Ten things you shouldn't say when pricing handmade items

I’ve been giving advice this week on pricing handmade items for selling. Not on purpose, just because it’s cropped up a couple of times. Working in a shop where people sell handmade items means it’s something which is bound to come up.

When I started selling handmade items, advice was thin on the ground. I tried reading some things online, but never really had someone to talk to in person. I also didn’t realise that my lack of knowledge was holding back my business, because people were bitching about me not being able to price properly behind my back, instead of just telling me what I was doing wrong, and I was missing opportunities.

This is why when I now see people underpricing their work, I tell them, and hopefully not in a patronising way, but because underpricing is undervaluing your own skill. To me, it’s not a big deal to say to someone their items are too cheap, and to help them work out the real price. It shouldn’t be a mystery, or a closely guarded secret! There are some things I’ve learned that I won’t share, due to the amount of time it took to research or learn, but pricing correctly isn’t one. Everyone pricing correctly helps EVERYONE, not just you – it helps the shops you sell in, other crafters and yourself. There can be bitchiness and backstabbing in the handmade community – undercutting your colleagues doesn’t go unnoticed, and people talk.

There are certain things which crop up every time I advise people on their prices – so to help you all out, here are the things I most often have to say to people.

1. I don’t think people will pay that

Number one on the list, and for good reason. You should never second guess your customer – you’re already making a leap guessing what they might want to buy in the first place, don’t try to guess their budget as well.

You should always work out how much you should charge, and then charge it. If no one buys it, try another outlet. Only after a few months, and/or a few different selling opportunities can you rightfully say, ‘this isn’t going to sell at this price, I need to put it on sale’.

2. I worked out how much I should charge and it was a ridiculous price, so I made it lower

Firstly, well done for working out the price! That’s one hurdle over.  However, charging a lower price means working out how much to charge was a waste of your time. I’m not trying to mean, I’m trying to make you value your time.

3.  I made it ages ago so I just want it out of the house

This came up yesterday – someone I know brought something into a shop near mine, and had marked it at far too low a price. I asked her why, and she said, ‘oh I made it ages ago’. My answer was, and always will be that that doesn’t matter.

If you’re taking something to a new stockist, their customer base don’t know you made it ages ago, or are sick of the sight of it. It might be the first thing they’ve ever seen of yours, they’ll fall in love with it… but then they have a fixed vision of what your prices are, and you’ve shot yourself in the foot. You can’t then explain to them that you made it ages ago, and your newer items are more expensive – to them, it was NEW and that’s how your items are priced.

I can sympathise with this in one instance – if you don’t have much storage space, you might be tempted to reduce your items to clearance prices too soon just because you’re running out of space. If this is happening to you, then try offering your items at lower than wholesale prices to your regular successful ‘sale or return’ stockists – they might jump at the chance to have your items in their shop at a higher mark-up.

4. My friend says this is the price they would pay

Asking friends how much they’d pay is a good idea – as long as you also work it out properly. Also, if you ask ten friends how much they’d pay, don’t just go for the lowest price. It’s a good idea to go somewhere in the middle as long as this is still the price you should be charging (or thereabouts). For example,  if you work out you should be charging £10, and your friends suggest prices ranging from £5 to £15, then the middle price of £10 is perfect – however, if your friends suggest £5-£10, then go for £10, don’t go down to £7.50.

5. I feel like I’m ripping people off if I charge more

A contentious issue, but think about it – if you get a tradesman fixing something in your house, you pay him, because that’s what he charges, and that’s what he’s worth. He doesn’t think, ‘hmm am I worth that though? She might be expecting to pay less.’ He gives you the quote, and you say yes or no.

This is exactly what you are doing by putting a price on your item.

You are saying ‘this is how much this costs’, and then the customer can say yes or no. You don’t have to justify it in any way – he isn’t telling you how much it costs him to keep his tools serviced and his certificates in order, so why do you start telling people why your item is cost as it is? Sure, tell people it’s a one-off, there’s only 5 ever made, or whatever makes that item SPECIAL, but you don’t have to tell them how much it costs you to hire a table at the craft fair you’re selling at to justify the price (I’ve actually overheard this happening).

6. It didn’t take me that long to make

Good for you – that’s probably because you’ve practised a lot, and been doing it a long time. Did you get paid for all that practice? No? Well now is when you DO. If I was to make a dress it would take me at least a couple of days, because I’m not very good at sewing – I’m happy to pay someone I know £20 an hour to do it for me, cause I know it won’t take her much longer than two hours, and they know what they’re doing.

(NB I know most dresses take longer than two hours to make and dressmakers should be paid more – I am not intending to undervalue dressmakers! This is a very particular situation I am in with a friend.)

7. I just enjoy making it, I don’t care how much I get for it

That’s excellent, you have a hobby which people want to buy from you. However, if there are people who make a living doing what you do as a hobby, please charge the same as they do. I know that sounds mean, I really know it does, and I can’t think of a good metaphor.

