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.

 

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Instagram: @girlirae

 

Jumping on the Bandwagon: How To Setup A Bullet Journal

So, I did it! I jumped on the bullet journal bandwagon! I’m sure if you’ve spent anytime on instagram or pinterest, then you’ve seen the bullet journal craze all over. Not gonna lie, at first, I did not see the appeal. I’ve gone through several different pre-set planners and could never keep up with them, simply because the layout never worked for me personally!  Well I stumbled across a couple bullet journal YouTube videos a couple weeks ago and got sucked into the rabbit hole. (aka spent hours upon hours watching different “plan with me” videos) I noticed, in all the videos I watched, that no two planners were the same! Each YouTuber personalized their planner to match up with their, daily, weekly and monthly planning needs. Along with that, I kept on noticing each of them saying how the bullet journaling process was so therapeutic for them and released their inner creativity. So, the point is, I decided to dive in. 
This past month has brought on a lot of changes in my life, both emotionally and business wise. I adapted a completely different sleeping schedule along with deciding to restructure my salon business. (Yes, I do have a life outside of crafting and blogging). I thought that with all these changes, a bullet journal would be perfect for me to organize the many different elements of my daily life in a way that made sense for me! I’ll explain some of the core elements of bullet journaling as we go along, but if you’re a total newbie and have no clue what I am talking about, then I highly suggest you first watch this video by Ryder Carrol (the inventor of the bullet journal system). In that video, he explains the basic elements that go into the system! 

To start off, you’re going to need a journal. While you can use this system with literally any basic journal you find, there are a couple that are super popular in the bullet journaling community because of the special offers they feature. I decided to go with a very popular journal, the Leuchttrum 1917 A5 Dotted notebook. Some of the reasons this journal is so popular is because it features 3 pages in the very front that is dedicated to your index, every page in the notebook is already numbered so you don’t have to, and the pages are thin enough to not be bulky, but are also “bleed” resistant, meaning that most ink will not bleed through to the next page! 
(Quick tip: even though the pages are bleed resistant, there many still be some “ghosting” or shadows from your pen from the previous page) This doesn’t bother me though. Another great feature is that is a hard cover book, and a GREAT size. I can easily fit this into my small purse and that is a very important factor for me. Now, for some people, the $20 price tag of this journal can be a deal breaker, so if that’s the case for you, then any dotted or graph journal will do just fine! Don’t think too much into it, after all, you’re just gonna be writing in it so it doesn’t have to be that stellar. Next, you’ll need some pens and whatnot. I wanted to decorate mine a little bit so I looked to see what others were using and I found that the Tombow dual brush pens and Sakura Micron pens were really popular. So, of course, like a lemming I bought some! I would NOT recommend using sharpies or crayola markers, as these types of markers have a much higher chance of bleeding through to the next page! 
The first page I set up in my book was my main cover page. I wanted this to be cute because well, I’m a girl and like to be basic every once in a while! I just used a basic cursive to write my first name and copied some cute floral design I found from pinterest to frame it. This page doesn’t have to be crazy, just straight to the point and cute. Don’t spend too much time on the actual decorating of this journal because it is meant to help you organize your time, not spend all of your time stressing about if your journal is as cute as others! 
Next, is what is called your “future log”. Now, these pages are not necessary if you don’t want them, but they are popular to put in the beginning of your journal so that you can have an overview of the entire year. You basically just want to write out all the months of the year, and leave enough space to fill in important dates for each month that goes along. By doing a future log at the beginning of your journal, you can easily bookmark it or refer back to it quickly since you’ll know exactly where it is. Since I started my journal in September, that is the month I began with and I went all the way through the end of December 2017. Once, you’ve created your future log pages, you’ll want to write them down in your index in the front. This will help you keep your journal organized, and you’ll want to do this with each entry you make in your journal!
Admittedly, I do not use a journal so much for event planning, since I use a calendar on my phone for all my business appointment, I put my personal appointments on my phone so that I can refer all back to one place. I more so use a journal to keep all my ideas organized in the same place. But that is what is so great about this system, there is no wrong way to do it, as long as it works for you! 
The next page I set up was something that I personally wanted to have in a journal. It is a crystal key. Basically, it is just a list of 6 main crystals that I use around my house or in my personal life for different reasons. Each crystal, to me, is used for a different purpose. So, I wanted a place where I could quickly reference the crystal and use! This page is not necessary at all, but it’s just something I personally wanted and I am pretty damn happy with how it turned out. Instead of a crystal page, some people will add a page about different books or movies they’ve been wanting to read or watch. Or you can even do a page of future goals you want to keep track of! Just think of what is most important to you or what you’d like to keep track of the most. Once again, THERE IS NO RIGHT OR WRONG WAY TO DO THIS! So just do you, boo. 
Following in the theme of my crystal key, I also wanted to add a moon tracker and meaning spread. I personally feel that different phases of my life and moods are linked up with the different moon phases. There are many different apps you can use to track the moon, but I like having a spread of it in my journal so that I can quickly see if I am under or near a full moon as I am planning out other elements of my life! For many people, I know this spread would be irrelevant for them, but if you are a little moon child like me, then feel free to copy this spread because I have found it really useful in the planning out moments so far! 
That’s all I put into the “Front of journal” pages for me, you can add more or less depending on your needs, but once you’ve finished those foundation pages, you’re ready to jump into your monthly spreads! 

