Pricing your crafts – part 2

It’s that time of year again…. Less than two months till Christmas and the panic starts to set in both in reluctant present buyers and in the people trying to sell. I haven’t been on the craft circuit for that long, but in my experience so far – and from what I have heard from others – this is the time of year to focus on as a crafts person. Christmas is perfect for giving unusual one-of-a-kind presents – who really wants another DVD box set???

For the crafts person this is the time (should have done this by now really, note to self!) to stock up online shops, stock making should have started long ago really and you need to make sure you have everything you need for your display stand, labels, packaging, business cards etc etc.

So I thought this is a good time to continue my musings about pricing what you make (for the first part see Pricing your crafts – part 1). This time I want to deal more specifically with how to set an appropriate price. What overheads do you definitely need to include, which ones should you consider, how do you price your time – there are a lot of considerations to take into account. To start with the last first: how do you price your time? How much do you think you should be paid per hour for making beautiful, unique products? Even if it’s just a hobby and you don’t need to make a living per se, how much do you think a unique, handmade item that has been made with care and attention should be worth? I would say at the very least minimum wage, which in the UK at the moment is £6.70 per hour.  So if an item takes an hour to make that should be your starting point and then you start adding your overheads. Of course, ideally you would be paying yourself a decent living wage rather than just minimum wage, as this would reflect the true value of handmade things.

Next to consider is your overheads. The most essential and obvious one is material costs. This should definitely include the cost of the actual item, but other things to consider including is shipping cost for the material, cost of making prototypes or trying out patterns etc and the time that has taken, cost of the pattern/template etc. Then there’s the cost of maintaining a workspace, whether that be an actual workshop or heating/electric costs at home. Cost of online shops/websites, stalls at markets, stationary, computer, phone/internet/mobile phone, travel, storage, tools, professional development and probably much more. Many of these expenses are tax deductable if you are registered as self-employed.

In reality I would imagine few crafters are organised enough to do this – I certainly don’t even though I know about it and put what I can down as expenses. But thinking about all the hidden costs involved in running your own business is very useful and it can make it easier to make it clear to yourself why your product is worth it. In turn that then makes it easier to be confident when talking to customers about it. I am sure that people will sense if you are inwardly apologetic about having to charge ‘so much’.

Our society today is overrun by cheap, mass-produced stuff that encourage use without care and throwing away without thought…. As craftspeople we are working against this trend and by pricing our things realistically we can help spread this awareness to others.


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