Let’s say, for argument’s sake, that you have a friend who is a hairdresser, and you’ve decided to take up as a hobby cutting hair. You keep your regular job, but on the side you cut hair, and you charge less than your hairdresser friend. It doesn’t matter because it’s your hobby, you enjoy it, and anything you get is good enough – but your friend who does it for a living is being put out of work by your hobby because she has to charge less as the value of hairdressing becomes diluted by people doing it at home. She has paid for training to do what she does, and years of practice to be as good as she is, but people will still question why she charges what she does when you are charging less. She also hasn’t got another income to supplement her hairdressing, this is her whole career.

This may sound extreme, and as I say, I couldn’t think of a decent metaphor. However, I will use scrabble tile necklaces as an example, as I don’t make them any more, and this never happened. I use to charge £10, as I’d worked out this was the price they needed to be – if someone then came along, who made them as a hobby, and sold them for £6, it would impact on my sales. The price would still cover their costs (I would be wholesaling them at £5 after all, so I have to know my costs are covered at that price) so they think they’re being fair, but as mine are £10, people wonder why I seem to be ripping them off.

Which brings us to…

8. *person A* sells it for £x

You shouldn’t use someone else’s price as comparison, unless you’re selling like for like at the same price. You should never think ‘I’m not as good as person A so I need to sell it for less’. If it is the same thing, you must sell it at the same price.I learnt this the hard way – I made an item at the start of my selling life, and sold them for £2, because I thought this was the right price. I found out someone else was selling the same thing for £5, and instead of thinking I should put the price up, I thought, ‘but I’m not as good as them, I should keep the price where it is’. The person who made this same item found out, and thought I was undercutting them on purpose, when I was actually thinking they were better than me. I was undervaluing myself, but hurting someone who I respected in the process.

I shouldn’t have to say this, but I feel I should – You should never sell it at £2 on purpose because person A sells it at £5 and you want to steal their customers.

9. It’s OK for you, people will pay more for one of your items

I find it hard to believe that anyone thinks I can charge more simply because I made it, but I have had someone say this to me. All I can say is this – a name can carry weight when pricing something, otherwise designer clothes wouldn’t exist, but there aren’t many crafters who can charge more just because they’ve made it. BELIEVE ME.

10. The materials were just hanging around

Therefore the material cost is nothing, and making your price far too low? WRONG! The material cost is not how much the material cost you this time – it’s how much it will cost you to replace it.

So if you make, for example, a cushion from a piece of fabric someone gave you, it doesn’t mean you don’t add in the cost of the fabric – it means you add in the cost of replacing that fabric. This is hard to get your head round, but I have learnt this from pricing making stock out of donated and recycled items. For example, I might get given a lot of books by someone for nothing to make vases out of, but I always factor in the cost of having to buy a book – usually it’s just as if I bought a cheap one from a charity shop for a quid – but you can see the parallel I hope. Just because that fabric was hanging around, you can’t charge £5 less for a cushion, or next time your customer will wonder why this cushion is £5 more expensive than the last one.

So what do you all think? I know how difficult it is to value yourself, and how much easier it is to see someone else’s stock and see that they’re undervaluing themselves, so maybe if we all watch out for each other, and make each other feel good we can create an even nicer handmade/crafting family.

130 thoughts on “Ten things you shouldn’t say when pricing handmade items

    1. Nancy,

      I recently bought seashells to make 5 ornaments. All just alike. I have one someone made, that I am going to use as a pattern. There are only 12 shells in each ornament. But all 60 shells cost me, almost $60!
      I, myself, was shocked!
      So if I charged $12.50 for each one, it would not even include my time, and gas, searching for them, or my time making them!
      So I can see how people would tell themselves , “No one would pay that, or what they are really worth”. Given the chance I would tell them how much the shells cost. But no one really cares about that. They just want something for nothing!

      1. Teri Seger,

        Everyone wants something for nothing, but let them try to make it themselves and see what it consists of. If I were you, I would be charging about $35 for each. Take it or leave it.

      2. Jo,

        I was asked for a hat and mittens for a baby and she used to sell crafts and said I wont pay that I will pay and was half of what I wanted. I said no one want to pay the worth of anything.

  1. Nicola Wood,

    Thank you for writing this! I have just started selling my makes online and literally five minutes ago I had somebody say ‘£30? Thats a bit much for one cushion’! It really rattled me! Reading your article made me feel soooo much better!

    1. Doris,

      I have sold many things in the past- and was a Hairdresser for Years- I set a price-and never second guess it – its written in Stone – then , there is never a question,

  2. Virginia,

    I found this hugely helpful! I came across it as a ‘share’ on FB, and have said just about every thing on your list at various times!! I really appreciate you putting this together! Thank you!

  3. Susan,

    Came across this from a post that popped up on my Facebook page by BeadAddict which linked to the blog. I note it is an archived piece (past its 1st year anniversary) and i’m not trying to revive it -but I felt compelled to comment. You seem to have received a bit of a backlash when you first posted it, but I for one think this is one of the most helpful and sensible pieces of text I’ve read on this subject.

    I am a hobbyist and have to hold my hand up as one of those who undervalues and thus underprices my work; I’m also guilty of having ‘sold’ (and I use that word loosely) to friends at a price that pretty much just covered the ingredients with just a £1 or two on top -even though the item took 4 hours or more to make!

