking about pricing with a bunch of crafters last night, and here's the best advice I got:
    If the customer complains about the prices, let them walk away. They aren't YOUR customer... they are someone else's. I found that reassuring: You don't have please everyone, just find enough people who want what you offer!

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  8. Hi there!
    I love your work, and although I do some sewing myself, my perspective is probably more similar to a buyer. Not sure who your customers are (I am of the coastal urban not-rich demographic). I think your prices could go slightly higher and still be attractive to a mid-range shopper. I think $32 for journal covers, wall art 50 and 95 (this could be much higher actually, but this keeps it accessible), ipad sleeves 40, coasters as is.

    As for the picnic blankets and baby quilts...well, I think I might suggest pricing some higher and some as you have them. In a picnic blanket I would consider how durable it is--will it stand up to weekly use for several summers?--and if it is, and beautiful, I could see spending 150-175. Baby quilts are heirloom items and could also be in that range.

    Just another opinion--sounds like you're doing great though!

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    1. Thanks so much - this is helpful! Heather pretty much agrees with you, but I was feeling sooooo uncomfortable with going this high. I'm a pretty frugal shopper.

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    2. I agree with soilmama on these prices. I am working all this pricing stuff out right now for my etsy shop, and it is definitely tough. I think the picnic blanket, might be a tough one, it might be cool if you added a strap or carrying case or something, that may be a helpful selling feature.

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    3. I just went to Renegade in San Francisco and was very surprised at the prices (also the fact that you saw the same things quite a bit), but I've not been to an art fair in a big city. Don't get me wrong, it was really an amazing show with great art/craft, but your prices could go higher. I can agree with what someone said, you do pay more at these shows knowing you are buying directly from the artist. I think plenty of small things sell, with a few of the larger items too as they may sell, never know. People sold lots of stuff and when it was priced really high (higher than I thought necessary) it seemed to draw a crowd....good luck!!

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  9. I did bazaars and farmers' markets for about ten years. My products were hand crafted soaps and related items. Christmas bazaars will usually outsell any other type or time of the year. Smaller, lower priced items will outsell larger more costly ones. Look for items that will make the biggest impact with the least time and materials. Price the individual item higher than a group of items. For instance: a single potholder might be priced at $10 but you could get 3 for $25. This encourages the larger sale. Be on the look out all year long for sales on the types of materials that you use. Assembly line production may have draw backs in terms of boredom and creativity, but it is the most efficient use of your time. Think up a cute way to package items for sale and to bag them after they are sold. Be prepared for rude people. Loud negative comments about your prices or products as well as the eternal "I could make that for way less". Think in advance of how you are going to handle children whose parents have not set any parameters for them. Also, how will you handle the adult that stands in your booth with paper and pencil and sketches a pattern for themself? For the business end of your booth, one of those 1/2 high sets of plastic drawers with wheels on the bottom will slide right under the usual 6 or 8 foot table. Perfect for your cash box, personal items (cell phone, purse, lunch, sweater, etc), and packaging items. Also, if you have some hand work that you can work on, it will draw people in, start conversations, and give them an idea of the type of time commitment that you put into your products. Make sure that you have lots of water to drink. Oops! Didn't realize that I would ramble on like this. Best of luck!

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    1. Lots of good stuff here, Nance. Thanks!

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  10. I loved this post. I, like so many others, struggle with finding the right price for my handmade items and I like to see how others break things down! :)

    As someone who sews, I think your prices are very fair. I agree with knottygnome...DIY is so deeply ingrained in me that I have a hard time paying handmade prices sometimes. Not because I don't think they're worth it, but because I could make it myself (and in that case I focus on cost of materials, not the time it would take for me to make it). But if it's something that I know I can't make, I am always willing to pay more for handmade. I wouldn't have been willing to several years ago, before I got sucked into the handmade/Etsy scene and started making things myself. But now I know why handmade is special (and try my best to explain to everyone else! :).

    ~Kristin

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  11. Love what you're doing and I really hope it's a success. I am not sure I can comment on pricing as I live in the UK. However, I would caution against starting with a higher prices on goods the first day and then dropping it after day one. If craft shows are the same over there as over here it's not unheard of some people going to the craft show over more than one day. Imagine how you'd feel if you bought some journal covers for $32 each, say on the first day and then went back on day two with another friend and saw them selling for $28. I'd only consider dropping prices on the last day if I really wanted to shift stock and not be taking it home.

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    1. Mm... good point. I could see why at least waiting until the last day would be sensible

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    2. Rachel, I think she makes a good point, but it perhaps presumes that you're physically, tangibly marking things down. In my experience (which is that only of a buyer, not a seller), buyers and sellers expect to bargain (or bargain MORE) in the final day or hours of a sale with negotiable pricing, such as a craft, art, or antique sale. So while I wouldn't advise taking a Sharpie to your pricing signs (!), I definitely think all involved would expect it possible (if not a sure thing) to get a better deal late in the show. Good luck -- and I can't wait to hear the outcome!

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  12. People do not understand what things really "cost" to make. The real price of fabric, supplies, and your valuable skills (and taste). I think your prices are great (maybe even a little low). You are a fabulous artist, selling handmade original pieces. I think it is key to subtly and tactfully remind your shoppers that they are purchasing usable, practical art. Hopefully your craft show audience understand what truly goes into these pieces. Good luck!!

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  13. So many great comments! I'm getting ready for a Christmas craft fair too, so I can't wait to hear how your sale goes, and what prices work for you. Good luck!

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  14. This is issue is the biggest reason why I craft for myself and as a gifting option but rarely take on commissioned projects or sell what I don't want. People really don't understand the COST of things when they ask for something handmade. I think the prices you have are a good starting point. I think that you could go higher. Most people who go to these shows understand the commitment to quality work and the cost of materials. Also people love a good deal so bring your red pen and mark down if you find that you have priced yourself out of the target audience.

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    1. I'm with you on avoiding the price issue altogether (at least thus far) by mostly making gifts. I did do one commission for a friend, but I only charged for materials and shipping. I figured that by buying the supplies, he was enabling me to do something I love and would likely have been doing anyway. He asked me several times what he could pay for my time, but I couldn't even begin to contemplate how to price it, and he eventually stopped asking. In the end, we were both happy--he had a quilt to give to his friends, and I had the experience of making something really lovely without having to open my wallet.

