How To Price Your Handmade Items

how to guide on pricing handmade items
The title says it all! How to (accurately) price your handmade items. This has been a really hot topic within the maker community, mainly (that I’ve seen) on instagram. It’s a topic that has been requested by some readers in the past and I thought now would be a perfect time to chime in with my opinion on the matter. While I am at it, please keep in my that these are MY OPINONS, they are not end all facts and they are certainly not laws. At the end of the day, you can price your items however you feel appropriate, but before you do so, you may want to keep some of these questions in mind!

1. Am I aware of my worth?

So, what do I mean by this? Well, it is widely understood that “handmade” to many people, means cheap. When, in fact, that couldn’t be farther from the truth! There is a big difference between giving a discount to close friends or family and just undervaluing yourself to the public. I have spent nearly my entire adult income on pricing my own time. I have almost always been self employed, so trust me when I say, it is hard to confidently price your time and skill at first. You may see it as “asking” for money, but you shouldn’t! You are delivering a quality product that took, time, years of skill and knowledge, materials and lots of care and love. Let’s say, for instance,  that you sell handmade scarves and beanies. This may seem like a simple and easy product for you to make now, but think about how daunting it was when you very first started! It is only easier for you now because of all the time, attention and practice you have put forth to be better and better and provide that excellent quality beanie. There may be millions of people out there that do exactly what you do, but there are also millions that don’t, and that is why your skill is special and unique to you. You should be aware that you are making an awesome product that many people covet!

macrame wall hanging detail close up

This is a detailed photo of a wall hanging I sold for over $200! I knew that all the detail and care that went into this item was well WORTH the price tag, and so did my customer!

 

2. Am I making a profit?

This one should be obvious! Are you making a profit? IF you are actually selling an item that you poured so much hard work into, I would assume that you would at least want to be compensated? Let’s break it down. At the simplest level of pricing you should be including,

1. How much you spent on the materials.

2. How much you’d like to be paid hourly.

3. How much time you spent creating the product.

4. What percentage of markup you want to put on the product.

I’ve heard from makers far too often, “Well, I made back may materials cost, so at least I didn’t lose money.” If you have found yourself saying this at some point in time, I’m sorry, but you did in fact lose money. There is so much that goes into making and selling an item other than just how much you spent on materials. If you sell online, you need to think about how much your website costs you, what processing fees are taken out by your site host. If you’re selling at a market, you most likely have a booth rental fee and setup and prep that goes into it. If you’re real lucky and can somehow sell for free (no overhead charges) then you should still be taking into account that you’re basically “working for free” if you just make back the money you spent on materials. It would be the equivalent to showing up to work, making an item, and going home, unpaid. You didn’t lose any money from it, but you also didn’t make any, so you’re right back where you started. You have to look at it as a business, not a hobby, and once you start taking your business seriously, others will too!

A great, easy and FREE app that I’ve found in the apple app store is the Craft Pricing Calculator App. It includes all 4 elements I mentioned before and gives you a fair pricing for your item. It has the retail profit markup preloaded at 40% since that is standard with most retail markup items. But you can change it to be more or less depending on your preference. (Please don’t make it less though, remember what I said about valuing yourself!)

Here I’ve included a sample pricing (screenshot from the app!) I’ve marked the material cost at $10. Next, is the number of items made from that material, 1. Then, you calculate how much time you spent on it. For the example, I put 2.5 hours, (some may be more or less time, this was just for the example.) Then, the hourly wage. Usually, I price this a little higher, but the for the example, I put at least minimum wage, since that is the very least you should be paid! And finally, the 40% markup. It displays numbers for the wholesale cost, then the retail price, which is the price you should be concerned with! It displayed a total price of $49. If you are thinking that $49 is too much to price a hat or scarf at, then you should really be adjusting the way you view handmade items. This item was not made in a factory by a machine or a robot, it was made with my own two hands and the knowledge I have to create that item! $49 is a fair price for quality and care. AND, the best news is, there are people out there who agree and will absolutely pay that amount for quality products! Now, I’m not saying that all my hats have been priced this much, this is just an example, but it is how you should be valuing your skill, time and expense that was used to create your unique products!