    Whilst that in itself hasn’t bothered me I did not give any consideration to that fact that it might have had an impact on local crafters who needed to sell their items for a living. So I shan’t be doing that again 🙂

    Thanks for sharing your experiences.

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  6. Charlene,

    Thanks for the article. I really need to wrap my head around this. I have several friends that tell me I am under pricing my items and services. So I guess I will start listening to them.

  7. Sheena,

    Thank you for this advice, I thoroughly enjoyed reading it! I have always wondered how to go about pricing things and you’ve made some excellent points – I especially like point #8, I would never have thought of it that way!
    I hope it’s OK with you, I would like to share a link to your blog post on my blog to share your experience further.


  8. Mr Bob,

    I’m guilty on all counts

    I’m just about 12 1/2 mental age really, all I want to do is create in my studio, handling money fills me with something I can’t express, asking for it, taking/receiving it n such, shudder shudder

    Daydreaming of a partner who likes creative peeps and sales ?

    1. Julie D,

      YES!!! I have just started working with my friend who has her own biz already. Our crafts don’t overlap and she just wants to grow! Pretty sweet!

  9. Andrea,

    Thank you for such a well written article. It made a lot of sense to me and has reminded me not to undervalue myself. There is a lot of undercutting going on at the moment and i have been ever so tempted to lower my prices even though the people undercutting are charging little more than cost price but i have to keep reminding myself that my time is worth money.

  10. Aunty Pol,

    These have been issues I have faced recently, and your spot on! I have been feeling bad for charging $200AU for a blanket, but that is what I need to charge… As of today, I am redesigning my website, so hopefully you will be able to see some of my items in the coming days!

    Thank you so much for this, it has been needed by so many people.

  11. Tan Stanton-Britton,

    I’m so sick and tired of trying to pass this message on to other craftspeople. Thank you for proving I’m not a nutter. I have said every single one of your points to people in this debate.

    I have a couple more that I truly believe. People that charge to little for their crafts for all of these reasons are damaging the market for people that genuinely wish to make a proper business out of crafting. As you say, the customer does not know your reasons, often they cannot tell the difference in quality or technique. All they see is similar items available for much less, (it’s just a hobby, I had it for ages, hubby earns enough I don’t need to charge, the materials were a gift) and then think the items that actually set at the right price become to the buyer over priced. My favourite excuse for under charging is “I like to make poor people smile.” My response, “and you like to make other crafters poor.”

    Them “I live in a poor area”
    Me “you are online, sell online, you have the whole world to sell to”

    Crafting takes time and skill, we are not a far east sweatshop. We should not be accepting sweatshop pay from ourselves.

  12. Dawn Shaw,

    This was helpful. I’ve been crocheting for about 8 years now. I’ve been teaching myself and challenging myself to make more and different things. I usually give my hats and scarves away to the homeless, but now I want to start selling some of my items; and I still have no clue on how to charge and I have different people telling me what to charge but I’m not sure if it is right. I made a hat a scarf set and charged $5 is that too low? I also make Ice Stake ornaments and I don’t know what to charge for them. I’m starting to make iPod carriers and learning to make booties. I just feel like I’m lost about stuff like this. Can you help me.

    1. Rachel,

      Dawn – I just saw this and had to comment. I would definitely pay more than that for a crochet hat and scarf set. Have you tried researching on places like Etsy how much similar items to yours are selling for to get a ballpark figure? I’m just starting out and figuring out pricing too. There will be similar articles online that outline a typical formula of what it costs and other factors, versus what you should charge.

    2. Carol,

      Hat and scarf set for $5 is too low. You would never find a good quality set in the store for that low. The $5 would barely cover your yarn. I think 15 to 20 is a more reasonable price. That is what I would pay for a crocheted hat and scarf set. I can’t crochet for the life of me.

    3. Pam,

      Dawn, there is a simple formula, but what you are saying you are thinking of charging is WAY TOO LOW! Unless your product unravels in the first wear or wash. What do the materials cost? The fuel and time to go get it, YOUR time what IS your skill worth? What would YOU have paid before you worked so hard to learn the skill? Please PLEASE go back and read about what under pricing does to the hand made market and those of us trying to make a living! It is lovely to give a gift to someone in need, I have done it myself, but that doesn’t harm others, under pricing DOES. Go take a stroll through Etsy and see what others are charging for similar things, and then read this article again and think of those sellers…

    4. Rachel,

      $5 for a hat and scarf?! Of course it’s too low. I guarantee the yarn cost you more than that. Your price should be the material costs plus a reasonable hourly rate (at least minimum wage) for a wholesale price, and double this for a retail price. At least.

    5. Lhusman,

      You should take what it cost you to make it plus your time it per hour times two….that is your wholesale price. Then you should times your wholesale price times 2 and that is your retail price.

    6. Brittany,


      How much does rent cost for where you live or want to live? What type of groceries do you want to buy? What type of lifestyle do you want to live? Now how much is it going to cost you to live that life? What percentage do you want for profit? I take 5% which increases with skill. 4 areas to consider; cost of materials, cost of overhead, profit and labor. How much do you want to pay yourself? $40 an hour is a good place to start. Now consider how many items you have to physically make to hit your revenue goals. Adjust accordingly once you figure out how much it will cost to live the life you want. These base costs will be your wholesale cost. Times that by 2 and you’ve got your retail price.