      That said, I applaud all of you who (to earn an income or to support your habit) tackle the challenge of working out how to value your work. In short, I have no advice to offer, but I think your prices sound reasonable and I thank you for sharing your process and helping others who have the same dilemma.

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  15. LOVE this post as well as all the comments. One of the main reasons I've never started selling anything I make is because I'm actually scared of the whole pricing issue.

    I have shopped plenty of craft shows. As a shopper, I expect to pay more for handmade items. I also consider the fact that I'm actually MEETING the artist...how cool is that? That alone is worth the extra cost. :)

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  16. It sounds like you are on the right track! I find it frustrating when people sell their quilts for less than it takes to make simply because they're "only quilting for fun and not to make money". It makes people think that all quilters should sell their quilts and other items for the same low prices. I recently "fussed" at my sister for selling a beautifully sewn handbag (that took a LOT of time and work for her) for $15. She said, "But I wasn't trying to make it for profit!" Now when those who ARE trying to make a living selling handmade handbags put a higher price on theirs, they are told their prices are too high. "After all, I bought this gorgeous purse for $15!"

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    1. Yes, exactly! That is why I feel a little guilty selling at the $10 an hour price point. I realize it's not a choice that only effects me. This is a difficult issue for sure.

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  17. This is such a great post! I make and sell quilts, and when some balk at the prices, I just let them walk. A recent quilt I made cost $160 to make, just materials (13 yds fabric+Batting+thread). Quality quilting fabric averages $10/yd. Add in my time and you are not going to get my work for a WalMart price point!
    I agree with others in that you could increase your prices a bit. There is only so much market research you can do, sometimes you have to dive in and adapt as needed!

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    1. This is so true, let them walk. And they can get the Walmart quality.

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  18. Unfortunately, I think sometimes what other people are selling things for at the same fair, can affect the customers in general. Does the fair have an artsy feeling or a church bazaar feeling? And are the customers looking for unique items they can't make or stocking stuffers? I know you have written previous posts but I can't remember whether you said you had ever attended this fair. Different fairs seem to cater to different clientele and that will ultimately affect your pricing.

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    1. Oh, very good point! I have attended this fair before and it felt very "artsy". But, I think I won't really know until I'm a vendor there myself how people feel about prices.

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  19. Thanks so much for writing so honestly about this subject. I might suggest that you rename your picnic blankets something like "fresh modern throw" or "modern art throw," which would make the (justifiably) higher price more logical for customers.

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    1. Or just an outdoor blanket perhaps? I do think this would be something to consider. I think if I pictured it as something I would use on outdoor furniture on my patio or indoors even in the summer, I might pay a higher price than if I pictured it getting dirty easily and often on the ground. Even if once home it ends up getting used for both, I can see how the name might have an influence on price.

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    2. I think re-naming it is a great idea. And maybe have some pictures of adorable children having a picnic on the blanket and of cool adults enjoying a night on the patio on the blanket.

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  20. So so hard! Thank you for your honest article, and all the responses it has generated. I do agree with Linda, there is a certain level of responsibility to other craftspeople who are trying to make a living

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  21. Oops, sorry, the iPad cut me off! Hope the craft show goes really well for you, and you are able to do a follow up article.

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  22. I really appreciate you putting this out there. As many have commented your prices could be higher in my estimate. Having just made some (simpler) coasters, I think those could really be higher, they are so annoying! I did put binding on mine though and that might have been the problem. I would up your hourly rate, maybe see what it would look like if you tried it at a rate you could actually live on, and then back off of that if it's too scary. ;)

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    1. haha, I think they are so annoying too. So far I've only made 2 sets. But, I'm going to make a few more and then stop. I don't bind them precisely because it would drive me crazy!

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  23. Thanks for posting this - it's interesting to know how you calculated this!

    I think that you're pricing a bit too low compared to craft shows that I've attended (I live in Chicago, so I don't know how much geography affects things!). I'm certainly a fairly thrifty shopper in general, but I'm willing to pay more for unique, high-quality handmade items. I pay prices at craft/art shows that I would NEVER pay at a chain store because I know that the item is unique and not made overseas in a factory.

    I think the most important thing to remember if you're feeling nervous about prices is that you have a skill and a talent that you have spent HOURS honing, and it's ok to expect people to pay for that. It's really no different than paying a lawyer to draft a contract or having a mechanic fix a car - it's just a different skill set.

    Good Luck - I can't wait to hear more about the whole process!

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  24. I think you've done a fabulous job of thinking things through. It's a gamble either way and I think it depends so much on your customers. For example: I could not sell a very nice, never used set of silverware in a wooden display case for $20 here. Yet, I took it to my Mom in San Antonio and someone bought it for $130 at a garage sale. I know it was not handmade, but I am just using it as an example of the difference in markets. I tend to think that people who do make things are willing to pay for handmade items because they know the time it takes to create them. I wish you all the best and I hope you sell everything!

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  25. This is a fantastic blog post. Thank you so much. I am in the UK and have no advice on pricing. It is the single reason why I don't even consider selling what I make ever.

    I just wanted to say I hope it goes really really well and would love to hear all about it when you get back.
    xxxx

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  26. You've had so many interesting and thoughtful points about the making and selling of these items, and I thank you for sharing with the rest of us. As for pricing, it sounds like you are on the right track. Your work is beautiful and unique, and I think people will respond well to it.

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    1. Thanks so much, Valerie. I'm enjoying sharing the process with you all!

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  27. If I had the money to buy only handmade, I would. Even though I don't have unlimited funds, I always feel that people who create items with their hands should be fairly compensated. I agree, I think the journal covers could be priced higher. Overall, though, I appreciate you taking the time to point out how you came to pricing your items; even if you don't do it for a living, you still have to feel like you've been fairly comped for your valuable time. I think the prices are very reasonable. Best of luck at the show!

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  28. Thank you for being so honest, it's a tricky business. I've done a few craft fairs local to me and it works ok. But... what if a shop wanted to stock your work and wants to mark up 100% or take 50% of sale price (I think that's the same thing!). I had this happen to me and when I had done the maths there was no way I could sell through a shop without loosing out! I was gutted but pleased I said no, I know a number of people locally who do sell through a shop and one girl has said her time is a 'freebie'! what is the point of that? Anyway I'll be watching with interest to see how it goes - good luck.