Once again, I started this journal out for September, and decided to keep with the theme of crystals. A monthly cover page is totally NOT required and is so extra. But I wanted to do it as a part of my journalling process because, it has been YEARS since I have drawn or painted, and I have to say, I am so glad I did. I forgot how much I loved it and it really helped me clear my mind. 
Since I already use a calendar for my business, I didn’t see the point of drawing out a full calendar for these pages, instead I used the original Ryder Carrol method of a vertical calendar and I just split it between personal and business use. On the next page, I forgot to take a picture of it, but I just put down some social media trackers for my blog, instagram and pinterest so that I could just see how well (or not) I did for that month and what I can change. I also added a small portion to the bottom for my etsy store so that I could track that progress as well. I also thought this would be nice for me to add because, months down the road I can look back at the numbers and see how much has changed! 
Now, this next page is called a “habit tracker” and to be honest, I was really hesitant to add this. I didn’t really think it would be helpful or productive for me, but then, I just kept seeing everyone on YouTube LOVING it and I thought I’d give it a try. I put down a few habits that I’d like to keep on top of and remember to do on a weekly or daily basis and we’ll see as the month progresses if I still like it, but for now, I kinda like it…I’ll update you with my final thoughts. Some people also will do a mood tracker next to or under their habit tracker, so that you can see how your habits affect your mood. I decided to skip it for this month, since its my first time! Didn’t wanna overwhelm myself with too much!
The next page is probably the most important to me, and most of the reason that I started this whole journal because I needed a VERY ORGANIZED way to track my bills. Seriously, this adulting thing sucks sometimes and bills are probably the worst part about adulting. Obviously, I took this picture before I filled it out because, trust me when I say, you do not want to see my entire list of bills, but now that I do have it all filled up, I feel so much stress taken off my back and I don’t feel like I am forgetting about ANYTHING! The worst feeling is when you forget a bill and get hit with that late fee. So this page perfectly takes care of that issue for me! 
So, this next spread is usually where I see alot of people putting in weekly calendars. But, since I mentioned (several times now….) that I use a calendar on my phone, I didn’t see the point in wasting paper. So, instead I added basically a notes spread. Notes for my blog post idea or website ideas and then a Miscellaneous page for all my random thoughts or notes. I will probably add a few more of these because my favorite thing about a journal is to write down random notes, or to do lists (that I never get around to checking off ) BUT, hopefully this journal will help me feel more motivated to check out every damn TO DO on my list! 
And that is it! I want to state right now, that I AM NOT AN EXPERT! I am really just a newbie that wanted to share my likes and dislikes with all of you! I also did a bunch of research on it before I started and have different approach to it since I don’t just use it for tracking my events! I am really exited to see if this process helps me stay more or less productive in the coming months and how it evolves as I use it! I’m also thinking about maybe sharing this with you all once a month, when I first set it up. Let me know if that is something you’d like seeing, and maybe, JUST MAYBE, I can make it a regular occurrence 😉 I would looooove to see how you guys bullet journal, so if you post on ig, don’t forget to tag me @girlirae, so that I can see your process! OR, if this post has helped to inspire you to start your very own journal, PLEASE let me know, because I would totally love to see! 
As always, if you have any questions or just wanna chat feel free to reach out to me! I love making new online friends! 
You can find me here:
Instagram: @girlirae