      Researching Etsy for pricing is a horrible idea considering most makers on Etsy undercharge. You’ve got to really consider your costs of living and doing business in your industry

      You don’t want to become your own boss and do what you love just to “get by.” Do you?

      Best of luck! xx

    7. Hank,

      $5 is definitely too low. Is this for a baby or an adult? The usual rule of thumb is 3 times the cost of the yarn. Adding in extra for your time is also a necessity because after all your time is worth something!!

    8. Gaylene,

      Dawn, I paid 20 pound, 4 years ago at a market in England for a crochet hat & scarf. It was beautifully made with wool & I thought I had a bargain at that price. Please don’t undersell yourself, remember that it has taken time to learn your craft, many people who buy our crafts do not have the skills to make them & have no idea of the time you have spent on them.

  13. Monica,

    Love the color of your blog background. Great article! I make handmade jewelry and know that I have underpriced many items. Because I have mainly been on Etsy the whole time, it was from necessity because there is too much competition and dilution there for jewelry items. Now that I’m transitioning from a hobby to a business and putting eCommerce directly onto my website, I am adjusting pricing at my site to what I know is the truer cost when factoring in my time. I will keep the same pricing of those items that I’m keeping at Etsy, but for brand new items and collections I am listing on my site…it will be the true pricing model when calculating myself an hourly rate of pay. I think those of us that make handmade get suckered into the feeling of friend and family pricing rather than truly putting our business sense into this the same way we do an hourly job for an employer. If you work for a business for more than a year, you typically expect some sort of salary raise. In the handmade realm, however, you are responsible for pricing to include increases of cost of living, supplies cost, overhead (if you sale at craft fairs or have a store front), etc. Too often we try to be the nice guy or maybe we’re just assuming (you know what they say about that)…and we undervalue ourselves to the point of not staying in it for an income. Research your industry, SEO keyword info, join handmade forums and communities, read trade magazines and invest in training to increase your skills. By making yourself more skillful and knowledgeable, you build your confidence in more accurately pricing your products and time which in turn validates your authority to charge what you want.

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  15. Sarah Stockwell,

    Excellent article. I run a craft fair group online in Colorado and we CONTINUALLY have people underpricing their work, which drags down prices for everyone. If people want handcrafted, custom, personalized items, they come at a price. Otherwise, there are plenty of stores that sell mass-produced, China-made goods. Thanks for writing this!

  16. Janet,

    Good article. I took cost accounting, myself, I usually have a handle on what to charge but not always. The problem I have is people will ask this question on FB and everyone jumps in with an answer and they don’t know what they are talking about. Just yesterday someone posted “cost of materials plus hourly wage” well, if you do that you are losing $$ and might as well be working at McDonald’s. You tied up your $$ buying the materials and probably have a stockpile, as well, you need to mark up the materials or you’ve lost $$. You have overhead, I have a $10,000 sewing machine a $1,600 serger, a $250 heat press, besides the cost of them they require electricity to run, they need upkeep and accessories, etc. Pay yourself an hourly rate, yay! But being paid for your rime isn’t profit. You need to add profit on top of all this. I’ve learned I can add more profit to some things than others and so I’ve changed what I offer to reflect that. And I don’t need to justify myself, no one needs to buy from me.

  17. Jen,

    I absolutely agree with this. As a professional maker, I’m sick to death of hobbyists turning up at craft fairs and selling things for next to nothing because they ‘just enjoy doing it’. This devalues the whole art and craft profession and lowers customer expectation. As a result the professional makers can’t compete when they have overheads of studio rent, insurance etc, not to mention they are properly registered as self-employed so are having to pay tax and NI on their earnings. Are all the hobbyists declaring their additional income to HMRC? As more professionals stay away, the prices get cheaper and quality falls. It’s a downward spiral and toxic to the whole industry.
    Rant over!

  18. Toni Avery,

    It sounds like excellent advice to me – every point is something I’ve thought about when it comes to pricing (even though I haven’t actually sold yet, I’m gearing up that way) and it still makes me feel uneasy and question if people will pay the price I’ve come up with! but this article gives me confidence to stick to my guns!! Also I am surprised that you received back lash as I think every point you made is very valid so good on you for putting it out there!!!

  19. Heather,

    Thank you for this. I crochet, knit and make fondant cake toppers and I have the hardest time standing firm on my prices. 🙁 I need business, but I don’t need people ripping me off either. Thank you for sharing this so I know I am right when I charge for my time and the materials, not just for materials.

  20. Deanna,

    Well written. The same thing would happen with me for crocheting as it does teaching martial arts. People telling me they don’t have the money right now. When you go to a movie do you ask if you can pay later? No, they say come back when you have 8 bucks. But I have 6 bucks, let me see the movie. No, it’s 8 or come back. Same thing…here is your quote, pay up front or half down. You don’t like it? Tough! Go else where and stop wasting my time.

  21. Rachel taylor,

    Thanks for sharing this very good advices I think all craft sellers under estimate their work I know I did but new year new Prices I will not forget the time I have spent learning and making my craft Items and the cost of materials and templates cd extra

  22. Sue Wilde,

    Thank you so much – I always struggle with pricing and have come up with a formula now that makes me feel I am valuing my own work – and that places the price within the range of similar products.