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  29. I think a lot about this and possibly jumping into the craft fair world and I struggle in the same way.. I think a part of it comes down to demographic as well.. Depending on the type of show, how high you can put the prices, etc. It's unfortunate but people REALLY don't get how much goes into the production of these goods and feel they should be paying bottom dollar. I hope everything goes well for you!!

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  30. I agree that you don't want to short sell yourself - or other people who are doing this for a living. I was very embarrassed when I was asked to knit a commission as I had no idea how to charge. As it was a gift for someone I liked, I offered to knit it for the cost of supplies only. When they baulked at the cost of the wool, I felt embarrassed - when I considered my hours of work I felt angry with myself. Price for what you feel is fair. If people think it is overpriced then they don't deserve your beautiful work, or a second thought. Your prices sound fair, could easily be higher. I guess you'll soon find out if you are broadly in line with the other sellers at the fair but its better not to undervalue yourself as it might make you feel bad. Good Luck!!

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  31. Lots of good comments so I won't repeat but my first thought on (example) $28 is that it's not a nice round number for currency. Y'know? You'll have to be handing back a lot of twosies. So I think it's better to price things at 10s and 5s. Does that make sense? Make yourself an extra $2 and say it's $30. Are you making your prices not round for a reason? I'm sure there's some physchology to all of this!!
    And then my other thought is that you'll want to have a 'collection price' on the wall art. I would want to buy that/ sell those chevrons as a unit. So perhaps a collective price of $160 and then split they are $45/$45/$90???
    Something like that, I'm just throwing out numbers!
    And lastly, I think, (and you alluded to this) that undervaluing your work is as bad as overvaluing it. My sister in law has started selling on Etsy and I think her prices are waaay too low and she's not only bringing the value of her work down but that of others who sell similar items. Check around on Etsy to see what others are up to?
    Good luck with the show- the stuff you've shown so far is just gorgeous!

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    1. Oh, no, I didn't even think of all that change! Thanks. Yes, there is a phschology to it, but the practicatlity of it should also be considered.

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  32. Very interesting post. I like the way you think through it and explain your reasoning. The one thing that will help the most of course is experience and contact with real buyers, which you won't get until you sit through one weekend! Good luck! Your stuff is beautiful.

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  33. I think you're on the right track! I did my first (and only so far) craft show last fall and it was a real learning experience for sure. So much depends on the type of craft show and the audience that they cater to. The main thing is to have fun!

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  34. I agree with just about everything already posted. My only addition is just to say not to sell yourself short. I am also a frugal shopper but if an item is priced too low I am suspicious about the quality. I struggle with pricing the same ways you are. It's a horrible catch 22 where I struggle with the guilt of pricing something fairly and the frustration of under-compensating myself for my time and expertise. I would price a bit higher for this show and change tactics (if necessary) for the next one. I would be hesitant to mark things down even on the last day unless you really, really don't want to bring things home. Good luck on your first show. I'm sure you'll do great.

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  35. I've just been watching one of the Etsy Online labs videos "Etsy success- The Art of Pricing for Profit" If you can face hunting through the labs its well worth a watch! Aaaand it will make you feel a lot better about upping some of your prices (Well it did for me)
    I'm in agreement with everyone else (For a change :D) and think you need to up your £££ Your journal covers are beautiful and if they were in a nice modern boutique would be going for way more than $28-$35

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  36. Seems like you've gotten plenty of feedback and the general consensus is your prices are good, if not a bit low! I agree! Esp on the journal covers - I'd go up to maybe $32. I think the key to your success will be that you will be selling at a modern, trendy show - people are going to expect higher prices. Also, this may have already been suggested but I would recommend marketing the picnic blankets as throws/lightweight quilts, etc. Thanks for being so open about this subject...I struggle with this myself in my Etsy shop. And I have friends who are interested in my items but I suspect they think my prices are high - and I think that's b/c they just aren't used to buying handmade and don't know how much time/effort goes into making things. I would love to do an artsy craft fair one day!

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    1. Thanks, Laurel. I'm going to have to rethink my terminology on the picnic blankets. I agree those little details can make all the difference!

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  37. Thank you so much for sharing your pricing so honestly. This is something I am struggling with at the moment. Can I charge what I wouldn't pay because that is actually what it is worth (exactly like your picnic rug example). I think I am a total cheapskate which makes it hard for me to value my time and factor it into my prices. Your products are beautiful, so fresh and fun, I am sure they will sell and I agree with starting at a higher price with the view that you can bring it down if you feel necessary. I recently put a bag up for sale with a price that wasn't quite high enough but high enough to make me cringe. And guess what? It sold. It made me feel good about setting a more realistic price with regards to my time. Good luck with the market. I look forward to reading how you go :)

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  38. See, I told you the prices should be higher. I feel so validated!

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  39. Pricing things in general used to give me the hives (and sometimes still does). This includes items for sale, costs for workshops I teach, presentations I give, etc. I've learned alot over the years and always appreciate those that share their ideas on such topics, so Thanks!!!

    I am going to be participating in my first "Artsy, Modern" craft fair this fall and am thrilled to be getting back into it. I'm super excited to hear about how everything goes and I think your prices are on track. Good Luck!!

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  40. I think you should really calculate the prices with the old (materials + labour) x 2 (or more!), and don't fudge. The prices may feel high to you but they are fair for the effort you put in and there is a buyer out there for you. You'll find him/her. Fair prices support you and the handmade community - plus if you price too low everyone will wonder what's wrong with your stuff. Truly!

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  41. Agree with all of the above posts-- pricing is a painful process, but in the end, under pricing your items does not pay off in the end.
    I wanted to ask about what sort of payment methods you will be accepting. I have found that once an item costs over $50 most people will not want to pay cash. Setting up to accept credit cards is easy (especially if you have a Smartphone, or will have an ipad or laptop with you at the show) but you might want to get that squared away ASAP. Just something to think about.

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  42. I think you are absolutely right that pricing is the hardest (and most personal) aspect of selling handmade. I often have to remind myself that I am not my customer, so what I would pay for something may not be what my customer would. You also have a skill that many people don't, so you should consider the value of that too. :) Also goods that have a higher price-tag sometimes have a higher perceived value.

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  43. A very interesting pricing process there. I'm glad I haven't started selling anything now!
    Pricing I think is one of the hardest things to work out. Going by your methods I think I'll start properly working out my pricing cost's before I go any further with making anything. =D

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  44. This is a great post. I hope you do well at the craft show. I'm building inventory now for my first time selling in a craft fair. The local high schools have them every year right before Christmas.

