“Trying to balance what people will pay while trying to make some sort of profit is really a hard call.”
So, I just finished reading this amazing article, Fair Pay For A Fair Day’s Work, written by Vicki, the knitter extraordinaire behind Dover & Madden. (Also, you should check out her Etsy shop. She makes some beautiful stuff!) I would encourage all of you out there who knit, crochet, sew, or do anything crafty, to read this article, because we shouldn’t be making a pittance for what we do (even if it is doing something we love!) For one project that I made last year, I did the math, and with what I had already promised the customer the price I would charge on a particular item that was harder to make than anticipated, I ended up making less than 50 cents an hour, which is ridiculous. I work really hard on the things that I make, most of the time the things that I make are my own patterns, too, which take time and energy to come up with. I don’t want to sound like I am complaining or getting defensive, but I have had several people request for items at a lower price, and I just want to let them know why I have to charge as much as I do.
I think it’s important that people see the breakdown of how things like handknits (or crochet, or sewn, whatever) are priced. I had a talk with a friend a few days ago and she mentioned that “If you charged too little, people would undervalue your work. So in essence, the more you charge, the more people value your work.” (Thanks, Betsy!) This is an especially relevant time to bring this up, with the upcoming holiday season, which is obviously my busiest time for custom orders.
But seriously, if you’re a crafter and have trouble pricing your work (I’ve always struggled with this!) I would highly suggest you read Vicki’s article, she eloquently states what I’ve been struggling to for years. Also, make sure to get your Christmas Orders in soon, so I can make sure they’re out to you in time for the Holidays! I may not have enough time (obviously I’ve got a bit more on my plate this year) to do quite as many orders as I did last Christmas, so please make sure to place them early so I can get a head start on making them.
Remember, feel free to make requests for specific animals, or different color combinations, I’m willing to give just about anything a try! Email me at email@example.com if you’d like to place an order!
Hmm, that’s precisely the reason I have never made items for sale. I love to sew but how do I charge enough to make it worth the time and effort? (And how do I get people to pay that much? : ) )
Yup, saw a hand smocked dress I spent over 20 hours on sell at an auction for $8. Cured me. Now I donate Labor, not items.
Since I started knitting, I have thought about selling some items, but I realized I would have to be significantly faster at knitting before I could consider making selling things worth the effort. I also need to not think that just because I knitted a gift for someone and the yarn didn’t cost all that much, that the value of the gift is less than if I had gone out and spent $30 on a gift. Hand made things are awesome and special! 🙂
I completely agree with people undervaluing your items if you underprice yourself. My husband is a photographer and has found the same thing!
Fantastic article, Ali. I totally agree. Thanks for posting this!
Isn’t it sad when you price out your actual pay per hour? And I don’t even sell items so much as my time teaching.
I have to agree with the above commenter – there have been many times when I’ve completely undervalued or ignored the unique-ness and thoughtfulness of homemade gifts (or services) because “oh, the supplies were cheap” or “oh, it was just my time”. And that’s not fair either, because oftentimes those are precisely the gifts/services that are most meaningful.