  23. Bernadette Arvizu,

    Thank you so much, I always have such a hard time putting a price on things, and some of my friends are cheap they always want everthing for free. I always second guess my price. Not anymore you want it you buy it for the price I’m selling it for or you can make your own. Thanks again very helpful.

  24. Jaime,

    I’m sooooo guilty of every single thing you mentioned. I rarely profit from my hobby, but never thought about how my practices could affect others. I just hate to charge friends and also don’t feel comfortable expecting payment

  25. Grace,

    Thank you so much! I’m not sure if I will ever sell things that I make, but I appreciate your words of wisdom and they make me willing to consider the possibility

  26. Dawn Osborne,

    Wow! Can’t thank you enough for this advice. I was a mess at selling and priced my items too low not ever thinking it would hurt others also. Not anymore. Your article transformed my thinking and I will share it with everyone I know . Many Many thanks from Dawn at The Untamed Country!!!

  27. Gina-Marie Hammer, Tangles, Twists and Treasures,

    I went to a craft fair recently, where all of the fabric makers were really hurting. I discovered later that they were ALL underselling their work. When I asked, they said, “Well, I love doing this, so all I really want to do is make more room to make more stuff, and cover the cost of my materials.” It was really hard not to scream. That’s like telling me that I shouldn’t make a living at what I LOVE to do! When I questioned them, they said that they’d never be able to charge for their labor, it would make their items cost too much and they could never compete with the big box stores! Why do people assume that handmade items should be able to compete with junk made over in China?

    1. Irene,

      Because – unfortunately – sometimes there is lovely handmade, intricate work made in China by tiny, patient fingers, and it’s dirt cheap, because they underpay labourers there. I think that’s the main problem: items which come from countries where labour is very cheap like China, India and the like. They can be handmade, and sometimes really beautifully made. How do we compete with that? We can tell the customer “do you want to support oppression of workers, sweatshops?” but I don’t know how many will get moved by that argument.

      1. Shaheris Suhel,

        You are sooo right. I am indian. And i was sooo afraid to sell my products online..i still am, soon starting my shop on etsy. Here in india people rather buy cheap machine made products then delicately handmade higher priced product. And i saw some seller at etsy who sell their product on etsy just converting their product prices by currency converter. Where raw materials here are not easy to get some time. Still those sellers are happy to sell their product at much much less price.

    2. LadyInnominate,

      I’ve run into the same thing. People will pay for it if they really want it. They under price themselves thinking people won’t pay what they should be charging without even giving folks a chance to pay it. I was guilty of this when I started selling. I was pricing things at barely over the cost of materials and a friend of mine who does the same sort of items to sell basically chewed me out and set me straight. Now, I price everything according to a formula that includes an hourly wage. I’ve learned a lot from others in the same market who were kind enough to give me a kick in the pants.

  28. Pam,

    You YOU are the first person to get through my thick skull! Thank you, I can not express in words the change that you have caused with this brilliant piece of writing! I have shared it several times and put it in my Pocket for future shares as need for it arises!
    Please never stop!
    Cheers from Australia!

  29. Rachel,

    Thank the Lord. I am so, so sick of seeing people undercut and not charge for their time. They will eventually go out of business, but in the meantime five people come along and undercut them, and a hundred customers come along and think that’s what things cost…. They destroy handmade and they need to be told.

  30. miranda,

    Thanks for this. It reaffirms what I have to tell my nearest and dearest that assume that I’m playing because I enjoy creating things, and don’t seem to understand I’m trying to run a business.

  31. Margaret Cairns,

    After many years of crafting and having said or thought many of the thing on this page I have realised that what you have said is true so my Moto now is either sell it for what it’s worth or give it away as a present. Only this will make you happy.

  32. Robin Reed,

    This is an Awesome article. If I showed it to my husband, he would point and say, see I told you so!!! Lol I am pretty much past most of this and we have a reasonable pricing structure I think. I really appreciate your clear and concise way of laying it out!!! Thank you so much!

  33. Linda Bott,

    Thank you for this article. I sell bags I make and have been guilty of saying all these things. You have made me realise how much I am undervaluing myself.

  34. Joyce,

    Excellent article! My favorite metaphor to use when someone asks me if I discount is “would you take a cut in pay if your boss asked you to?”. Also not charging much because you love what you do is nonsensical…presumably doctors, lawyers and other professionals enjoy what they do, but still expect to be paid well.

  35. Leiah Adkins,

    I cannot tell you how timely this post of yours is for me. These are the questions and thoughts I have been pondering for awhile. This was extremely helpful!! Thank you so much!

  36. Christa,

    Very helpful!
    I am a cake decorator and pricing is a HUGE issue for us. Many people believe that since cake is meant to be eaten, it should not be expensive. Another issue is that, when starting out, cake decorators really are NOT anywhere near as good as their more experienced/skilled counterparts, so they really should not charge as much. BUT in those cases I think there is no shame in telling customers “I’m new at this so my prices are lower FOR NOW because I am still practicing.” (I wish I had done that, because as I got more skilled I raised my prices but those few early customers still expected low prices. I should have just told them I was a beginner way back then, instead of them believing my prices were always going to be lower.)