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  45. I think if you put your prices up to begin with, on the last day when buyers are expecting bargains you'll still be making money if you have them on "sale". I'm a bit of a nerd and for me seeing nice, modern, pretty packaging does a lot to encourage me to buy something I like but may be hesitating on. This includes pricetags. Handwritten, smudgy ink puts me off every time. But a pretty package(with your brand on) that I can carry, makes me feel happy until
    I can get home to open it up. I also agree with Linda above as I don't normally carry much cash. And one last thing take some lip balm/ gloss as they are sure to get sore from all the smiling you'll need to do. Good luck!

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  46. So I agree w/what many comments have said - I think the journal covers could go for more - and perhaps the art, too. I think people will try to bargain with you, too. If you raise your prices it will allow you to bargain with some people. If you don't want to bargain you could figure out how to package things together to give a "deal" (and who doesn't want a "Deal"). The only thing that makes me cringe a little bit is the picnic quilt. I don't know that I would ever pay that much ... I know a full quilt can be upwards of $300 - but I don't know that I can spend over $100 on something that I am going to throw on the ground and potentially spill things on. But that's just me.

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    1. I do want to figure out if I'll bargain or not. It's something I feel I should decide going in. I like your suggestion to focus on "deals" if not. Then I could point bargainers towards possible deals.

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  47. Wish I had time to read all these comments. Such an interesting topic. This is why I don't sell my stuff. With the cost of materials and the fact that I'd have to pay $12/hour to hire a babysitter to watch my kids, I'd never recoup the cost. Unless you are selling to an artsy crowd, I'm not sure most people 'get' it. The cheapest dress that I can make -just materials (using nice fabric) is around $7-10. I've had people comment that they could get two dresses for this price at Walmart. (And I have to wonder what kid is behind a sewing machine to make it available at that price, but that's another topic). Sewing is (most of the time)not for thrift anymore...

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  48. I do craft shows also, and always wonder if my prices are too high - it's a tough battle to find the happy medium between making a profit and pricing so things sell. But I think you do great work and will sell. Good luck!

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  49. Do you need to charge tax where your show is? If so, you might want to prefigure that into the prices you list. Also, do you have an iPhone/iPad? At our local craft show (Urban Craft Uprising in Seattle) most of the vendors have something they can plug into their iPhone that reads credit cards to do credit card transactions. For most larger purchases, I think people won't bring cash, they will want to charge.

    Also, if your prices are lower than the crafting community in general, be prepared for some possible pushback. Crafters who sell their items for low prices because it is just for fun contribute to setting consumer price expectations. Which affects whether anyone can do it for a living. Just something to think about.

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    1. Yes, I am planning to use Square to accept credit cards. Definitely key! Good point about the pushback. That's part of the community nature of setting prices. It's understandable for folks to be frustrated by what they might feel are unfairly low prices. That could definitely get uncomfortable quick, if folks really do feel the prices are unfair. I guess there's no way to know in advance, unfortunately.

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  50. I was thinking about $25 on the journal. I have a hard time pricing things because I see them and think "I could make that." I usually try to balance what my sister (craft ignorant) and my mom (craft awe) would be willing to pay. I think with the picnic blanket you'd gave to factor in how much summer is left. People may not be willing to pay for something they think they wil only use a couple times and then have to store for the winter.
    Good luck. There's a holiday faire in my town that I'm always tempted to try my hand with a booth.

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    1. Thanks so much for your honest feedback, Amanda! I really, really appreciate it.

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  51. I would round up your journal covers to at least $30. I make some as gifts with the person's initial and something fancy embroidered on the front as well as piecing fabric. A friend asked me to make some for her to give as gifts for her friends and would not pay me less than $35! She of course is a friend and knows the time spent on these and values handmade! I think if the community you are selling to understands handmade and the thought and time, you will have no problems at all! Although I have been to markets before where I have had so much wonderful feedback and lots of people complimenting my work but don't buy anything!!
    I think your items are pretty much spot on. You have made things that are sellable. Some things are priceless like the medallion quilt we are all making! You could not put a price on something like that as you would never be able to charge for the time. Alabama chanin is a good example where they can sell their DIY kits much cheaper than the finished product and the difference in their pricing is an indication of the amount of work that goes into each item.
    My beautiful daughter is making some felt animals for a market at the moment and I so want her time and enthusiasm rewarded! Each item is made with wool felt and natural fleece which is much more expensive than polyester materials. Same as quilting fabrics are more expensive than other fabrics.
    Thanks for being brave enough to share your pricing Rachel! I really hope that you do well and that your time is well rewarded!

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  52. This has been a very interesting read. I believe your prices could stand to be raised. Here's a thought. Price high. Go higher than you imagine possible. Give the show a day at the high prices. If you aren't selling, mark the items down to the prices you listed above. I don't mean it as a ploy but people do appreciate knowing they are getting a deal and the word sale does encourage shopping for some.

    By the way, my SIL, niece & I were discussing your wares and prices and we have a practical question. Do the journal covers come with journals? They expressed reluctance at buying a journal cover and not having it fit the journal they had.

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    1. Thanks so much for discussing my wares with others. That's beyond helpful! Yes, they do come with the paper journals themselves. In fact, folks can choose between college rule or graph paper, and I also have a few wide rule for the kids. I'll swap for their favorite option!

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  53. Thank you so much for writing this. I always struggle with pricing the things I make and inevitably end up going with a way too low price that basically just covers materials and doesn't even begin to pay me an hourly wage. This is a great reminder that I need to value my time and actually put a price on it. While I love making what I sew affordable to people I can't spend 10 hours working on something and just charge materials + $10 like I'm apt to do.

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  54. Thanks for the post - I think you could up your prices slightly. Craft fair attendants know what handmade means .... not homemade! Your time and experience is worth more than $10 per hour.

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  55. Thank you for this post! I don't often sell what I make, but I've been asked a few times how much I would charge to make something, and I never know what to say! I think the other commenters are TOTALLY right about rounding up, though! Don't undersell your stuff; you do amazing work, period.

