Sunday, July 14, 2013

Business Cat time - a quick survey on handmade pricing


 Business Cat

I spend a great deal of time in the Etsy forums (when I'm not being banned) helping people out and often point the way to the Etsy Seller Handbook because there really is so much in there. While perusing it I came across a video entitled, 'the art of pricing for profit'. Since I'm trying to make a full-time income from Etsy, I watched it with interest, but not thinking I was going to get a lot out of it. (I needed something to entertain me through lunch.)

In fact I did get an enormous amount out of it! So much so I'm going to be doing a blog post on it soon, when I get it wrangled. It's in rough drafts at the moment but it's my hope that it will encourage all of you to be able to make sense of your own pricing. So with that in mind, here are a few questions for you. You can answer them in the comments to this post- anonymous posting is activated so you can do that if you're shy about it. If you prefer you can email me at sparrowsalvage at gmail dot com and I will (anonymously) use the answers to help me write a better post. 

Many people consider it rude to talk about income, money, pricing of art/craft work etc, but I've never really understood why. We're all just regular people trying to learn from one another, I don't see where being secretive about these things helps. Sharing helps. So if I could pry...

1. Do you make enough now for your handmade to be your sole income?

2. Do you (want to) make a full income from your handmade or is it supplement?

3. Do you HONESTLY feel your handmade is priced for what it's worth? Why/not?

4. Do you think you under-price yourself? Why?

5. (for high price point sellers) Was there ever a time when you were afraid to charge big? How did you get around/over that?

6. Have you ever noticed a correlation in sales vs prices? (ie sales went up/down when prices did)

Thanks chaps!

(this post has been updated on 30/09/2015 - some portions have been edited for brevity.)

9 comments:

Jiorji said...

i'm REALLY looking forward to your blog post on "etsy business" stuff. There is so much there i feel like they should teach a course on it or something. So much reading. But that's what it is. If you want a business, you need to act like a business and read up all that stuff. worst part of the job really :\

1. Do you make enough now for your jewelry to be your sole income?
not yet. But hoping and wishing

2. Do you (want to) make a full income from your jewelry or is it supplement?
want. my plan is to hopefully be a full time artist. i hate regular jobs. HATE HATE HATE

3. Do you HONESTLY feel your jewelry is priced for what it's worth? Why/not?

definitely not! as a new shop it's probably priced ok. There's other jewelery stuff on etsy that takes less time and effort and materials that is priced way higher...only because it fits with fashion and trend and that boosts the price up too.

4. Do you think you under-price yourself? Why?
not too much but maybe a little bit under.

5. (for high price point sellers) Was there ever a time when you were afraid to charge big? How did you get around/over that?

i priced some higher as an experiment. i think it comes with confidence and maybe regular sales

6. Have you ever noticed a correlation in sales vs prices? (ie sales went up/down when prices did)

some of my items are high price just to give a variety and see what buyers they attract and honestly sometimes the high priced sell faster than low price.

and YES!!!!!!! the gemstones have been saved. thank jeebus cos seriously that would've been the worst mistake ever. Their sales people probably won the argument in some meeting cos some people's prices on raw gemstones are really high but they sell so fast and etsy would lose that profit.

Star of the East said...

Hi Penny,

There is no reason to be shy when talking about money. We all need it and we are all in the same boat. I will answer your questions as best as I can:

#1 and #2 We live entirely from the income of our six online shops, jewelry alone is not enough. 'We', are my daughter and I and our 13 rescued dogs.

#3,4,5 Beauty is in the eye of the beholder and so is value. Unless you sell gold or diamonds, nothing can be valued or priced objectively.
The same piece of jewelry will fetch an other price when sold at a market, or Etsy, or a high end gallery. The venue determines for a great part the value of your wares.
So, how to price? The price of the components is a factor and also the amount of work involved, but is all very relative. F.i., making bags is much more work intensive that jewelry, but you cannot compete with the prices of sellers from the Far East.
So, when pricing items I forget the price of materials and the time invested and ask my self only: What would I be willing to pay for it? And that is the price we put on an item.
Also subjective, of course, but that is how we do it.

#6 A relation between prices and sales? Difficult to establish.
Items under the $20 can be bought more readily on an impulse, but with all the competition on Etsy, it is kind of a lotery where the customer goes.
Other customers will feel better when buying the more expensive items.
Making stuff with care and workmanship will bring you sales, what ever the price level is

These are my thoughts :)

Mario Zeleny said...

I would love to read it...not selling on etsy at this time.

Beautiful earrings..btw.

I have a hard time with the marketing, making art and cultivating relationships balance... which is a huge part of making the money. If you have found a magic solution, I will buy that guide!