  37. June Banks,

    Great article!! #7 is spot on for my business – market is flooded with cheaper cakes and brides are looking for the cheapest price. I hold the line and loose quite a few orders. Some of them I see at bridal shows with their friends and they tell me how much they wish they had gone with me for their cake. – June

  38. Jackie Maphis,

    GReat article, There are a couple of new people (potters) started making the same thing I do on etsy and charging 1/2 what I charge. I will be sharing your article. This is stuff I learned a while ago. You articulate it all very well.


  39. Nancy,

    Thank you so much for this. I came across a seller in an FB group recently who was not only underselling, but taking a loss. I tried to make some of these points and was told that I should be ashamed of myself, her business is her business, her money, yada yada. It infuriates me to see people undervaluing themselves and art in general. So many artists are perpetuating the “starving artist” stereotype. It doesn’t have to be for love OR money. It can be both. Art is easy. Business is hard. But it IS a business, and we can’t escape that part.

  40. Amanda Adwell,

    I have a problem pricing my items. I have been on other sites to compare and I feel some prices are way over the top. An example: earrings made of beading thread and seed beads. I cannot see charging more than $15. I could go $25 if other crafters were, but all I can find them for is $45 and that is outrageous to me. I will comparison price, but that seems like gouging to me. In a case like this, wouldn’t it make sense to go for the $25 or even $15?

  41. Julie,

    Hi Thankyou for the great advice I am so guilty of not pricing my items correctly if it’s hanging around for more than a week I think it must be rubbish it’s having faith in what you make and sticking to the price I see other pages on Facebook and think how do they charge so much and sell lots it’s getting it right took me a long time but things will change I make sock monkeys and before that bag charms and I am busy at the moment let’s hope it stays like that when I put my prices up thanks http://www.facebook.com/sunnyteddysdesigns

  42. Grace Seidita,

    This was really excellent advice. Thank you so much for taking the time to write it and share it. I will really think about how I price things now moving forward knowing that my time and effort are worth something!

  43. Rhian,

    Great Advice. Thank you so much for writing this! I’ve always sold my own items for a very low price…always doubted my work. My friends kept saying ‘that’s so cheap’. I will re-think my numbers from now on 🙂

  44. Pat Butt,

    You have written so many things I’ve said to myself. I have undervalued my makes often. S many people have said what I make is lovely, but I haven’t had the confidence to believe them. I have tried selling, but have been disappointed often when things have not sold. Was about to give a lot of my stuff away, but Have now changed my mind and will try again. Thank you for writing this. U feel so much more encouraged to try again.

  45. Ellen,

    Wise words. I have a difficult time pricing my wares and have been told I under price items. I’ve committed myself to making a go of this craft business and am trying to change my mind set. Thank you so much for posting these helpful words.

  46. Toddy,

    As a designer printer i come across this quite often and in my line of work we do try to be as cheap as possible on throw away items and do it as a minimum profit/ supply and demand type product so the customer will then buy the higher ticket items from us which is usually the case, but then we do get the odd customer saying “well you only charge £xxx for those cards why are these double the price” and it’s like talking to a brick wall most of the time.

    Great article by the way – shared

    1. Comment author chloemcgenn,

      Hi there!

      I’ve actually had someone say to me that I can charge more because of my name – as if I’m Coco Chanel or something 🙂 It’s just not true, and I’d imagine for many other sellers of handmade items, it’s not true either

  47. gorga,

    So much knowledge and it makes so much sense. I actually find it hard to sell my soft amigurumi toys for next to nothing. I think it is true what you said that we should look at one another. If I see a good prize I would like to sell my toys then I will be willing to sell them. Thanks again for your info

  48. Kelly Arent,

    Oh my goodness….you have hit the nail on the head exactly….I say everyone of those things! Now that I am planning on opening a small shop…I have to get into a new mind set!! Thanks for sharing.

  49. Carol,

    I am making lined top tutu’s for children they are the fluffy ones and take in the price of materials they are costing me approx £20 to make how much should I charge without going over the top they probably take me about 3hours to make.can you possibly help me??

    1. Comment author chloemcgenn,

      If your materials are £20, and they take you 3 hours to make, you need to decide what your hourly rate is – £7 is the living wage. This would make your items approximately £40 wholesale, or £80 retail. If this seems expensive, then this is when you need to decide whether to undervalue your work, or stop making something.

  50. Nikki,

    Great article. I often find myself articulating these things to people in my creative circles but when it comes to my own work I’ll admit I’m guilty of it sometimes. Good advice. I will try and make use of it!