    My only suggestion is that you might consider having some lower priced items (single potholders? wristlets? [http://tinyurl.com/bsornfh] greeting cards?) so there's something under $20 for... *ahem* completely broke twenty-somethings who love handmade, artsy things but don't have much in terms of cash. Although, the craft fair that you're going to may be a COMPLETELY different demographic than what I'm used to!

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  56. This has been a really interesting thread. I too think that you could go a bit higher on your prices, although in my experience with this is limited (as a seller). I do have a few things on consignment in a shop and a very small lap quilt sold for over 120.00 (120.00 was what I needed from it, I'm not sure how much they marked it up). But the larger higher priced ones have not sold. Nevertheless I won't lower my price, eventually someone will buy them & appreciate them. As for your picnic blankets, these are pieced, with batting? I would recommend listing them as large throws, leaving the picnic part out of the equation and they should go for at least as much as the baby quilts. And the post that mentioned you having some handwork to do-spot on-that way they can actually see you working on something, even if it just applique on a journal cover. Just my 2 cents worth. Hope you have a wonderful time & sell everything!

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  57. And just another thought, are you going to put your Stitched in color labels on your things? I think that would be a great idea, esp. for the quilts, ipad covers & journals.

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  58. I agree with several comments that mentioned rounding your prices up. My husband's aunt used to sell at craft fairs and anything that was a price that didn't end in 5 or 0, people would automatically ask her to round down the price. It was weird because they didn't do that with the prices that ended in 5 or 0.

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  59. When I had an online business I usually charged $10/hr. of work, plus materials. (I didn't have to really worry about the padding.) I'd say you're good there.

    And as a former seller...I want to say THANK YOU for being responsible with your pricing and not underselling. There are so many people out there who undersell for so many reasons...hoping to make a ton of sales, hoping to beat out the competition, just don't know how to price their work. And it makes it a lot harder for someone who is handcrafting as their job to succeed. So many people are used to buying things on the cheap. And if they want cheap...then they can do that at a big box store. People attending craft shows are often a lot more savvy to the pricing. :) Good luck! Have fun!

    -Amanda-
    www.thecozypumpkin.com

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  60. Great post and great information in these comments. I was talking to some women last year who were telling me I should sell some of the items I make. I asked how much they thought I should charge for a certain item and their answer was so low that my response was that it would not even cover the cost of materials - their response was that I should use cheaper materials! - Seriously??? I tried not to feel too insulted but . . .
    Also, as for marketing the picnic blanket - I made one this summer specifically because I knew I would be taking lots of pics of my baby (and her sisters and cousins) outside on our vacation and I thought the patchwork picnic blanket would bring a nice element to the photos - maybe you can do something with that?

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  61. Don't want to double up on what others have said here but one thing you might want to think about with people bargaining is having a clear idea in your head about what price is too low to accept when bargaining. When are you better off taking it home at the end rather than selling it at too low a price, even if it is as part of a multiple item sale. I think you have to look at this particular fair as your learning experience and be prepared to not perhaps have sold all at the end or discover you are under or over priced and learn from it for the next time around. Kind of like making your first quilt, you make mistakes, learn from them and do better next time! I think your things will sell well but don't be heartbroken if you have to take some home. You'll be on a headstart for the next one then! Be glad you don't live in Australia as our quilt fabrics are $20-25 per metre, much more expensive than yours!

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  62. Most people have said what I think already, so just want to say, I love your work and good luck with it, can't wait to hear how it goes :)

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  63. Ditto to a lot of the above! I'm going to have to bookmark this post. Very interesting post and comments. I think the picnic quilts should be higher priced... But I haven't gotten to the pricing part of this crafting journey, yet. Good luck and have fun! Your work is beautiful.

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  64. I can't read all the above yet, BUT--here is my 2 cents. I d NOT buy QS quality fabrics, because none of my clients are willing to pay that. I really DO need to up my prices, because I do not get paid even minimum wage. But if I charge any more ($200 for a twin)I won't get any orders at all. The key IS in the small things that you can inflate. ie. I just made crayons disks from my kids old crap. I can box them pretty and sell them for $10. THAT is the key!! I adore your work, and I believe it is WORTH that price. I just worry that you won't get it. I hope your fairs are better than mine!

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  65. this is a really interesting blog. Thanks for sharing. i live i Australia so I have no idea about the pricing but what you have done is fair so I can see no reason why people wouldn't pay for them :)

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  66. I think it´s good that you also thought about your hourly wage. I experienced that women who sell handmade items at our local craft shows always charge too little and that probably just covers their material costs because they say that people are not willing to give more, that it is their hobby and they enjoyed making it, so they cannot ask for more!!! I cannot agree to those arguments and would rather give away my quilts and other handmade stuff as gifts (what I do a lot) than sell it at a price that is just too little considered the work and material costs not to forget the creative ideas and patterns.
    I wish you the best for the market!

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  67. I really appreciate you being transparent about your thought process. I think I'll just babble on freely here!

    I am always a bit taken aback at Ipad etc cover prices, but I think if I was to see something one of a kind and awesome, I would find the prices perfectly fine for that, it's just hard to suck it up when it's boring AND highly priced.

    Baby quilts - well I don't have kids, my immediate response is WOW that's a lot - but if the quilt is large enough to carry the kid through the early toddler years (and end up being their favorite binkie?) then I might splurge for that, but the design/fabrics would have to call out to me. My one worry is that if I saw picnic blankets were larger/as elaborate as the baby quilts, I'd pass on them probably, even if I liked them.

    Picnic blankets - if they are cool and well made, I wouldn't think the price was out of line at all. Ok, I live right outside of Seattle and it's hardly ever sunny, but I do still believe in owning a picnic blanket or two!

    Wall art? Spot on, if I find art I like I'll plan a room around it. I consider art the accessory of a room, and I'll pay a lot more for earrings than I will for a shirt! My little pieces of art say a LOT more about my personality than my sofa or dining room table do.

    Coasters, that's a hard one, I may pay that much if I'm don't have any, or for a housewarming or Christmas gift for a newer couple, but it it wasn't for me, or for a close friend that I thought I knew the taste of? I would hate spending that money to have them sit unloved and unused. (may have to do with being 40, as I get older my tastes get ..stricter? so I assume my friends are more particular in their style tastes too, so impulse buys are not as normal as careful choices)

    This is also a good reminder of me the next time I go to a craft show, I have to stop considering price as such a factor, a one of a kind item with a personality that resounds with me is a much better purchase than something less expensive but generic.