 

3. Are you selling for business or hobby?

The third and final question you should really ask yourself is, why are you selling your product? Is is because you happen to make lots of items from your hobby and want to share it with the public, or are you trying to create a brand and business? If is for the first reason, then you may want to consider gifting your items or “selling for donation”, where you have it known that you create the items and would just like to be compensated for the material costs. Or you can donate your items to charities, shelters or hospitals. There are plenty of places that will gladly take your extra items off your hands and you’d be helping people in the process! If you’re selling to create an income and a business, then you need to have confidence in yourself and your product to know that you are worth it! Always keep in mind the 4 key elements I stated above and mostly have fun! When you love what you do, your work becomes fun and don’t let your profit take away from your joy of creating. Being a maker is a wonderful thing and an incredibly important outlet for us creatives who have the need to make with our hands.

 

I would LOVE to hear your thoughts on this topic. Did you find this post interesting or informative? Let me know in the comments! On another note, as I stated earlier in the post, this is a really hot topic within the maker community. Some makers on instagram that consistently have great info on the topic are @knitatude and @tlyarncrafts just name a couple.

 

Connect with me! I love making news friends:

Instagram: @girlirae

 

October Plan With Me

Hello everyone! I am so excited to share another month of my bullet journal with you! I was really excited with how many of you told me how my original post on how to set up a bujo (bullet journal slang) and September setup inspired you to start your very own! That is the whole reason I wanted to share it, because I knew how much this journaling system had helped me and I knew that it was bound to help others as well! So, once again, thank you so much and if you decide to start or get inspired by what I show you here, please, please tag me on instagram @girlirae or send me an email at girlirae@gmail.com showing me your creation because it would honestly make me SO happy! If you missed my first post on bullet journaling, then click here to read it, because I go into a lot more detail with everything and it will be easier to understand the layout! 
Now, onto October!
So for October, I decided to go with a mixture of creepy Halloween decoration, mixed with autumn and fall accents. I live in AZ where we don’t really get a fall season, so I wanted to see it, at least, in my journal! I was really excited to use some of the techniques and tricks that I had found in some YouTube videos! One of which was this faux- water color technique that I saw in Plant Based Bride’s August Planning Video (and you can see the technique I’m talking about at around 7:50 into the video) She explains and shows it in much better detail than I would be able to here, but you basically draw onto plastic first what shades you’d like to put down and then sprinkle a little water onto the plastic, then turn the plastic over and press down onto your page. The moon in my October cover page was done using this technique and I am in love with how it turned out! Some tips I have for using this technique are that you want to make sure you lay a piece of sturdy paper down underneath the page you are working on so that water doesn’t bleed all over your notebook and to also not drench the plastic with water. Since most journals are not made out of water color paper, they will start to ripple and weaken when too much water is applied. So it may be worth it to practice on a sheet first so that you know how much or how little water you’ll want to use! The rest of my page and the rest of the sheets I included in this month were done using my Tombow Dual Brush Pens, and my Sakura Micron Pens