  51. Patricia White,

    THANK YOU…this was so well stated…and introduced points that had not dawned on me. I am so guilty. I think I looked at any sale as validation that my work was good. I felt if someone refused to pay it was because it was over priced and not because it wasn’t good. I recently discovered that when I work for another vendor they up price my fee to them and that the client pays more than I ever thought of charging [I am a calligrapher and the stationer sometimes hires me for the client].
    I think some of it is confidence, some of it is the fact that I love doing what I do, some based in skills developing from a hobby. In any case this article has no only made me reevaluate my work BUT also how my under charging impacts others…

  52. Mary Saylor,

    I taught crafts marketing for years and was frustrated at how many times I heard all the arguments you listed, against charging a decent price for any handcraft. My position is that “breaking even” is not selling…it’s gifting. Many quilters have contempt for those who buy quilts made overseas from a department store, for $29.99. Yet most would gasp in horror at the idea of charging $1000.00 for a quilt that took 100 hours from conception to completion…and are thrilled if someone buys it for $250.00. Any craft for sale should include the cost of all materials (every square in of fabric and inch of thread) plus every second of labor (Is the time you spent designing, thinking, sewing and taking to market worth at least $10 an hour?) plus overhead (equipment purchase, maintenance, utilities, workspace) plus PROFIT (It’s not a dirty word, it will pay to buy more fabric and anticipate inflation.). For a really complete pricing formula, your exceptional skill and reputation as a prize winning artist adds to the price. If your selling price doesn’t include all these components, you aren’t selling…you are paying someone to own your work.

  53. Doris amstutz,

    I have read many articles about pricing, but I don’t think any really address the fact that you must assess who you are competing against in the market for your goods. I think when we price our products we do need to get a fair market value for the quality of our goods. We are not competing with mass produced Chinese goods nor are we competing with the big box stores. I believe that customers who shop for handmade are a special type of customer and we need to give them value for their purchasing dollars. Reality does set in when our competitive crafters low ball pricing, but we should counter back with why our crafts are more valuable. I think having one or two entry point products for sale is also a good strategy so that customers can learn to value our craftsmanship. At the end of the day, we all want to sell our goods and become known for our craft. When faced with “bargain hunters” I don’t try to justify pricing but instead speak to value of my craft and skill with happy customer testimonials. I also do not over price my items just because they are handmade.

    Let’s all review the competitive landscape and make sure we can articulate why our products are worth the price we put on them!

  54. Liz,

    I just had this conversation with another person. The problem a lot of times is people are actually over charging. It also varies when you have one person paying $2.00 for a supply and another person paying $7.00 for the same supply. Then one person gets something done in a half hour another person it takes 3 hrs. No it doesn’t take me long to learn something new. 30 minutes and I’m good, if that.

    I can’t stand seeing other people charging ridiculous prices for stuff that isn’t near my quality. We get ripped off and over charged enough by big stores. Like hell I will be doing the same!

  55. Pingback: How to Price Your Crafts | Crafty Chica

  56. Bernie,

    Can you add to your awesome blog here .. I have this huge issue ,.. No one wants to buy my items online because I am international and the SHIPPING prices are outrageouse ,, I actually here in Canada have to pay more too ship international then persay America shipping too Canada.. There fore I drop my shipping prices and take a hit. For example my shipping item I priced at is $3 when I took a hit and it turned out too be $5.70 Canadian.. this is a big issue for me. HOw does a hand made crocheter and clay worker like myself branch out so everyone persay world wide doesnt freak out about Canadian prices. The other thing I have an issue is the length of time it takes to reach them , Its like they want it the next day, and I actually seen on my postal price decisions for a small envelope light package the hightest was $34 are you serrious???? This has me so ill that I just want to do my own works and go to a craft table and sell localy ONLY I am getting really run down by this has hurt some of my ego.. so Now im puting a new challenge out for myself carry on selling online as I am. and then when my husband is back home from working.. rent out a table. Its what I have to re look at my options for if I want to carry on …

    But thank you you did an awesome job but if you could possibly take a talk up on the shipping side of things that would be great.. thanks keep crafting and writing. !

  57. robyns227,

    Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! This is a wonderful article! Well articulated, considerate of the efforts we all put into our long-honed skills, and respectful of those who have not yet learned to value themselves.

  58. Rebecca,

    My problem with comparing my price to others is that until recently I’ve never been able to afford art for my home. I don’t want that for others, everyone should have the opportunity to buy art but obviously not from everyone but from someone. Having handmade pieces in the home is so inspiring and wonderful I want everyone to be able to have that. Because I couldn’t for so long I want to provide my at at a price that lower incomes can afford. I price based on my target audience. I get that not everyone is interested in our can do that but I don’t feel I am undercutting anyone since my art is just that mine. I’m not making something that is produced by 90 other people in the same town.

  59. Eliza May,

    I calculate the cost of the materials and how long it took me to make, estimate my hour rate en then see what price I would pay for it. So far, selling for high and low prices didn’t work. I make nice items, just remain puzzled about the prices. Maybe i am extremely talented at making jewelry no one wants 🙂

    1. LadyInnominate,

      I price my handcrafted goods the same way. (Wage x Time to make) + cost of materials = price. You just have to find the right market. Not to mention marketing yourself. Brand yourself and make social media pages like Facebook, twitter and Instagram for your brand. Then post post post… Get your friends and family to share your posts.

  60. Marcia Williams,

    When you second guess the price you put on your items, you are second guessing yourself as an artist and or craftsperson, you are also second guessing the value of your time you have in your process to create your item. Have faith in yourself that your item will sell. Sometimes what may make the item not sell could be your pictures or your display you have set up.