Please come visit for freebies and giveaways this week at my site.

www.theplayoflightandshadow.com

Anonymous said...

Hi, I'm using the anonymous option because I'm a bit shy about identifying myself. Pricing has always been hit and miss for me. I've never made enough money from my work to call it anything more than suplementary. It would be nice to make more, but the market seems to be fickle at best. Star and Jiorji say it succinctly, and as far as I can say, I've sold things on the high and low end. Personally, some of the best deals (ie, lowest prices) in my shop happened to be the most personable and beautiful items, and after not selling for ages I'd end up giving them away or keeping them. The overall trend is that sales are down to a trickle after a couple of good years '09, 10. It gets depressing to say the least. I started pricing on the high end when I'd see ready-strung stuff made of fluff selling for half a hundred, and like hot-cakes. I can't figure it out. It's nice to see you getting this discussion going.

Ohinemurri said...

Hi Penny,
Do I live on the income from my shop,etsy,
God no!ive just started sellin stuff.massive learning curve

Would I want to be able to make a living from online selling,
Well I'd love to but thankfully I have a cleaning job,even tho I hate it!

I think my stuff is priced right.I do price on time,materials exc,but It is hard to compete with mass produced stuff .

Do I under price myself.
All the time.stuff sitting around for ages,power bill to pay,I'lll see if I can get rid of this.........

Pricing big
I'm. NOt afraid to but people moan.
I've also been selling secondhand,and pottery,jewellery which I make myself at markets for years.Its hard slog out there.So When I found etsy I thought I'd give it a whirl.your blog is a source of wonderful help Penny!Thanks for being out there in blogosphere!my little etsy shop is a bit neglected at present.And yay for raw crystals which I find in rivers around here and use in my jewelery.omg that was nuts.I live in a tiny rural town In NZ.aint much goin on here!so back to my morning coffee and cats.

fanciful devices said...

wow, I'm SO SO SO relieved about the raw stones.
This is a great post. it's a question we all struggle with a lot. i feel like if something doesnt sell fast-ish, it goes stale in the shop and then sits around for ages like some cootie-infested rotten slab of road-kill. I don't know if that's true or if it's just a feeling. That's the one thing that makes me price lower than I maybe could. I guess there's always sales as things age, and I absolutely do that, but I don't know if it's as effective as catching someone's eye as soon as its posted. plus our niche is so new and innovative, most of the artists in it consider themselves amateurs which means the competition is charging low! which also makes one want to charge less. but also i myself am a cheapo and that very basic instinct of charging what you yourself would be willing to pay for which star mentioned, that is the thing that kills me every time. cuz i'd never pay more than $20 for any jewelry, lol.
love this conversation and what others have to say is super interesting as well.

martinisfor2 said...

Hi Penny,

I agree with Jiorji and Star commentaries... two of my favorite peoples on etsy. I would love to be like Star and make my living from home. I am so tired of the corporate rat race that doesn't pay and makes the little people work their asses off for meager paychecks. I want to be self sufficient and contribute to our household. I am still LOL at Fanci's comment!

I am so upset I missed such a fabulous sale and will look forward to your next. You are one of my etsy heroes in many ways. I will watch the video you mentioned and look forward to you blogging on it and teaching your wisdom!

Kudos to you for standing up for raw stones. I have them all over my house and use them in my personal jewels. I love rebels!

Jenny said...

1. Do you make enough now for your jewelry to be your sole income?
No,not at all but my main income comes from my arts studio practice. I mainly create paintings, sculpture drawings and have other online shops for handmade jewellery, books and other crafts.I don't make enough from either to make a full living just yet.

2. Do you (want to) make a full income from your jewelry or is it supplement?
Would be nice, but, it would supplement my main arts practice, though I would like to link my textile and jewellery making and create installations for exhibition work.

3. Do you HONESTLY feel your jewelry is priced for what it's worth? Why/not?
My artwork is priced a bit lower than it should be online, I think, as I get much more in the galleries. I do think my jewellery is priced as its worth, as I mostly use vintage and antique items to create them and spend many hours on my handmade items.

4. Do you think you under-price yourself? Why?
I didn't think I did but recently after doing the sums I had to put my prices up.

5. (for high price point sellers) Was there ever a time when you were afraid to charge big? How did you get around/over that?
For my paintings sculpture etc. no, but for my other creative designs jewellery, cuffs, books etc. yes.I got over it by realizing the decades of study at art school and time and money I have put into learning my skills. I believe I deserve to be paid well for my work.

6. Have you ever noticed a correlation in sales vs prices? (ie sales went up/down when prices did) Actually my sales with certain things go up when prices are higher.

Charity said...

This is awesome!