Wednesday, 14 November 2012

The Age Old Difficulty

First up, I can't believe it's been almost a month since I last blogged - very remiss of me.  In fairness though I've been busy with life and the children and have been teaching an extra class a week for the last three weeks now and that does have a surprising impact.  Or maybe I'm just a wuss.

Having been at a couple of craft fairs in the last few weeks and with one more to go before I'm done in the run-up to Christmas my thoughts have turned to the age old difficulty of pricing, or at least getting pricing right.

It can be hard work to make sure that something is fairly priced and that it stays within the parameters of what the market will bear so let's have a think about this for a moment.

On many a hand-made or craft forum I see posts on a weekly basis from people who have a hobby or craft they love and they have been encouraged by their own talents or by those around them to sell their items.  The most frequent question they ask is, "How should I price my items?"

There are many formulas to help with this but they invariably turn out to be wrong for those who are using them and the reason for this is that formulas don't take into account the amount of time you spend on marketing what you do, and engaging with prospective buyers via social media or other online avenues if online sales are your main source of income.  All of this time should be taken into account and formulas can't do that - well they can, but you'll find that the item you are making that you were happy to sell for £5.00 has suddenly gone up to £500.

In all honesty, formulas can help you get a better idea of what you should be charging and then the thing to do is to use the search engine of your choice to find out what other people charge for items just like the one you make ("what the market will bear").  It's likely that you'll need to make an adjustment and it's even more likely that initially your adjustment would be to decrease your asking price.  Don't be tempted to do so, always err on the upside particularly if there are others selling similar items for more than your increased price.  You might not sell so many but you'll get more profit via fewer sales.  And people who appreciate hand-made are willing to pay a little more for a well-made item so don't be shy.

At the very least you should count up what it cost you in materials including the things you might forget about like threads, paints, waxes and varnishes etc, add in a percentage for gas and electricty (unless you didn't have a light on or use any power tools or any heating whilst you were making your lovely item) add on a bit for more luck, double it (that's your wholesale price but unless what you are making is super fast and super cheap and you love love love unrelenting monotonous work then never make to sell wholesale but by all means sell a handful of items wholesale if you get an order you're happy with) and then double it again and that's your retail price.

Then as said before check what other people sell them for and don't be tempted to lower your price just because 50% of people are selling for a lot less than you.  Pretend some confidence if you don't actually have a lot and bump your price around a little but stay at the top end of the range.  If you've put time and love into this then it's worth it and it will be appreciated.

See, isn't that a bit easier now?  Now, get out there and start selling.