  61. Christina Green,

    Lots of really good points on here! But on the not feeling you should explain your prices, I used to hand paint t-shirts which I sold, with hand painting being their unique selling point. There were many times when punters asked me why they were so expensive, to which the short answer was time. Printing is very quick, painting very slow, but painting allowed me to achieve amazingly vibrant colour. However, people were very sceptical, some of them thought I was trying to rip them off, which I found very hurtful and insulting. Never did manage to grow a thick enough skin, it always upset me… I now make jewellery and interestingly, people buy or don’t buy, and don’t question the price.

  62. Liz Hart,

    Some type of barter may be a good idea for friends and family pricing. Maybe trade just by hours, i.e. 3 hours to make your item for 3 hours of gardening, bookkeeping, web design, baking, etc. Chances are that they have a talent or skill that would benefit you. Or a simple swap of goods. They might appreciate your work more after this. It would also give you the opportunity to explain the cost and effort you’ve put into acquiring your skills. My Dad was an attorney, and he sometimes bartered services this way.

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  64. Ada Polyak,

    Thank you for posting this- I have said most of this same thinking to others that I know. And they continue to underprice themselves. I charge by what my time is put into it. Minimum wage or $10an hr. at least. It covers the cost of the items I put into it as well usually.
    Thank you again

  65. Elizabeth,


    I found this while looking for a graphic for a new business card and have bookmarked it so I can have it as reference for all those who want to argue with me about what I charge for custom cosplay and historic reproduction clothing. I had someone show me a picture of a hideous polyester mass-produced outfit and asked why I couldn’t make the same outfit for the same or less–but with much nicer fabric, a full lining, real buttonholes (20 of them) instead of Velcro and hand-hemming. This hopefully will shut a few folks up.

  66. LadyInnominate,

    Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!

    I’ve had people look at me like I was crazy when saying these things. Ladies in a creative group who say “Oh, I just charge the cost of materials. I just do it for fun.” It drives me nuts. I’m trying to make money to support my family by selling the things I make. I don’t charge crazy prices, but I need the wage to have that support. If someone else is making a similar item and only selling it for the amount they paid for the materials, then I’m less potential customers. It’s infuriating trying to explain that to people.

  67. Pingback: A Post on Pricing | Machine Quilting Business

  68. Renate Poignée,

    Thanks for writing this – you´re saying what I talked about with friends some years back when I was starting my longarm quilting business. One of my closest friend said my prices were too high, people won´t pay that. My reply was that I paid a lot for the machine, for all equipment, for courses and so on. I also practised a lot. So if somebody doesn´t want to pay they can either do it themselves or are free for somebody working at a lower rate. I rather do nice things for myself than giving away my skills and time. If only we could convince more crafters because so many spoil the market by giving away their time, skills and money.
    All the best for you

  69. Wendy Flight,

    You are right, people will say, I have seen something cheaper, I seen the same costing double, at craft fairs, you never get your money back,
    Time it takes, cost of getting the parts, petrol going around, etc; I could go on. Your stall, stands etc; all cost. But they couldn’t do what you do!!
    So don’t go cheap, I was told that last week at a fair.

  70. Wendy Flight,

    Yes !!! we are worth the money they pay, we work hard at it, and it looks nice. One off too, handmade with thought, time, care, etc :
    We have to lift our chins up, and say, it’s good doing it go for it

  71. Luxury wallpaper,

    Great post, I saw this originally facebook about the handmade mugs.
    I have a business designing and producing wallpaper, cushions and lampshades and the cushions take me a long long time to make S they’re all made in the studio.
    Sometimes it feels impossible to compete against large retailers!
    Thanks again, Laura

  72. Lynne,

    How refreshing this article was to read. I happened upon it by accident and I am so glad I did. I hear people question handmade goods as if they should be cheaper than shop bought.I also get very upset hearing customers trying to get the price down. You wouldn’t ask for a discount in a supermarket so why do some feel the right to ask a crafter?

  73. Christina,

    I wanted to share an experience with everyone. Along time ago I made Faberge butterfly wings for use on one of a kind polymer clay sculptures. It took a lot of time a lot of materials, some of those materials being antique bottles and glass, crystal stone and other tiny sparkles items. At the time I was selling on eBay and I would get between 45 and $120 per set of wings. At that time I was getting a lot of requests for a tutorial. I figured out the specifics and started with one to get an idea of what I should price the remaining CDs for. The first tutorial sold for over $200 at auction on eBay. I then choose to make 15 more and sold them each $200. After that initial load of CDs I was getting pressure from family that I should sell more but make them cheaper so that everyone could have them. That was not my intent. I felt that I had a responsibility to my customers and to my fellow artists to remain true to my price and my methodology. I only produced 16 CDs which explained in detail how I made my wings and what products are used. How would those people feel if a year later, that CD came out for $20? I would have de-valuated my own work, my own creation, and my own process.

    I wanted to express that I feel this article is very good and very helpful. I am printing it out to show it to my family members who continually tell me I’m over priceing, it that I will be stuck with it.

    This is a tip that I tell myself when I start a creation, make it for yourself as if you would own it, love it, use it. This way you will never find yourself stuck with anything. It is hard for an artist to sell something that they love but if they love it it will love them back monetarily. Keep your integrity with every creation we can change the artistic world to be one of quality and not quantity .

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