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  68. Just one more thing: we here are fabric nerds and would recognize fabrics often by their designer or collection. Your buyers are not necessarily like that. Maybe you should consider to not only use expensive quilter´s fabric but to mix them with some nice second hand fabrics from family members or thrift stores, from ikea, bed linen etc.

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  69. I've done a few shows with my fine art photography, and do a similar pricing. My formula is COGS (cost of goods sold) x 2 or 3 depending on where the number lands. That 2 or 3 covers my expenses and time spent.

    Once I reach that number, I think long and hard about if it is a proper reflection to the amount that I put in. For example, I hand assemble all of my photo greeting cards, so even though they are a smaller product, I multiply my COGS by a higher number than I would a canvas (which has a much higher COGS to begin with).

    That being said, I think you are too low on your journal covers, and I agree that you should start higher for the first day and have a back up plan to lower if necessary. I understand that you don't do craft shows full time, but that is not a good reason to devalue your work. Most importantly, whatever number you choose, DO NOT be wishy washy and uncertain about it. Make sure it is a number that you believe in. Then your customers will respect the number and won't try to wiggle you down because they sense that you are unsure.

    I also think by setting your numbers slightly higher, you give yourself the ability to create DEALS! My a la carte (or single item) pricing is ALWAYS higher than what my formula dictates so that I can create great package deals for my shoppers!! And I think that some of your products can def be bought in a group. A perfect example is the chevron canvas - all three of those could be offered together for a deal!! Same with journal covers, buy one at $30, second at $25, etc. And finally, spend X amount and receive a free gift is always a lovely option.

    I also want to mention that I used my fine art photography show as an opportunity to get portrait clients! I had a small slips of paper and had a raffle. Sign up for my newsletter and you are entered to win a small canvas. I ended up getting two high paying clients out of those emails which paid for that show and two future shows! I think that you could do the same thing. You could easily do a quarterly newsletter for your blog highlighting upcoming classes, giveaways, etc and use it to get more readers and raffle away a juicy object.

    Anyway, I'm not trying to be pushy or a know-it-all. I just remember taking in ever bit of information I could at my first show, so I hope that some of this is useful to you, or you could swing some of it to suit your needs!

    I am really enjoying reading about your show and the progress!! xox

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  70. I think you need to be careful about how you name your products, the picnic blanket is a perfect example, can the customer think outside of the box (with so many other beautiful things on show) to other possible uses for the blanket. It could be an 'indoor/outdoor summer throw' you might want to add a little description in small print on your signs such as 'perfect for an improptu picnic or for throwing over your shoulders on a cooler summer evening' if an item can be used for multiple things then it is able to command a higher price. For a picnic blanket, I would also want to emphasize it's washability - you might only do this in conversation with potential buyers, but I know that people that I have gifted quilts to have who don't know quilting themselves have always been concerned about getting the quilts dirty, when as quilt lovers we know that a couple of washes and turns in the drier is what makes quilts so lovely a squishy and soft.
    Again as others have said, your fabrics are beautiful, but not everyone will appreciate that you have used xyz designer fabric (again, in this instance something you might like to add in to conversation - that you only use quality quilters cotton and therefore the products will last/wash/colours won't run etc. If you wanted to reduce prices then you might mix in a few designer prints with cheaper solids, and for items like picnic blankets then it might be worth considering thrifted fabrics as well which would help you to reduce the unit cost without sacrificing your labor cost. Good luck with the market, I hope it's fun and you get to meet some lovely people.

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    1. Great post, and it looks like the comments are just as valuable! When I have more time I'm going to read through all these comments, but for now I'll just say this: The wall art prices are too low!

      Check out some Etsy sellers to see what wall art goes for . . . I've bought from http://www.etsy.com/shop/LuciusArt and their prices are $39 for an 8x10 piece that obviously isn't as time-consuming to make as yours, so I think your small chevrons could sell for double what you've got here and the large one for up to $200.

      The thing about "art" is that it has no intrinsic value, it's worth whatever someone's willing to pay for it. I say price the wall art way high (or what you yourself would consider way high) and mark it down if it doesn't sell the first two days. I'm willing to bet it will though, I want those chevron pieces myself!!

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  71. Something we talk about all the time in the knitting world.. pricing! Generally the consensus is 3-4 times the cost of materials. Often I am asked to knit someone a whole sweater for 30$ when the materials cost me 130$ I also recommend having business cards made. I am the type of person who doesn't buy right away.. but picks up a card and writes the item and cost on the back. Then I call later to see if the item is still available for purchase. I agree with folks that your prices are too low. I would up them all about 20%.

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  72. I really appreciate seeing the pricing structure and that you are asking for feedback. First off, agreed, this may not be the perfect crowd for feedback (with the "I can do that" factor) However, in some instances (like myself) it is all about the skill set. I make quilts. I do not make wall art or coasters or journal covers. To make any of the above I would have to invest in additional materials (canvas, etc)and be willing to take the time to learn the new skill set.Therefore I am definitely a potential buyer for 75% of what you have shown.I think your pricing is fine. Given the nature of the show it could probably be a bit higher. Not personally knowing the demographics of the area it is hard to say. With that said I would like to add a suggestion...People (in general) attend shows together (funny enough I don't, LOL) and feed off of each other. Two people walk into a booth one says has a negative (or positive) comment and all of a sudden THEY have an opinion (and the person behind them is thinking about what they said). The biggest comments I hear are general information (or lack of) comments.My suggestion has to do with marketing. Don't be shy! When I walk into "your" booth I would love to see an (or several)8.5 x 11 laminated piece of paper that read "All products hand made using 100% quilt weight cottons and cotton thread" (or something similar)...and then by each display I would love to see "Summer Weight Quilt. Perfect for the beach, a visit to the park, a day at the lake, a picnic or a lazy day in your own back yard or even a summer quilt for your bed. 100% colorfast quilting cotton was used in the creating of this one of a kind quilt. It is 100% washable. 60 x 60" or something similar. This serves two purposes. 1.Those who don't think out of the box are taken out of the "name=use" box and 2. It answers all of the general questions before they have to be asked (also creating an "upfront and honest" feeling as a bonus) The most frustration I have at a show (hands down, every time I go to one) is when I have a question of the maker/seller and another customer is grilling them about something (usually insignificant) and other people are lined up to ask other questions. I am certainly not going to interrupt for my question so I am faced with "Do I wait (potentially)10 or 15 Minutes to ask my question or do I move on?" Almost always my question is general, like "Can it be machine washed?" The more "marketing" I see in a booth the more I feel that the artist is supporting what they have created. Just my $1.00's worth of input, lol, hope it all made sense. I can't wait to see more of the process and how the show goes. Good luck!