I kept a lot of the same pages for this month as I did last month, but I also did change alot. SO, for what I kept the same: I kept my social media trackers because it was super helpful to me so that I could be aware of how much time I was or wasn’t spending on social media. It’s really easy to get sucked into wasting all your time flipping through Instagram so I enjoyed that spread alot. I also kept my blog notes and miscellaneous pages the same because they just add a great space to write down any thoughts you have in an organized way. The way that I kept track of what notes I had accomplished (if they were a To-Do) was that I highlighted them to basically cross them out using one of my Tombow markers. I thought it looked more aesthetically pleasing then actually crossing them out with a pen and it showed me how much progress I was making throughout the month. 
If I had to choose one thing that I LOVE the most about my bujo and basically one of the reasons why I will absolutely continue to use it month after month, it is because of my bill tracker! I love my bill tracker so much because that is an aspect of my life that I could NEVER seem to get a hold on. I had so many small $5-$10 monthly subscriptions here and there which seem little, but even if you have just 5 of them, BAM that’s $50 and that can make a big difference to some people on a budget! Once I had paid a bill I would check it off and highlight it and it came to the point where I was actually excited to pay a bill because then I could check it off my list. It was also a great feeling knowing that all my bills that month were accounted for and I wasn’t left wondering if I was behind on something. If this is an issue in your life, I highly recommend copying this spread to use for yourself! Some smaller bills you may want to remember are: spotify, hulu, netflix, hbo now, gym memberships, or any monthly box subscriptions you may have! You also obviously would want to put down your essentials like: rent, mortgage, car payments, utilities, or anything automatic debits from your account! I can’t tell you how much stress this has relieved from my days, because with having all my personal as well as business bills all organized, I noticed that I felt much happier throughout the month. It’s important to remember how much money can have a negative or positive affect on your life and mood! (Also, I blurred out the lines on my bill tracker because as much as I wanted to share this awesome spread with you, I don’t need the world seeing exactly what I got goin on financially!) 

You may notice, if you read my last post, that I have changed a lot for this month! My monthly overview I switched to a traditional box layout just to see how I’d like it since I have WAY more going on this month than I did in September. I totally trashed the habit tracker that I had put in place for last month because I honestly barely used it and I actually felt guilty for not using it. Trust me when I say, I have enough things in life to make me feel guilty, I don’t need it from my bujo too! So I replaced my habit tracker with a mood and sleep tracker. ( I copied my mood tracker from the amazing @amandarachdoodles ) I wanted to see how my sleep was affecting my mood since those are two aspects of my life that I have been trying to be more aware of! We’ll see how I like it for October, but so far, I am very excited for it. 
And lastly, I added a page for me to keep track of all of the items I am going to be making for upcoming fall makers’ markets! Keeping inventory in my shop is one of the hardest parts for me, so I felt that having a tracker for in my journal was essential. I already know that it’s going to be great for me since I started using it the second it was actually inked into my journal! 

Tips and Resources for Beginners:

Now that I have a bit of a better understanding of what I do and don’t like so far, I want to share it with you! Amanda Rachel Lee and Ali Freie on Youtube have some great monthly planning videos that I’ve been getting some inspiration from! Amanda has more of a colorful and decorated approach, and Ali has more of a minimalist aesthetic! I find myself somewhere in the middle, so I enjoy watching both of them. 
Some of my favorite instagram inspirations are @amandarachdoodles, @bumblebujo and @inkbyjeng! 
I also want to add and emphasize that these bullet journals are meant to simplify your life! So if you don’t want to go all out and draw in every page, then don’t! My mom recently started journaling as well, but she primarily uses it for work notes during meetings, meaning that she still wants it to look professional enough to take to a meeting. So she doesn’t embellish every page, but it works for her! So feel free to go as crazy or as simplified as you want! Another tip I have for anyone nervous to actually START the journal process, is to use pencil! I usually will sketch out some ideas for pages I have in pencil first and go over it in pen, then just erase the pencil. That way if you mess up, its NO BIG DEAL. 
And my last piece of advice: dedicate a page (towards the back of your journal) to testing out pens and markers, so that you can see how they write on your pages and if they bleed through the pages. Nobody wants that! So test them out first! 🙂 

Materials Used This Month:

Tombow Dual Brush Pens:
N00 (blender)
947
026
837
942
N15
Sakura Pigma Micron 03 ( 0.35mm )
Leave me a comment below if you love this post and want to see more like it!!
You can find me here:
Instagram: @girlirae