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    1. Ok, I think I should hire you to make my signs!!! Or, since I can't hire anyone I'd better THANK YOU and start planning to make them myself. After doing all the work of making, it just makes sense to take a bit of time to invest in this kind of clear communication. Your post is so helpful!

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  73. My only comment is a selfish one. Before you "give" your beautiful things away (at a huge discount on the last day, for example), please bring them home and give us (your faithful followers!) an opportunity to buy them! We would pay you what they are worth. :-) Best of luck to you - I'm sure it will go very well!

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  74. In the UK the minimum wage is £6.50 roughly $10, so you are not paying yourself much for your labour.
    I do agree that most buyer will probably not appreciate how much work has gone into quilts. A friend asked me to make a quilt for her boy and was shocked when I told her the material (wadding and back included) would come to something like £80.
    I don't think the pricing is unreasonable.
    Hope you do well at your show.

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  75. Please, please don't discount your items on the third day. If you do, that tells the buyer who has been lurking around that your items are not worth the original cost. This happened at our quilt show a couple of years ago. The ladies in charge of the quilt boutique decided to discount the last hour of the show. Bummer! Last year I was there the last couple of hours, and I refused to lower the price. We had a brisk run on sales the last hour. I looked at your items, and I think you are more than fair in your pricing. I don't think any crafter ever gets the true worth for the items they make. Good luck. Francis C. Moore

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    1. Thanks for adding your thoughts, Francis. I feel like I'm hearing 2 sides: 1. people expect discounts so plan to give them and 2. believe in your prices, hold fast!

      I originally planned to do no negotiating and no discounting so that I would be stress-free. I feel like walking the line will be SO hard to do without constantly wondering if I'm giving too much or too little. If prices are just that - the prices, it really does seem so much easier.

      That, and I could have some "deals" that are available all the time based on group purchases. Hm...

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  76. Since I've never sold any of my own handmade items, I really don't have anything new to add. I do agree with the advice to rename the picnic quilts, and I love the idea in Rachel's (comment #97) post about marketing. You should definitely explain to your customers what makes your items great!
    I also agree with the comment about your wall art. The prices on that seem low, and the idea of a group price option is smart!

    I'm really excited for you, Rachel. And thank you for sharing this process!

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  77. I think your formula is a good start. If I were doing it and wanted a sanity check, I'd do some browsing on etsy and see what stuff is selling for there. For a craft show, I'd actually price a bit higher on etsy because (a) your customers won't have to pay shipping and (b) they get to meet you when they buy and I actually think that personal connection has value. Good luck!

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  78. I recently attended the Renegade Craft Fair in San Francisco, where I purchased a dress for $200. This is more than I have paid for a dress in a long time, if ever, excluding my wedding dress. Why did I do it? Handmade, fit well, and adorable. It makes me happy to wear it. Perhaps because I also sew and understand cost or materials and time, I was willing to do this. There was a lot of textile goods at this fair and many things were pretty pricey. People seemed to be buying, though. Perhaps a well educated crowd is worth the trip!

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  79. Such an awesome post! A topic that I wrestle with each time I dream of doing a show.
    I do want to ask about the iPad pricing, you are including each of the categories mentioned, right?
    $4 materials + $20 labor + $8 padding = I get a total of $32, to start your pricing, which falls in line with most comments of raising your prices. Just wanting to clarify the method and total for this item. I do think that the $32 price is a very sellable price for the iPad cover.
    Your work is lovely, and your character is charming, and I am usually willing to pay the higher prices, knowing that I am supporting the artist, don't cheat yourself. And thanks for sharing!

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  80. mary/Sy Lake QuiltsJuly 28, 2012 at 12:54 PM

    Great post, and the comments are very helpful to me as well! What more could i ask for? I have sold in a consignment shop for several years, and will be doing my first craft sale in late september. My main items are place mats and runners, with some other small items planned, and a couple baby quilts. I also posted (although rather late) on your inventory post-- which was also very helpful. I am still the last comment , and maybe you haven't seen it. I was advised by the people running the sale to make sure i had fall items and even some christmas items. The sale i'm in is only 2 weeks after yours. What do you think about that? any advice from others with experience?

    Post #97 is excellent-- "summer weight quilt" is much better.

    I will look forward to following your progress in this adventure.

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    1. Glad it's helpful for you as well, Mary! I agree that folks are thinking about the holidays by the time of this market. However, I don't desire to make holiday stuff, so I'm not going to. I really believe in keeping it down to a few main categories, so that's playing in here too.

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  81. I think your prices sound good and thought out and also like something I'd be willing to buy if I happened to shop at your stand. :)

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  82. For some years I sold children's clothing in Australia at markets. My philosophy developed over time. I sold my product as quality, upmarket and a bit funky. Some weren't prepared to buy at my prices (which would have been cheaper than in a retail store but definitely dearer than those who hadn't done their home work and thought that once materials were covered they were making money) but you get what you pay for. I knew I had put effort in to produce a quality product from fabric choice to attention to sewing detail. If the customer wasn't prepared to pay my prices (and there were plenty of those) then it wasn't worth selling to them because at the end of the day if you sell something but don't cover ALL your costs and a bit more you aren't sustainable. That's the difference between a hobby and a business.

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  83. Personally, I would rather pay a bit more to buy a quality item from an individual instead of paying less for a mass-produced item. I remember going to craft shows with my parents when I was younger. My dad would always say that he could make a project for much less than the crafter, so my mom never bought what she wanted (and I don't remember my dad making her the shelves or whatever she wanted).
    Along the same lines, I sew a lot but have bought projects from others. This summer, I bought a custom-embroidered taggie/lovey for my granddaughter. Although I know I could easily make one myself, monetarily it doesn't make sense. By the time I purchase five or more different cute ribbon patterns (enough for variety but just using a few inches of each) and having to get the minky online or at a quilt shop an hour away and have LOTS of extra, I would have paid well more than the Etsy price. And I don't have the embroidery capability.
    Sometimes I browse through the quilts on Etsy. I hate to see people selling their work for cheap (for example, barely covering the cost of materials). It makes it hard others to price their items with a true value price including their labor. In the end, most times you get what you pay for.

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  84. This is such an interesting post, I am about to start turning my total and utter obsession with crochet and fabric into a fledging teeny tiny business and this question is already bothering me, so thanks for your post. It's amazing how some people gripe about paying for hand made goods :)

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  85. Those prices all seem right to me, with the exception of the coasters, which made me do a bit of a double take. $24 just seems like a lot for 4 coasters. But now that I type that, $6 a coaster seems completely reasonable, so...sticker shock on my part? It might be better to price them at $6 each or $20 for 4?

    In regards to the picnic blanket, that seems pricey, I think, because people don't "picnic" very often. A different name that suggests it will get more use may work better. I'm stumped as to what though. Something that suggests all outdoor activities, camping, sports games, playing at the park, outdoor concerts or theater events...To me, something that versatile is worth the $135 price tag. Yes, it's the same item, but that's one that I think will hinge on the marketing.

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    1. I should have read the other comments before I posted. #97 is right on, Summer Weight Quilt/Blanket is *perfect* and I love her idea of signs. : )

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    2. Thanks, Amanda. I'm so glad I had everyone's help with the marketing of that item!

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  86. You have to be careful about "bundling" items (3 for $25, etc.) because if you've been careful about your original pricing formula of $10 each, for example, you've only cheated and undersold yourself. Your "bundled" price should reflect your formula, and the individual cost should be a markup from that. Then you can still come out ahead no matter how many buyers you end up with for your goods.

    My other comment would be to PLEASE not bargain. Typically someone who wants a "bargain" is someone who wants to cheat the artist out of her time/money/expenses that they've carefully calculated to benefit themselves only and save a couple of bucks, and who did little more than show up. Those of us who are too polite and respectful to engage in such activities are always left paying full price, while the brazen and sometimes demanding or rude consumer walks away with all the benefits, leaving the artist and the honest in heart with little consolation. That being said if during the last few hours of the show, in order to reduce inventory, you want to discount items and feel you have made good profit the previous days, you should have the freedom to do that.

    On a side note, I love your blog, and I love your honesty. Keep writing (and quilting!!!)

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  87. Great post and comments! I do craft shows and pricing is something I always struggle with. I have found some good prices for some things, but stillstruggle with others. I like to check out Etsy and use that to guide my prices. I also ask other crafters and check out similar items at shows to compare. I know that if my items are priced much lower than an experienced craft show seller,then I should raise mine for my benefit and it's a bit more fair tot he other seller too. People who say they can get something the same at Walmart for much cheaper are not my customer, usually have no idea what goes into making things, and do not value handmade and fair labour prices. Saying it to their friend while still at my booth also means they are rude! I also love the people who ask lots of questions anout how I made it. Not in the, "I'm a make things for myself and going to try it" kind of way, because I am always happy to craft talk, but the more sneaky questions that just have that "I'm going to try to do it and sell it for cheaper than you" kind of way. I stay vague, but even if I was specific, they'd lose money. Sorry to ramble! I do love craft shows, and can't wait for my next one this week! Good luck to you!

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  88. I'm really late to your pricing party here :) (Vending my quilt patterns at a show all weekend). IMHO, it sounds like you are really on the right track. There's no fun in it if it isn't worth your while. Thanks for sharing so much detail with us all!

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  89. I'll buy your picnic blanket for $130! :)
    great post! You don't need to hide under the desk! (Not from me anyway!) I think it's great that you've gone through a process of crunching the numbers. I do feel like one of the 'called', but for me it's about educating people to price a pinny for more than $18! Argh, that makes me angry! And sad for them. I think you've won when you take the risk to cover your costs, including time and padding. Thanks for sharing! xx
    Oh and as a PS, my experience is that people don't read signs. Only $$. I had a sign at my last market that said "bibs $5 with every purchase" I had about 20 people try to buy a bib on their own. And people feel ripped off, not stupid, when they've read something wrong. And my "reversible clothing $39" sign was too close to my quilts - Not one person read the "reversible clothing" part. Awkward! :)

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  90. Hi! Oh look at all the comments...
    Your sewing is BEAUTIFUL Rachel!! Very very fine. I like your prices. I think you could go 110 for the blankets.

    In my experience, wall fibre-art that is very striking and unique is easier to sell than quilts. Yours are so eyecatching!! They could be $75 each... or $60-100 depending on size. I bet you they will be bought!

    Test it out. If you get a hundred compliments and no purchase, then the price is too high for the crowd. If the disappear in the first couple hours, your price is too low.

    HEY! Have a great time!!!
    Monika
    wishing you ALL the best!!!

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  91. Wow, what a great post and you have so many loyal followers that are willing to give you great advice.

    I agree...
    Your prices are fairly on the low side. Especially for your wall art. People who buy wall art spend money.
    IPAd covers are a must Think $50 though I think. People pay $50 for just the little flap on their ipad. I get compliments on my cover constantly...Where can I get one? Do you sell them? ... Kindle would be great too. People will pay high prices to protect their electronics.
    I would say go with your original feeling and do not lower your prices near the end. Not a bad idea to negotiate with someone if they are buying many items but for one item I would say no.
    You should pay yourself $20 an hour you deserve it. You work hard and your work is exceptional.
    Signage is a must. If you do not want to have huge signs you could also do a few pamplets. Advertise your online classes. They are amazing!
    Oh and I think you do a make up roll that you could probably do well with. Women love make up rolls.

    I hope you kill it!

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  92. I agree that you should raise your prices to better compensate you for your time and talent. Also, it's a good idea, to have something that is very expensive, even if the price seems a bit outrageous and those items don't really sell. It makes the other prices seem more reasonable and you'll sell more of the mid-range items.

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  93. It's interesting that you feel you can price lower since you don't "have" to make money. However, when I first started an established crafter told me that you want to respect other artists' work and not undercut their prices, either.

    The true formula should be Time + Materials x 2 = wholesale price. Wholesale x 2 = Retail price! Following this is actually LESS stressful.

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  94. I have really enjoyed reading your craft fair post series! I am new to craft fairs as well and although I sell handmade cards and paper-crafted items I learned a lot from posts and will use some of the ideas when I do my first craft fair. Thank you for sharing your story!

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